Alabama and Louisiana State University Rivalry


Written by: Natasha

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The Alabama vs LSU (Louisiana State University) college football rivalry has been active for over a hundred years and it’s not likely to cool down any time soon after LSU’s huge win in 2019. Both programs have dominated the highly touted Southeastern Conference (SEC) for decades and when the conference was split into two divisions in 1992, the two schools were both placed in the West Division.

Alabama (nicknamed the Crimson Tide) has continually shown its superiority over LSU (nicknamed the Tigers) by maintaining a large lead in the two schools’ head-to-head matchup. It is somewhat a funny rivalry as some Alabama fans team do not consider it to be one. However, 60 percent of Tigers fans consider Alabama to be their most bitter rival (pulled from a 2009 poll). This is because Alabama has been the perennial roadblock between them and their ambitions.

History of the Rivalry

The Alabama-LSU rivalry started in 1895 when the two schools faced each other on the football field for the first time in a 12-6 home turf win for LSU. Since 1964, the two programs have played against each other every year, bringing their total number of meetings to 83. Alabama holds a huge advantage in the rivalry, winning 53 of the total matchups. LSU has 25 wins and five games have ended in ties (which is no longer possible).

The home side has experienced struggles in this matchup, with the host team holding an all-time 39 percent win rate. Since 1982, LSU has gone 4-16-1 in games played in Louisiana. As for the Crimson Tide, they’ve won just 7 of 19 games played in Alabama in the same period. 1988 saw Alabama change home fields to the Bryant Denny Stadium. The Tigers were able to snatch a win the very first time they met on that field with the game ending 19-18 in favor of LSU.

LSU Program History

LSU was welcomed into college football in 1893 with a 34-0 loss in what seemed to be its first and only game in that year. The team was led by Charles Coates who was the then chemistry professor. Their first victory came in 1894 after they defeated Natchez Athletic Club 26-0.

A lot of notable coaches have handled the team at different points in their history. Coaches like Paul Dietzel, Michael “Iron Mike” Donahue, and Lawrence “Biff” Jones left their mark during their tenures and were inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Current coach and LSU alumnus Ed Orgeron is adored by Tigers fans and college football fans everywhere.

Billy Cannon (running back) holds the title of the greatest LSU football player. He was chosen as the first overall pick in the 1960 NFL draft and in his time, led the Tigers to a Sugar Bowl title (and national championship).

Alabama Program History

The Alabama Crimson Tide were officially introduced to college football in 1892. A law student by the name of William G Little taught the game to other students after he learned it while attending a prep school in Andover, Massachusetts. The school fielded a 19-man team captained by Little and coached by E.B Beaumont. In November, the Alabama team won their first organized football game (56-0) against a team made up of Birmingham high school players. They went on to lose successive games against Auburn and Sewanee.

The team has experienced good leadership throughout its history as eight coaches have won conference championship while another five have won national championships. Wallace Wade Thomas Frank, Bear Bryant, and Gene Stallings all have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame for their amazing job as coaches. Current coach Nick Saban will most certainly follow suit with most considering him to be one of the best college football coaches of all time.

Perhaps the greatest player in the history of the club is Derrick Thomas. He was an exceptional linebacker whose career was cut short. However, he has twice as many sacks as the player closest to him in the Alabama all-time sacks list.

Head to Head Comparison

Alabama – until very recently – has shown its superiority time and time again in this matchup. The Tide’s 47-3 victory over the Tigers in 1922 still stands as the record for the biggest margin of victory in the matchup. Alabama also holds the record for the longest winning streak between the teams as they went on an 11-game unbeaten run from 1971-81.

Alabama also holds a big advantage in regards to overall accolades and is considered one the best programs in the history of college football. According to the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association), Alabama has a total of 16 national championships just behind the leaders (Yale 18). Alabama has 922 official NCAA division 1 victories and holds a winning record against every current and former Southeastern Conference (SEC) school. The program has completed ten undefeated seasons in their history, all but one being a perfect season. In a total of 71 postseason bowl appearances, Alabama has an impressive 42-26-3 record.

While LSU’s history doesn’t hold a candle to Alabama’s, it’s not really a fair comparison and very recently, the Tigers have become an absolute college football powerhouse. As of 2018, 40 players who passed through LSU were on active rosters in the NFL. Only one other college program has produced more active players for the NFL. They also rank 16th in terms of division 1 victories with an overall record of 812-416-47 (.655). The program has a playoff record of 2-0 with its win against Clemson in 2019 giving the program its first College Football Playoff Championship.

Recent Matchups

The early 2000s was a good period for LSU as they defeated Alabama in 7 of 8 meetings. The past two decades has been a back and forth situation for both teams. Out of the last 20 fixtures, LSU has won 9 while Alabama has been on the right side 11 times. However, the last meeting between the two heavy weight programs ended in favor of LSU with Joe Burrow (Heisman Trophy winner and first overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft) leading the Tigers to a 46-41 triumph en route to their historic College Football Playoff victory.

Upcoming Matchup

The Alabama Crimson Tide are off to a perfect 6-0 start this season, while LSU has really suffered the effects of the NFL Draft, starting the year at 2-3 after losing their superstar quarterback and many other cornerstone players to pro teams.

The two schools were slated to play on Saturday, November 14 but their matchup was postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The game has not yet been rescheduled.