This weekend, the marquee game in college football is clear. The top-ranked and seemingly-invincible Alabama Crimson Tide head into Death Valley to face the LSU Tigers (#3 Coaches, #4 AP) in a game with huge implications for the SEC title and College Football Playoff.
Despite a few uncharacteristically down years in Baton Rouge, it’s no surprise to see these teams facing off with huge stakes. This game usually has big stakes - it’s almost certain that one or both of these teams will be highly ranked, and that the result will be critical to sorting out the national picture. There have been some truly epic clashes in this rivalry.
Those are not what we’re here to discuss today.
No, instead, let’s talk about the bad times. Let’s talk about the relatively rare times in history that this game has had no bearing on anything, has featured two dismal teams, and/or has been just downright unworthy of the rivalry. Let’s answer the timeless question:
What’s the worst LSU-Bama game ever?
Let’s dig in!
Entering the 1927 season, the Crimson Tide were coming off two straight (debatable) national championships and had not lost a game since 1924. They looked primed to continue this success under head coach (and future Duke stadium namesake) Wallace Wade.
Alabama finished this season 5-4-1, with losses to Georgia Tech, Georgia, Florida and Vanderbilt.
LSU finished the season 4-4-1, with losses to Arkansas, Ole Miss, Georgia Tech and Tulane.
They played to a scoreless tie in this meeting, played in front of 12,000 people in Birmingham’s Rickwood Field.
Alabama went 4-5-2 under head coach Harold Drew, who would resign after the season and be replaced with Jennings Whitworth. (More on him in a second).
LSU went 5-6 under Gaynell Tinsley, would would also be replaced after the season.
Once again, both teams lost to Georgia Tech.
Alabama won 12-0.
A true contender for the worst game on the list.
Alabama went 2-7-1 under head coach Jennings Whitworth, who would be fired after the season, ending his three-year tenure with the Tide at a stunning, Hue Jacksonesque 4-24-2 record. He would be replaced the following season by Bear Bryant, leading to a long historical gap in this list.
LSU went 5-5. and won this year’s content 28-0.
Only Alabama lost to Georgia Tech this time.
A hop, skip and jump past the Bear Bryant Era and its six national titles for Alabama takes us to the first year of Gene Stallings’ (ultimately title-winning) tenure in Tuscaloosa. Of note: Stallings was hired after Bill Curry, angry with the level of control given to him in his latest contract with Alabama, left for the University of Kentucky. I just feel like that merits a note.
Anyways, the Tide went a fine-but-below-their-standards 7-6, including a stunning loss to Howard Schnellenberger’s then-independent Louisville Cardinals in that year’s controversial Fiesta Bowl.
LSU would go 5-6 in Mike Archer’s last season before he would be forced out and replaced with Curley Hallman, who would have a significantly worse tenure than Mike Archer. The Tigers would not have another winning season until Gerry DiNardo’s arrival in 1995, something I bring up just so I can re-use this photoshop I did a few years ago:
Alabama won 24-3.
Seriously, what the fuck was this crap.