Saturday night will be another episode in college football’s most bizarre and thereby most wonderful series between old rivals. Alabama Football versus the LSU Bengal Tigers – there is nothing else like it.
The Alabama Crimson Tide has a large lead in total wins, with 55 victories compared to 27 for the Bengal Tigers. The teams have played every season going back to 1964. From 1962 through 1979 Charlie McClendon was the LSU head coach. ‘Cholly Mac’ as he was fondly called played for Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant at Kentucky. McClendon was the SEC Coach of the Year in 1969 and 1970. His LSU teams won 137 games, but in 16 games against Bryant’s Alabama teams, LSU was 2-14. Not being able to beat the Bear cost McClendon his job.
Several SEC stadiums can be hostile to opposing teams, but nothing can match the passionate fever of a Saturday night Tiger Stadium crowd. It is that environment and the success of Alabama Football when playing in Baton Rouge that makes the series so bizarre.
Alabama has played home games against LSU in Montgomery, Mobile, Birmingham, and Tuscaloosa. The last Alabama home game against LSU, not in Bryant-Denny was in 1986. Legion Field was Alabama’s home for the LSU going back to 1964.
Going back to the 1964 season, Alabama’s home game record against LSU has been 16 wins and 13 losses. From the 1965 season through the 2022 season, the record for Alabama Football in Baton Rouge was 23-6. Plus Alabama gained a BCS National Championship win in New Orleans to make the record 24-6.
Such Alabama Crimson Tide success, against an LSU program that is close to even in ‘at Alabama’ games, has no explanation. It is truly, and for Alabama football fans, wonderfully bizarre.
Going back to the 1988 season, with the Tide’s home games against LSU in Tuscaloosa, the Bengal Tigers lead the series 9-8. In the Nick Saban era of Alabama Football, the Crimson Tide has five wins in Tuscaloosa to three for the Bengal Tigers.
The most bizarre fact about the series is in the 1971 through 1998 seasons, the Crimson Tide never lost a game in Baton Rouge. There was one tie in 1985.
On Nov. 9, 1996, there was some special Alabama Football magic in Tiger Stadium. The game before, Alabama, ranked No. 7 had lost to Tennessee. The Saturday night in Death Valley game paired the Crimson Tide, ranked No. 10 and LSU, ranked No. 11.
In Gene Stallings’ last coaching season, Alabama shut out LSU 26-0. Sophomore backup running back for the Crimson Tide, Shaun Alexander rushed for 291 yards and four touchdowns.