BATON ROUGE (AP) — For all the tradition, all the grand success LSU has enjoyed in football over the years, there is one thing the Tigers have lacked for decades.
You have to go back to the "Go to hell, Ole Miss! Go to hell, LSU" days of the Tigers-Rebels rivalry in the 1950s and '60s, or the days when LSU and Tulane fought each other on the football field, then fans fought afterward with fists and frozen sugar cane sticks.
It's a rivalry, a true blood rivalry you can call your own that you want to beat more than anyone else — and the feeling has to be mutual.
Winning and power has forged a major rivalry between LSU and Alabama over the years, made molten hot since Nick Saban went to Tuscaloosa in 2007 and quickly returned the Crimson Tide to the heights. But for all the threat LSU is to Alabama (and vicg versa), it will always mean more to Bama to beat Auburn in the Iron Bowl.
That's why Texas A&M's entry into the Southeastern Conference is such a watershed moment for LSU.
Texas A&M may always hate Texas more. It's hatred for UT mixed with envy wrapped up with a neat ribbon of spite that drove the Aggies out of the long shadow the Longhorns cast across the Big 12 and into the SEC in the first place. But apparently their annual feud isn't going to be relived any time soon. A&M and UT is on permanent hiatus.
This is LSU's best chance for that annual rivalry that Alabama and Auburn have, that Georgia and Georgia Tech have, that frankly Ole Miss and Mississippi State have. LSU isn't going to annual in-state scrap again, well, ever. Tulane left the SEC after the 1965 season, and the rivalry between the Tigers and Green Wave began a slow death.
Don't shed a nostalgic tear for LSU. This series with A&M will be better than playing Tulane every year. The Green Wave has beaten the Tigers only four times since 1949, and they stopped playing annually in 1994.
There will be more on the line between LSU and A&M, from SEC West supremacy to national rankings to what are sure to be pitched battles in recruiting.
Playing LSU every year will enhance A&M's presence in Louisiana and with Louisiana prospects, to be sure, but A&M has always had a toehold in Louisiana. The Aggies will benefit more from being in the SEC overall, though the constant drumbeat of SEC media attention will help the Tigers as well.
The recruiting swords have already been crossed. Sealy, Texas, blue chipper Ricky Seals-Jones, considered the No. 1 wide receiver or athlete in the nation, said he will sign with LSU or Texas A&M. His hometown is only an hour away from College Station, and the Aggies' offense is much more high-tech than the Tigers' attack, but LSU offers the better chance to compete right away for titles and rankings.
Whatever Seals-Jones decides, whoever wins Saturday, it will be only the start. LSU, Texas A&M, look no further for someone you will love to hate.
Early start for Tigers
With the 11 a.m. kickoff on Saturday, the Tigers will have a 6:30 a.m. wakeup call, followed by the pre-game meal at 7 a.m.
The team departs for the stadium at 8 a.m.