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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Game of the Century

I had planned on arriving in  New Orleans on Monday night and spending two nights there.  This turned out to be a case of poor planning.  I didn't check the sports calendar and was unaware of the fact that the BCS college championship football game was to be played in New Orleans on Monday night.

If a game between the number one and number two ranked college football games wasn't enough to bring a crowd to New Orleans, consider that the two teams turned out to be Alabama and LSU!    If that didn't make it a big game, the fact that the two teams had met earlier in the year and played to a tie after four quarters before LSU won it in overtime just added to the excitement.  The partisans of the SEC take their football seriously.  It wasn't long after we left Tupelo, Mississippi that I tuned in radio station WWL in New Orleans and realized this was going to be a big game.  We made a couple of calls and quickly confirmed that there were no hotel rooms to be had in the Crescent City.

We pulled into Meridian, Mississippi and found ourselves a Drury Inn there where we could also watch the festivities in New Orleans.  It was a quiet night in Meridian, at least on the roads.  When we first checked in at the Drury, one fan was carrying in a twelve-pack of beer and yelled, "Roll Tide!" in the lobby.  Several other people echoed back the call.

It was billed as the game of the century and it might have been.  Except that #1 ranked LSU never showed up.  'Bama did, in fact, roll.  To a 21-0 victory and an undisputed national championship.  That 21 points is not what you might expect.  It was achieved with five field goals followed by a touchdown and missed extra point.  LSU never crossed mid-field until 8 minutes were left in the game.

The next morning, as we continued on to New Orleans along I-59, cars were streaming north from New Orleans toward Tuscaloosa and Birmingham.  Many had two, four or even six crimson flags mounted on top like the one below.
Tupelo-11 Tupelo-12

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