Alabama got the rematch it wanted earlier this month when the No. 2 Crimson Tide were selected to face No. 1 LSU for the BCS championship.
The setting, however, will be very different.
At the Nov. 5 meeting at Bryant-Denny Stadium, which LSU won 9-6 in overtime, there were fewer than 10,000 Tigers fans among the capacity crowd of 101,821. When the two square off again Jan. 9, it will be at the Superdome in New Orleans.
"It's obviously going to be a little bit of a home-field advantage playing in the Superdome for LSU," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "I was on the other side of that when we played Oklahoma in the national championship game in 2003. I thought that was a bit of an advantage for us."
Saban and LSU counterpart Les Miles each has led the Tigers to a BCS championship cemented in the Superdome. Saban's Tigers defeated Oklahoma 21-14 to win the '03 crown, and Miles guided LSU to a 38-24 win over Ohio State for the '07 title.
"I felt like when we played Ohio State that it was wonderful to play there," Miles said. "I don't know if it was so much the crowd as it was the very positive feeling of the town and the people and the experience of spending a week in New Orleans. It's a town that is very familiar with our players and our people.
"That was a factor that made our team enjoy playing there than maybe more in other places."
Saban also led LSU to a Sugar Bowl win over Illinois in the 2001 season, but he lost the Sugar Bowl with Alabama in the '08 season to Utah. Miles guided the Tigers to a win over Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl in the '06 season.
The Superdome will seat a little more than 76,000 for the BCS title game, and the crowd will not be overwhelmingly in favor of LSU since each school quickly gobbled its allotment of 17,000 tickets. LSU had requests for about 60,000.
Of course, the crowd advantage could come down to a survival of the richest. The average ticket price this week for the BCS championship game was more than $1,800, and if there is one entity that has defied the depressed economy, it is Alabama football.
"New Orleans is in Louisiana, and it's an hour and 45 minutes from Baton Rouge," Saban said. "There are a lot of LSU fans in Louisiana, but I'm sure our Alabama fans will represent us extremely well."
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...