The two teams first met in Baton Rouge back in 1895 when the Tigers had their first win against Crimson Tide, then won again in 1902. They have since gone head-to-head annually since 1964, marked by long stretches of the home team struggling to win. Bama started dominating after that, only losing to LSU four times during Bear Bryant’s tenure, who coached Alabama for 25 years, who led them to win six national titles, and thirteen SEC championships. Bama started off as a powerhouse against other teams in the conference. In 1979, the only team to almost beat them was LSU, thus starting the rivalry. Bama continued to beat them until No. 11 LSU finally broke the 10 year streak in 1982 and beat No. 8 Bama.
Many also claim that Nick Saban is a driving factor behind the rivalry. While coaching at LSU from 1999 to 2004, he turned the team around from being one of the worst teams, to winning a national championship. When he transferred to Bama, he did even better, winning six more national titles. The 2011 game between Bama and LSU is considered the Game of the Century. This year, LSU was No. 1 and Bama was No. 2 in the conference. Both were undefeated. With neither team scoring touchdowns and struggling to score field goals, they went into overtime. With a devastating field goal miss attempt by Bama, LSU takes the ball and scores the game-winning field goal. Two months later, they played in the BCS National Championship Game in New Orleans, both still holding the top spots. This has been the only time two teams from the same division in the same conference have played for a national title. This time, Bama won with a clean sweep: 21-0. LSU considers Bama to be their biggest rival because their game often determines who wins the SEC West. However, Bama considers Auburn to be their biggest rival (however, this might have not been completely true for the 2019 game against them!).
Being an alumni of LSU, I think it is fun to think that we have such a massive rivalry against Bama, even if they don’t feel the same way. The week leading up to the game, the campus celebrates “Bama Hate Week,” and College GameDay visits the campus the game is being held on. It gives us energy and hope that we may defeat the best team in the conference. Even if someone doesn’t know about the history of the rivalry, it is still fun to be involved with a community who comes together with a similar interest: beating Bama!
Whether you live in Baton Rouge or visiting for the game, there are a bunch of amazing places to eat and visit while in town. A classic is always The Chimes. Located right off of campus on Highland Road, The Chimes offers a multitude of cajun classics, such as poboys and red beans and rice. They also recently opened a rooftop bar that looks out over some of LSU’s beautiful campus scenery and offers a variety of cocktails and mixed drinks. After you finish your meal at The Chimes, there is an ice cream shop located right on campus, LSU’s AgCenter Dairy Store. They also offer meats, cheeses, coffee, smoothies, chips and more! The store is used for students within the AgCenter to to complete research projects based on food and dairy. While I would normally recommend hanging out, playing sports, lounging around, or playing fetch with your dog on the parade grounds, it is fully occupied by tailgaters Friday and Saturday (and getting cleaned up on Sunday). Instead, the University Lakes is a good place to go for a walk, run, or go biking. You can go by yourself, with friends, family, or with your pet. There are typically bikes available for rent near the lakes, and also around campus. Another fun place to go is the Louisiana Art and Science Museum. This museum offers art, artifacts, and even a planetarium show! It is a good place to go if you have some time to waste, or have an interest in all things art, science, or both! Last but not least, this would not be an article of things to eat and do in Baton Rouge without mentioning Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers! In fact, the original Cane’s is located right next to The Chimes. If you are not in the mood for a sit down, higher-end meal, Raising Cane’s is an affordable, quick option. Of course, you can sit inside the restaurant if you would like, but there is also a drive-through that doesn’t take that long. The owner, Todd Graves, also lives not too far from the restaurant. While there are many other options when it comes to what to do and where to eat in Baton Rouge, these are the best, most convenient options in terms of proximity to LSU’s campus. They all also have their own history to them, which is a conversation for another day :)