There will be one last night football game in Tiger Stadium after all.
The SEC announced Monday morning that ESPNU will televise LSU’s next home game, Nov. 12 against Western Kentucky.
Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. This will also be LSU’s homecoming game.
Most of the rest of the SEC TV schedule for Nov. 12 is up in the air, as CBS has exercised its six-day option on four games: Alabama at Mississippi State, Tennessee at Arkansas, Auburn at Georgia and Florida at South Carolina.
The only other two games definitely set for TV are Kentucky at Vanderbilt (11:21 a.m., SEC Network) and Louisiana Tech at Ole Miss (6:30 p.m., CSS).
The polls have all confirmed what college football fans have been waiting to see for weeks now: LSU and Alabama will be an undisputed 1 vs. 2 matchup Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa (7 p.m., CBS).
LSU and Alabama are a consensus 1-2 in the BCS standings, its two major human components (the USA Today coaches’ and Harris Interactive polls) and The Associated Press Top 25.
The only dissenting votes are from the computer rankings that comprise one-third of the BCS formula. LSU and Alabama are tied for second in computer averages behind Oklahoma State, which is No. 3 in the BCS.
ESPN will be bringing its “College Game Day” program to Tuscaloosa on Saturday, along with its “College Game Day” show on ESPN Radio.
CBSSports.com has set up a running blog dedicated to the LSU-Alabama game. To see it, click here.
Rob Landry from LSU’s Daily Reveille has proposed an intriguing notion: open up Tiger Stadium to fans who want to gather there to watch the LSU-Alabama game. Landry doesn’t say how they would wach – setting up seating and a huge screen on the field is impractical because LSU has a Nov. 12 home game with Western Kentucky – and there’s a serious chance it isn’t possible. What else could you do, have everyone look up to the big screen in the south end zone? We have heard no word about this idea from LSU officials, but if you want to send Joe Alleva a link to Landry’s column, click here.
Speaking of the Western Kentucky game, an announcement on TV plans and kickoff time for that tilt is expected Monday. Check back with Tiger Tracks or follow me on Twitter, were we’ll have the information as soon as it comes out. The game is expected to be televised by one of the ESPN networks and will be a night/evening contest.
The Big 6-0
Monday is Nick Saban’s 60th birthday. He shares the Halloween birthday with former LSU basketball coach Dale Brown, who turns 76 Monday.
As we reach T-minus nine days and counting until No. 1 LSU vs. No. 2 Alabama, CBS Sports college football analyst Gary Danielson sees these two teams as virtual equals.
“Looking at the matchups, there is no significant advantage at any position,” said Danielson, who has called three LSU and two Alabama games. “There are plusses and minuses and strengths and weaknesses, and perhaps small opportunities that both teams can exploit, but there is no significant advantage on the field that can tilt the game.”
Danielson also said he doesn’t think that two weeks of constant media attention will affect the Tigers or Crimson Tide.
“Both teams are used to handling this media crush. It is not anything new for either team,” he said. “They always are in the center of the media onslaught. They’ve dealt with it through their whole careers. Even as kids in high school who signed letters of intent with these schools, they are used to it.
“The grandness of this match-up will not have a bearing on this football game.”
CBS, of course, worked a grand deal to move the game to a 7 p.m. kickoff on Nov. 5, a deal that includes already guaranteeing that it will show the 2012 LSU-Alabama game in prime time from Tiger Stadium.
Because of the uncertainty over how the SEC football schedule will look in 2012 – will the SEC just add Texas A&M or A&M AND Missouri or some other school? – no dates for conference games have yet been set.
LSU coaches will be hitting the recruiting trail this weekend with the No. 1-ranked Tigers having an open date.
They will hope to take advantage of both situations with trips like the one quarterbacks coach Steve Kragthorpe will reportedly make to see one of the nation’s top quarterbacks, Gunner Kiel of Columbus (Ind.) East, according to MrSEC.com and 247Sports.com.
Kragthorpe is expected to attend Kiel’s game Friday when Columbus East hosts St. Leon (Ind.) East Central.
According to recruiting expert J.C. Shurburtt of 247Sports, Kiel is one of several top national prospects that LSU’s impressive season has helped them make inroads with.
