The Long and Winding Road
LSU vs. Tennessee
SEC Championship Game
Saturday, December 1st (4:00 ET, CBS)
November 25, 2007
By Bob Epling
LSU and Tennessee travelled long and winding roads to reach Atlanta. Our championship game preview traces the trip.
The Tigers played a decade’s worth of thrillers as they fought for a national championship game appearance and battled rumors of their coach leaving for his alma mater.
Aug. 30: LSU 45 Mississippi State 0 … #2 ranked Bengal Tigers kickoff season with Thursday night thrashing of State.
Sept. 8: LSU 48 Virginia Tech 7 … Southern hospitality extends only to the edge of the gridiron as Tigers harness Hokies.
Sept. 15: LSU 44 MTSU 0 … Tigers rest QB Matt Flynn and hold Blue Raiders to 166 yards of offense.
Sept. 22: LSU 28 South Carolina 16 … Tigers rush for 288 yards but trail for first time all year.
Sept. 29: LSU 34 Tulane 9 … Final score misleading as Tigers lead 10-9 at half. LSU moves to #1.
Oct. 6: LSU 28 Florida 24 … Repeated 4th down successes rally LSU from 24-14 deficit in fourth quarter.
Oct. 13: Kentucky 43 LSU 37 (3 OT) … Tigers blow big lead and lose in 3 OTs.
Oct. 20: LSU 30 Auburn 24 … A nail-biter that ended on a 22-yard TD pass with one second left.
Nov. 3: LSU 41 Alabama 34 … LSU scores two TDs in final three minutes to best former coach Nick Saban.
Nov. 10: LSU 58 LA Tech 10 … Tigers roll up 595 yards and regain top ranking when Ohio State loses.
Nov. 17: LSU 41 Ole Miss 24 … Offense struggles but defense and special teams carry the day.
Nov. 24: Arkansas 50 LSU 48 (3 OT) … Darren McFadden turns in a Heisman-worthy performance and Hogs hold off Tigers.
The Volunteers season had more ups and downs than a roller coaster but the ride ended in grand fashion.
Sept. 1: Cal 45 UT 31 … Golden Bears too fast for Vols in season opener.
Sept. 8: UT 39 Southern Miss 19 … QB Erik Ainge and receivers lead win over Golden Eagles.
Sept. 15: Florida 59 UT 20 … Second low point of early season as Vols never in game at the Swamp.
Sept. 22: UT 48 Arkansas St. 27 … Ainge passes for 4 TDs as UT heads into bye week.
Oct. 6: UT 35 Georgia 14 … Best win of season as Vols dominate Dogs for sixty minutes.
Oct. 13: UT 33 Miss State 21 … UT posts win over solid State team after trailing 14-7.
Oct. 20: Alabama 41 UT 17 … Down we go as Nick Saban debuts in Third Saturday rivalry with impressive victory.
Oct. 27: UT 27 South Carolina 24 (OT) … Vols blow big lead, but survive against nemesis Steve Spurrier.
Nov. 3: UT 59 LA-Lafayette 7 … UT clicks in all facets to prepare for stretch run.
Nov. 10: UT 34 Arkansas 13 … Vols win a game many expected them to lose and seize control of East.
Nov. 17: UT 25 Vanderbilt 24 … Vandy misses a last-second field goal and Vols stay alive in division race.
Nov. 24: UT 52 Kentucky 50 (4 OT) … UT continues mastery of UK with 23rd straight win in the series, none bigger than this four overtime thriller. Ainge throws 7 TDs and the trip to Atlanta is secure.
While Tennessee is resilient, and the Volunteer fan base will be much more excited to be in Atlanta than their Cajun counterparts, I expect the Tigers to play better than they have in a while.
The pressure of the national championship chase is off. The coach is free to go to Michigan if the Wolverines want him. So, the Tigers should turn loose, have fun, and wrap up a trip to the Sugar Bowl.
Game Ball: LSU