Is there anyone in college football that has a bigger nemesis than the LSU Tigers have in the Alabama Crimson Tide? With no major in-state rival for the Tigers, Alabama has emerged as the Tigers’ most fierce rival. The Crimson Tide has also emerged as the biggest hindrance to the Tigers, as they always seem to be getting in LSU’s way.
In 2011, after a brilliant 13-0 season that included a blue-collar win in Tuscaloosa the Tigers seemed destined to take home the national championship inside the Super Dome in their home state; that is, until they ran into Alabama for the second time that season and were thoroughly dominated and embarrassed on the sport’s biggest stage.
In 2012, a one-loss LSU team with their SEC and national championship hopes still in tact had Alabama right where they wanted them: inside Tiger Stadium for a night game. However, even after the Tigers controlled the game for much of the second half, it was Alabama that had the final say, scoring a late touchdown and dashing any hope of LSU returning to a BCS bowl game while also propelling themselves to a second straight national championship, just to add insult to injury.
As good as LSU has been over the last few years, Alabama has been better. As much as the Tigers have accomplished, Alabama is the one that has won three of the last four national championships. For as much praise LSU’s coach gets, Alabama’s coach gets more. When LSU signs a great recruiting class, Alabama signs a better one. Every time LSU appears poised to take their program to the next level, Alabama is standing in their way.
That is why the road in the SEC West goes through Tuscaloosa. As much as LSU wishes they didn’t, they still look up to Alabama as the preeminent football program in the SEC and in the country. The Tigers have had opportunities to change that, but have come up short, as they continue to lag behind their fiercest rival and bitter nemesis, the Alabama Crimson Tide.