MANDEVILLE, LA — When you walk into Doug Tate’s office in Mandeville, you’ll know immediately that he’s a fan of the Zulu parade. The krewe’s signature coconuts are everywhere. But if you talk to Tate, you’ll quickly find out that he also bleeds purple and gold.
Tate and LSU fans everywhere are ready for Saturday’s showdown between the Tigers and the Alabama Crimson Tide. The teams are ranked number one and number two, respectively, and the game is in Tuscaloosa.
It’s a big deal. Some are calling it the Game of the Century. But it wouldn’t be a first for the two teams.
In 2011, the Tide and Tigers played in Tuscaloosa with identical AP rankings. LSU won on a field goal in overtime, and the game became better know as the 9-6 Game.
“I was expecting Saban to have a heart attack on the field that day. It was pretty tenuous,” Tate told WGNO. “But as a Tigers fan, I was loving it.”
Tate isn’t the only fan we spoke with who was at the game and enjoys the look back. Frank Duffy went to LSU and lives in Atlanta now. So he takes his RV to the games — and in 2011 — and especially optimistic vibe.
“But there was just something special about that day. We knew the titanic battle that was going to go on inside Bryant Denny,” Duffy said.
The two teams would meet again in that season’s national championship game in the Superdome, and Alabama won. In fact, Alabama has won every one of the match ups since then.
So here we go again. And since the 2011 moniker of Game of the Century has given way to the 9-6 name, fans are once again breaking out the branding for this second, nearly identical match up.
But while the venue, the rankings, and even the location of this season’s national championship game are all the same, there’s one big difference. And that’s why the games are nearly — not entirely — identical.
“We parked a ’73 Chevy and we now have a Ferrari on offense,” Duffy said, referring to the Tigers new fast-paces offense with quarterback Joe Burrow at the helm. Once again, Duffy will be in Tuscaloosa to watch.
Tate will see the showdown on TV this time around, but he also says that this year things are different, even though it’s the second Game of the Century in less than a decade.
“I think it’s going to be a high scoring affair,” Tate said, comparing his prediction this year to the 9-6 game in 2011. “They’ve never seen us with an offense like this.”