BATON ROUGE - Two of the winningest programs in college football in recent history collide on Saturday when fifth-ranked LSU hosts top-ranked Alabama in what could best described as the rubber game between the teams.
LSU and Alabama meet for the third time in less than a year in a game that will go a long way in shaping the national championship picture heading into the final month of the regular season.
Last year, the Tigers and the Crimson Tide split the two games with LSU winning 9-6 in overtime during the regular season and Alabama claiming the BCS National Title with a 21-0 victory. Only one touchdown has been scored between the teams in the last two games.
The Tigers continued to prepare for Saturday's matchup with another practice on Wednesday afternoon at the Charles McClendon Practice Facility. The Tigers will practice again on Thursday followed by a walk-through on Friday afternoon.
"We had a nice practice today," LSU coach Les Miles said. "Our guys are busting their tail. We have a nice plan. We're playing a quality opponent and certainly execution will always be the key. I like us. I think we'll give them a game. It will be a heck of a night. "
A record crowd of over 93,000 is expected to be on hand Saturday in Tiger Stadium as LSU will look to keep the nation's longest home field winning streak intact. LSU has won a school-record 22 consecutive home games and the Tigers are 36-1 in Saturday night games in Tiger Stadium under Miles.
"This game has the potential to have an environment that's pretty special," Miles said. "Last time they were here, that environment existed again. We'll look forward to that environment. I think that the atmosphere is probably reflective a little of Storm Sandy. I think there are a lot of the negative ions being forced, which are positive things, into this area, and I think the atmosphere will be charged."
Miles said one of the big keys to having success against Alabama is just lining up and playing good, sound football.
"This game, if you watched us playing over time, is standard quality football," Miles said. "We block them, throw it, catch it, defend it, tackle, tackle crisply, kick it, cover it. You beat quality teams not by stuff and things. You beat them by quality play and physical game plan. It's not tricks, it's execution."
Miles said that no matter the outcome on Saturday, his team is not focused on what took place on Jan. 9 and that revenge will not serve as any motivating factor in this contest.
"I am not motivated that way. That's not how this thing works," Miles said. "This is about what we do and how we play. Did we play our best? No, but we can play our best. We have played our best. If you look at the record, we've played pretty well. I think this is a different team and a different year, yet we recognize the last time we played them. I think our guys are good. There are a lot of things that motivate men, but I don't choose, nor will I ever choose, revenge. I like us. I think it's going to be a very physical matchup, but I think they're a very talented team. I think our guys will come to play."