Alabama vs LSU - feeding a respectful rivalry
January 9th, 2012
01:45 PM ET
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Drew Robinson is the pitmaster at Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q. He previously wrote about serving up gratitude in trouble times and why barbecue matters and the the sacred ritual of the tailgate. We ran this piece in 2012, but it seemed worth surfacing again for the game this weekend. A good rivalry never dies.

There are old traditions and then there are old football traditions. I had the fortune of witnessing one resurrected in my lifetime two years ago when Alabama played Texas in the Rose Bowl for the National Championship. But there are new traditions too.

Alabama vs LSU is not a historic rivalry, it is only really a new tradition because they both have become superpowers in the same division of the same conference. So much so that they have beaten away all of college football for a rematch in the BCS game.

How important is this game to each fan base? My grandfather was born and raised in New Orleans. He loved LSU. He loved Alabama too because that became his adopted home, but he never put the Crimson Tide above the Bengal Tigers.

The culture of Louisiana cannot be denied by someone who is from Louisiana. My father went to school at UA when Paul “Bear” Bryant commanded that program, and owned college football. In a state that had a lot to be ashamed of, he made it okay for all of us to be proud of where we were from. In an un-integrated South, the Bear was smart enough to fix that through our common ground, football. Point is, it’s a good rivalry with mutual respect for each other and now two schools whose love of place might be rivaled only by their love of winning get to face off.

What’s on the line? The biggest coup would be for LSU to knock off Alabama. Les Miles holds a winning record against the man who is considered the best coach in college football. A win here, in the biggest game could change all of that. For the Alabama team, the could hold the line on their winning tradition and bring home the 14th national championship. They could do that in the wake of tornadoes that took out their city earlier this year. Tornadoes that took the heart of some of their teammates.

Both teams believe in dominance. They live that code. What happens on the field will prove who lives it with the most intensity inside of 60 minutes on the gridiron.

I don’t know what the LSU fans do but what do we do? We sing "Sweet Home Alabama" with a solid "Roll Tide Roll" thrown in the chorus. And we cook pig. Barbecued hog, ribs, chickens. Meat - barbecued. The day kicks off with spicy Bloody Marys, which is a tradition of our crew for good luck. We cook and drink and listen to rock and roll music right up until it’s game time.

We believe up until the final moment when we sing the Rammer Jammer - or we go home quietly. And well-fed.

Read more about tailgating and cultural identity

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Filed under: Alabama • Barbecue • Cultural Identity • Culture • Disaster • Flood • New Orleans • New Orleans • Sports • Tailgating • Tornado

soundoff (7 Responses)


    January 10, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
  2. Lola

    I couldn't be happier! 90% of LSU fans need to be kept in the bayou with the rest of the reptiles. Way to go, Alabama! :)

    January 10, 2012 at 8:32 am |
  3. actorsdiet

    i just met mike the tiger recently – – i fear he'll eat me if i don't root for LSU

    January 9, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
  4. RichardHead

    ROLL TIDE with Big ole MOON PIES. They don't do alot of damage.

    January 9, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  5. Mike Rotch

    It's not that I don't care, I'm simply apathetic.

    January 9, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • Rigel54

      But need to be noticed.

      January 9, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
      • TweedleDee@Rigel54

        And you did.

        January 9, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
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