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All Eyes Are On Tuscaloosa For LSU-Alabama, But Is The Hype Too Much?

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Saturday night the world will stop spinning on its axis for about three and a half hours and Gary Danielson will be the most listened-to man in the Western hemisphere when Alabama hosts LSU in Tuscaloosa.  Maybe that’s not the best way to begin talking about the media hype surrounding the game.  Oh well…

The country will be fixated on the #1 vs #2 SECmageddon game between the Tigers and the Tide Saturday night on CBS.  This game is already being labeled as the next “Game of the Century” (hey, it’s only been five years since our last one in 2006 – OSU vs Michigan).  The 1 vs 2 storyline combined with the domination of the SEC* and the 24/7 media cycle has made this the most hyped regular season college football game in recent memory.  With the sheer volume of sports venues, this is without doubt the most talked about regular season college football game of all-time.  

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*Will Alabama fans chant S-E-C even if LSU wins on Saturday?  Something worth pondering…

Anticipating the importance of the game, CBS made a hugely complicated network television trade to put the game in primetime.  ESPN has also taken the rare step of taking their flagship show, College Gameday, to Tuscaloosa for a non-ESPN game.  The mothership is also pouring a surprising amount of hours into promoting the game considering LSU-Alabama isn’t on the “family of networks.”  Jimmy Traina of SI humorously noticed this as well…

But alas, the other side of the coin with the 24/7 attention given to LSU-Bama is that some people are already getting weary before Saturday even arrives as things get ridiculous – Gameday is evidently doing an entire segment on Les Miles’ hat.  Is the Alabama-LSU hype justified or is it too much?  Can the game possibly live up to the hype?  I got a chance to talk to Bruce Feldman of CBS yesterday for Bloguin’s national college football site, Crystal Ball Run about the game as a whole and the hype surrounding Bama/LSU specifically.  I asked Bruce if this was the biggest college game of the BCS era.  His response made a great point…

“I want to tell you that it’s the biggest regular-season game of the BCS era. Is it really? Maybe. I can justify it and say, since we have Twitter and more social media and more, well, media, it’ll be the most hyped regular-season college football game. What’s added to that is the fact that the SEC has won the previous five BCS titles. That last part means the SEC has by far the most cache of any of the power conferences has ever had setting up one of these. The only reason why I hedged a little bit is because we live in a world of hyperbole where everything is the best this or worst that, and the latest thing, which is so fresh in our minds, always is the biggest or best and we’re in a rush to anoint things as such.”

Even five years ago, the hyperbole in the 24/7 sports media cycle was nowhere near what it is today.  So what separates hyperbole from true intrigue and excitement surrounding a game?  All the tweets, debates, and live hours of SportsCenter weren’t there to endlessly discuss one topic just a few years ago.  Networks, websites, media companies, and blogs weren’t all fighting for the same space the way they are today.  Is it too much for LSU-Alabama or is it just a product of the enormity of the game and the present situation in sports?  It’s a careful balance to consider as we look forward to a highly anticipated game.  As a college football fan it will be an incredible night, but there’s also a hesitant hope that the game actually lives up to half of its monumental billing.

Thank God though for LSU and Alabama, because at least it’s pushed Tebow to the second most talked about story in sports this week.

Matt Yoder

About Matt Yoder

Managing Editor of Awful Announcing and award winning sportswriter. Bloguin consigliere. The biggest cat in the whole wide world.

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