Has LSU Become Auburn’s Biggest Rival?
It’s finally LSU week. This is the week that Auburn and LSU fans have been looking forward to all summer. It’s hard to believe that the two schools only started playing each other annually in 1992. Prior to the start of SEC division play, the two Tigers rarely saw each other on the field (unfortunately, 1988 was one of those years).
Fast forward to 2006 and it’s arguably the biggest rivalry on either teams schedule. Five of the last six years, the SEC Western Division Championship has gone through either Auburn or Baton Rouge. Over the past 14 seasons, the two schools have fought in some of the most memorable battles in SEC history.
So has LSU become Auburn’s biggest rival? Obviously that distinction will always belong to Alabama. There’s nothing better than beating the Tide regardless of what’s at stake nationally. It’s been so long since Auburn’s lost to the Tide that many have forgotten what it feels like. But make no mistake, losing to Bama is the most painful.
Some might say that Georgia is bigger. Georgia is big. OK, it’s huge and it’s the Tigers oldest rivalry. But with Georgia in another division now, it’s hard to argue that LSU isn’t more important.
The last four years have only made the game bigger. With Nick Saban’s team winning a national championship in 2003 and Auburn being robbed of one the next year, this game has taken on national importance. It’s without question the biggest SEC game of the year. And it likely will still be the biggest after all the games are played in December.
Everyone in the South recognizes this, even if CBS Sports doesn’t. In what has to be the biggest slap at the SEC West ever, the network has decided to make Florida-Tennessee it’s prime time game next weekend. It seems the network can’t get past the idea that Peyton Manning has graduated and Steve Spurrier dresses in black now.
Auburn-LSU has been relegated to the regular 2:30 CST broadcast. The fact that both schools are ranked higher than Tennessee and Florida doesn’t seem to matter. However, it does matter to those who follow the SEC and college football in general. Don’t be surprised if the winner of Saturday’s game isn’t playing in Arizona on January 8, 2007.
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