“I think LSU is quietly putting out feelers to a lot of the top prospects in the 2012 class given the season the Tigers are having,” Shurburtt wrote.
LSU has 20 commitments for 2012 but no quarterbacks. Next season, Zach Mettenberger will be a junior while Stephen Rivers and Jerrard Randall are expected to be redshirt freshmen.
While LSU and Alabama football fans are free to lock in solely on the Nov. 5 showdown between the No. 1-ranked Tigers and No. 2 Crimson Tide, LSU coach Les Miles said his staff and players are afforded the opportunity to focus on a variety of tasks during his team’s only open date week of the year.
“We go through a very extensive self-evaluation. Whatever tendencies we have we’ll try to break them. It becomes an issue with me and (our) coordinators,” Miles said as he led off Wednesday’s SEC football coaches teleconference.
“We recognize the things we might need to change. We’re playing against LSU this open week more than we will play against Alabama.”
Miles said the open week also includes an emphasis on recruiting, rest and rehab for his players.
While much has been made of the fact that LSU will not play an SEC night home game for the first time since 1935, CBS made the announcement Monday to move the LSU-Alabama game to a 7 p.m. kickoff.
“We look forward to playing at night,” Miles said. “It’s a historic venue. We’re certainly comfortable playing at night.”
Alabama coach Nick Saban was asked if he saw his Crimson Tide and the Tigers (both 8-0, 5-0 SEC) as being mirror images of each other.
“Not really,” the former LSU coach said. “They’re a little different style-wise than us, but they sort of get their results the same way.”
Saban had praise for the improvement of LSU senior quarterbacks Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson.
“It seems like a long time ago since Rashad (Johnson) intercepted that pass down at LSU and returned it,” said Saban, referring to a pick six Lee threw in 2008 in Bama’s 27-21 overtime victory.
Lee has thrown just three interceptions since his 2008 redshirt freshman season, while Jefferson is the SEC’s active leader in career total offense with 4,985 yards.
“They’re both extremely good at what they’re required to do relative to the players around them,” Saban said.
“Their two styles really compliment each other.”
Saban said Alabama’s depth has been impacted by a pair of significant injuries.
Freshman offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio suffered a knee injury last Saturday against Tennessee that will require surgery. Senior linebacker Alex Watkins is out at least 2-3 weeks with a broken arm.
LSU coach Les Miles said that the three players held out of last Saturday’s game vs. Auburn – cornerbacks Tyrann Mathieu and Tharold Simon and running back Spencer Ware – returned to practice Tuesday for the first time and should play when No. 1-ranked LSU plays Nov. 5 at No. 2 Alabama.
Miles declined to say the three players were suspended because of positive drug tests as sources and numerous media reports have said.
“I don’t recall that I ever suspended them to you guys, am I right?” Miles asked. “So I guess what I’m saying to you is we’ve operated as if this discipline would be internal, we would handle it in that way and these guys have returned to practice.
“If they continue doing the things they’re doing we anticipate they will play.”
Miles declined to speculate where on the depth chart the players would fall upon their return. Mathieu and Ware have been every game starters.
Mathieu was one of the stars of the first half of the college football season and emerged as a dark horse Heisman Trophy candidate. The sophomore from New Orleans has forced four fumble recoveries and recovered three – returning two for touchdowns – with two interceptions, 42 tackles and 1.5 sacks.
Ware, a sophomore from Cincinnati, is LSU’s leading rusher with 512 yards and six touchdowns on 128 carries. Simon, a sophomore from Eunice, has 29 tackles, one interception and a team-high eight pass deflections.
Miles also said center P.J. Lonergan, held out of the Auburn game because of an injury, is practicing and should be able to play against Alabama. Defensive end Ken Adams also missed the Auburn game and worked out on the side Tuesday, but Miles said he anticipates that Adams will improve quickly and will soon be full speed.
Kickoff has been moved to 7 p.m. for a prime-time telecast on CBS.
CBS has announced that the LSU-Alabama showdown will be at 7 p.m. on Nov. 5 in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
The matchup will feature LSU, ranked No. 1 by The Associated Press and standing first in the BCS standings, against Alabama, ranked No. 2 by the AP and standing second in the BCS standings.