By Keith Antigiovanni
If you can get past the hype this week over the Alabama-LSU then you will see how it can be a potentially great game when the two southern powerhouses meet in Tuscaloosa this saturday.
Both come in at 8-0 overall, 5-0 in the SEC play. This game will not only decide the SEC West title, SEC title and potentially the National title but its Alabama's Nick Saban facing his former team, the LSU Tigers. The team he built 11 years when he arrived in Baton Rouge. His LSU teams were dominant during his five years until he left for the pros in 2005.
He was replaced by Les Miles who had a tough act to follow but Miles has continued the winning formula in the Bayou State since 2005 with 6 straight winning seasons, 2 SEC West titles, 1 SEC title, 2 BCS bowl wins and a National title in 2007.
Meanwhile Saban spent 2005-2006 in the NFL with no real success he came back to college and the SEC in 2007 when he took over the troubled Alabama program. In 2007 he struggled to a 6-6 record, then broke thru in 2008 with a SEC West title and 12-1. In 2009 he followed it up with an undefeated National title season at 14-0 then a failed back to back bid in 2010 at 10-3.
The Tide were still in position for a second straight BCS appearance until they were defeated by LSU the past season at Baton Rouge and essentially eliminated from the Conference race.
Meanwhile, Arkansas (7-1, 3-1) faces the SEC East leader South Carolina Gamecocks (7-1, 5-1). Arkansas has an outside chance at the SEC Title game if they win out and LSU beats Alabama because the Arkansas will face LSU after Thanksgiving.
Defending champion Auburn is (6-3, 4-2) positioning themselves for a New Years' Day bowl if they can win out.
The Georgia Bulldogs have won 6 straight after a rare win over Florida and have a chance at the SEC East title if they win out and South Carolina loses another conference game. Georgia has not won a SEC title since 2005 and a SEC East title since 2007 when they split with Tennessee.
Florida, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Vanderbilt are all in decent shape to make a bowl but not New Years'.