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Tiger Tracklist: Alabama

Do you want to ride or die?

Outlaws on a paper chase,

Can you relate?

The shit I don’t got be the shit I gotta take.

Dealing with fate,

Hoping God don’t close the gate.

Three weeks ago I wrote how LSU had no choice but to run through the gauntlet of Georgia, Mississippi State, and Alabama:

It won’t be easy. That shouldn’t be surprising, because it is literally never easy.

LSU has to beat four teams inside the S&P+ top 17, including the #1 and #3 team, and they have to do it in a little over one month.

That’s what we live for isn’t it? The gauntlet has been thrown down, and it’s LSU’s job to run it. This is the challenge we chase, this is the basis of everything we watch sports for. You want to hit a walk-off grand slam with two outs in the bottom of the 9th? You have to get people on base first. You either do or you don’t, there is no more apologizing for sloppy wins or wondering why you’re not getting any more credit than you’re currently receiving. You want credit? Earn it. You want wins? Earn it. You want a championship? Earn. It.

Don’t worry about #1, we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. For now just focus on #3.

LSU 36, Georgia 16.

LSU 19, Mississippi State 3.

Congratulations, you have reached the end of the so-called impossible gauntlet. Now that you have beaten up on the henchmen, you get to have the big boss battle.

I told you to not concern yourself with #1. Now you can fully shift your attention to them.

You know the story to this point. LSU are the improbable bandits who have literally defied the odds and mostly outlasted opponents when they needed to and gotten lucky when the situation called for it. They host Alabama, the unstoppable killing machine that is overflowing with blue chip players at every position.

The Crimson Tide have not played anybody near LSU’s level, although their games against less competition have never lasted a full four quarters. Conversely, the Tigers have been in nothing but battles and underdog roles for virtually the entire season.

As it stands, LSU is the only test on Alabama’s schedule until the postseason. The Tigers had to survive a crazy tough stretch of the schedule, but now they play the role of underdog with everything on the line.

Tell them boys “don’t run from us.”

I been down too long, cousin.

I been down too long, brother.

Tell the world “I ain’t scared of nothing.”

Tell the world “I ain’t scared of jumping.”

It has been 2,489 days since Alabama beat LSU in the 2012 national championship.

Ever since then, LSU has been living in the shadow of Alabama while the Crimson Tide have been living rent-free in the Tigers’ head. LSU is one of the select few teams in college football that have had the resources to hang with Bama, but they haven’t.

It’s been long enough. This is a new era at LSU, one that doesn’t deal with defeatism. After last year’s defeat in Tuscaloosa, Orgeron now famously sternly said, “We came here to beat Alabama. We’re coming. We’re coming, and we ain’t backing down.”

They’re here. Alabama-LSU is once again a top five matchup and for the first time holds playoff implications.

Nobody outside Baton Rouge believes LSU can really hang with Alabama, and have 100 different reasons to confirm their beliefs

I have 102,322 reasons to think the opposite.

When they turn out the lights, I’ll be there in the dark.

This will be the hardest game of Tua Tagovailoa’s career.

I recognize that he came in the the fourth quarter of a national championship game and engineer a comeback. He has never stood on the field of Death Valley on a Saturday night with the force over well over a hundred thousand people at full voice bearing down on him, though.

The great equalizer in this game is Death Valley. Since 1-9-12 the past three Alabama-LSU games in Death Valley have been decided by a combined 31 points. When you parse that out, it becomes much more impressive: a 21-17 game decided on a last-minute screen pass, an overtime 20-13 game, and a 10-0 game where the only touchdown was scored in the 4th quarter with the assist of blatant holding.

Alabama knows that they have to walk right into hell if they want a win. They’ll be as ready for it as they can possibly be, so it’s up to the 102,000+ to leave nothing and grant Alabama no quarter. Death Valley has a reputation of being the hardest place in the planet to play in as a visitor, and Saturday it needs to uphold that reputation.

LSU has survived the turrets and the TIE fighters. Now they’re in the trench. The only thing thing that needs to be done is to blow up the Death Star and go home.

Holy water cannot help you now.

See I’ve come to burn your kingdom down.

And no rivers and no lakes can put the fire out.

I’m gonna raise the stakes,

I’m gonna smoke you out.