Everybody who is anybody has an opinion on this week’s game between No. 1 Alabama and No. 4 LSU.
But very few have the experience of upsetting the Crimson Tide quite like former LSU and Southern Miss coach Curley Hallman.
Hallman, who led the Brett Favre-led Golden Eagles to a win over coach Gene Stallings and the Tide, joined me and Lee Shirvanian on “The Opening Kickoff” on WNSP-FM 105.5 to talk about the big game.
Nick Saban’s Tide is a two-score favorite over Ed Orgeron’s Tigers.
In fact, LSU hasn’t been a two-score underdog at home since 2001.
“The atmosphere will be electric,” Hallman said. “Through the years, when you talk about talent on the field, those two schools – LSU and Alabama – they’ve gotten more players in the NFL than any other college teams. …
“The only chance for LSU – they have a chance – is they can play defense, even though they’re missing a great player for the first half. LSU will have to be picture perfect on defense to stop the great offense Alabama has. Down deep, I’m not real sure the quarterback at LSU can muster up enough to beat Alabama’s defense.”
Hallman added LSU is missing a “gazelle” type running back, which is a big difference maker.
“Alabama is a complete football team that’s motoring on all cylinders,” he explained. “The only thing that might be a minus for Alabama is their kickers and they look like they are improving.”
Hallman knows a little something about upsetting Alabama.
In 1990, Hallman’s Southern Miss team defeated Alabama at Legion Field 27-24. The game marked Gene Stallings’ debut as coach with the Tide.
“We went in there, and we were a well-conditioned football team,” said Hallman, who played for Stallings at Texas A&M. “It was a hot day. We were in a little bit better shape. We won the game.”
For those that don’t remember, Favre had suffered injuries from an offseason car wreck. He had suffered swelling caused by a collection of blood on his liver and a concussion.
“I remember telling coach Stallings after the game – we went to midfield to shake hands – that I would’ve given anything in the world for this not to have been playing against us your first game. I wanted coach to win except when he played us.
“It was a big win for us. Coach Stallings wasn’t really happy. First thing he said was, ‘I understand. I hope your quarterback in OK.’ I said, ‘coach, he’s doing great.’ Most people didn’t think Brett was going to play because of the car wreck. Coach Stallings didn’t say it with a smile either.”
Mark Heim is a sports reporter for The Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Mark_Heim.