llustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios
The LSU Tigers visit the Alabama Crimson Tide on Saturday in the first regular-season AP No. 1 vs. No. 2 meeting since their game eight years ago.
Why it matters: Interestingly enough, the very thing they helped birth — a system where humans, not computers, rank the nation's best teams — has LSU and Alabama at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, in the playoff rankings.
- On Nov. 5, 2011, No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama met in Tuscaloosa in what was billed as college football's "Game of the Century." The Tigers prevailed, 9-6 in OT, in a game that featured 49 future NFL players.
- Two months later, Alabama beat LSU, 21-0, in the BCS National Championship Game — a controversial rematch that led to the demise of the BCS and the birth of the College Football Playoff.
The stakes: If Alabama loses, they'll almost certainly miss the playoff for the first time since its 2014 inception. If LSU wins, they'll be in the driver's seat the rest of the way.
- President Trump is expected to be in attendance, adding a heightened sense of drama to an already massive spectacle.
- Spread: ALA -6.0
- Over/Under: 63
- Moneyline: LSU + 185 (bet $100, win $185); ALA -220 (bet $220, win $100)
- Will Tua play? Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa (ankle) remains a game-time decision. "We'll continue to monitor him and see how he progresses, but we're pleased with where he is," coach Nick Saban told ESPN yesterday.
- Home field advantage: The Tide have won 31 straight home games, and they've lost just four regular-season home games since 2008 (78-4 record in that span).
- New look Tigers: LSU has forever been known for hard-nosed, ground-and-pound football. Now they're competing statistically with Mike Leach's Air Raid. "I'd like to play just one game with that playbook. Heck, just one quarter," said former QB Tommy Hodson.
- Heisman watch: QB Joe Burrow has completed 78.8% of his passes this season, which would be the best single-season completion percentage of all-time. Hence why he's the current Heisman favorite (though Tagovailoa isn't far behind).
Go deeper: Ohio State tops the first CFP rankings