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USC ... 51
8 p.m. EDT
#1 Alabama (8--0) #5 LSU (7--1) at Tiger Stadium
Johnny Avello (Executive director of Race and Sports, Wynn Las Vegas): There were a lot of good games that day: TCU--West Virginia, Oklahoma State--Kansas State, Nebraska--Michigan State, Texas--Texas Tech.... In our office we had about 40 monitors with all of the games, like mission control at NASA. We got a lot of action in the sports book and we took some pretty good-sized bets, including a couple for six figures. If Alabama had lost, we were going to lose a lot of money.
Verne Lundquist (CBS play-by-play): Calling a game in Baton Rouge at night is one of my favorite environments. I remember calling Florida-LSU in 2007, against Tim Tebow, when [LSU coach] Les Miles went for it on fourth down five times and was successful on all five. I thought that was as good as I was ever going to experience there. And then this year happened....
Gary Danielson (Lundquist's partner): You have to understand this rivalry—and not just because this was a rematch of last year's BCS title game. Nick Saban used to be at LSU. And when Les took the job, people said that he was winning with Nick's program. That was the setting.
Eric Reid (LSU safety): Last year's title game was a pill we had to swallow a long time ago. We didn't forget it. It was motivation.
Craig Silver (CBS producer): Death Valley at night is intense, it's loud, and fans expect to win. Going into that game, LSU was 36--1 under Les Miles at Tiger Stadium on Saturday nights, with a 22-game home winning streak. The Tigers expected to win. They played to win. And they did everything but win.
Barrett Jones (Alabama center): The last few years, it seems like whoever wins this game usually wins it all.
Silver: LSU had no margin for error because they'd already lost a game. But they could match up with Alabama. The only question was, Would the lightbulb go on for their quarterback, Zach Mettenberger? And it did.