The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

November 5, 2013

Bama-LSU still big even if it's no game of century

ATHENS — TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — So it's not the "Game of the Century," or maybe even the game of the week.

No. 1 Alabama versus No. 10 LSU is still a made-for-prime-time matchup in the Southeastern Conference Saturday night and maybe even a must-win in the Crimson Tide's bid for a third consecutive national championship.

Maybe.

Alabama (8-0, 5-0 SEC) has overcome down-to-the-wire November defeats the past two seasons — to Texas A&M and the Tigers — and still managed to claim the title, thanks to timely losses by other contenders.

Now, four other unbeaten teams are lined up just waiting for the Tide to falter, making perfection the only guaranteed ticket to the BCS title game in Pasadena, Calif. AJ McCarron isn't banking on one loss cutting it this time — or worrying about it.

"Probably not, but I'm not thinking about everybody else," the Alabama quarterback said Monday. "I could care less about what their record is. It's no disrespect to them. They're all having great seasons, but we're worried about us and what we need to do to take care of business."

That doesn't mean some Tide fans won't be tuning in Thursday night for No. 2 Oregon's visit to No. 6 Stanford in the rare game that casts a bigger shadow during Alabama-LSU week. Or taking a peek at what's happening with No. 3 Florida State, No. 4 Ohio State and No. 5 Baylor.

Just in case.

Tide coach Nick Saban dismisses that one-loss scenario as one of those hypotheticals not worth thinking about. But this is one of the two biggest obstacles to perfection remaining for Alabama in the regular season.

The Tide will be heavily favored in at least two of its last three regular-season games against Chattanooga and Mississippi State before facing No. 7 Auburn. Alabama is an 11-point favorite over LSU.

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