So, it is 1:56 a.m. and I am sitting in the living room of my Baton Rouge apartment deep in the heart of Tigerland.

It’s the usual Friday night.

The faint sound of music playing from the clubs up the street and the occasional screams and jeers of the drunkards outside.

But earlier tonight (and still now), I hear something different.

I hear what begins as a low, faint chant of “LSU”. But it progressively gets louder and louder and louder and then I look out my window and see tons of people outside of the tents at those clubs and see tons of college kids partying it up and having a great time and showing their school pride.

Indeed, the circus is in town as Baton Rouge is in party mode and has been all day on Friday.

Traffic has been crazy all day.

Fans have piled into the city.

And this one will be fun.

I gave you the keys to victory for both teams yesterday and I stand by those keys.

But the overriding key in my opinion will be emotion.

LSU wants Saban’s head.

Alabama wants the national championship.

So what gives?

It will be a coliseum-like atmosphere where 93,000+ thousand fans will line up to see what they hope will be a slaughter.

The key is who handles the emotion better.

Will LSU play with more fire because of the crowd? Or will they play overly aggressive and commit cheap penalties that will let Alabama control the game early and often?

Will Alabama’s young players be rattled in the rowdiest atmosphere they will see in their careers? Or will they play with reckless abandon (like they have all year) and overcome it and use it as motivation of their own?

I said all year LSU would encounter some difficult matchups throughout the season.

Everyone knew it would be tough for LSU to match UF’s speed.

We all knew it would be tough for LSU to match UGA’s balance.

But I think Alabama is still a transition team. Despite their 9-0 record, I don’t think they are a great team. I think they are a good team approaching great, but I don’t think they are great.

They are too one-dimensional on offense and I do not think John Parker Wilson can gun-sling them out of a big game.

They are too thin on defense. Just no one has been able to expose it this year because they’ve always had the luxury of the big starts this year.

If LSU wins or plays to a stale mate in the first quarter, I think they will win this game.

Official Prediction:

LSU 28

Alabama 17

I have been in town for a lot of games. A lot of big games. Never have I seen this city so engulfed with emotion as I see it right now.

This entire city and state will be rocking and I think we will see LSU reach into its soul and play with pride we haven’t seen yet this season.

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Enjoy the game!

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