Ladies and gentlemen, the time has come.
At 7 p.m. on Saturday in Death Valley, the most volatile football rivalry in the Southeastern Conference will take place as No. 5 LSU (5-0, 1-0 SEC) takes on the No. 7 Florida Gators (5-0, 2-0).
Florida has been the Tigers’ biggest rival for some time, and the matchup has always delivered.
Since 2010, LSU leads the series 6-3, but the past three clashes have been decided by seven points or fewer. LSU could be 7-2 against the Gators in its last nine tries, but running back Derrius Guice could not find the end zone from the 1-yardline as the clock ticked to zero in 2016. A series of events that LSU fans do not forget, and LSU players will not let define them.
Another aspect that makes this SEC battle interesting is that both defenses are trying to live up to a huge legacy— a legacy of owning the title of “Defensive Back University.”
Unlike Texas, this is actually a fair fight. Florida has produced impressive defensive backs in recent years such as C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Keanu Neal and Joe Haden.
While these names are impressive, they have nothing on the names such as Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu and Tre’Davious White.
Nonetheless, the Gators boast a solid defensive squad all around with their strong defensive line and quick corners.
Yet, it will all be for not as LSU possesses the best corner in Derek Stingley, a tremendous linebacking corps led by Jacob Philips, Patrick Queen and K’lavon Chaisson.
Oh, and the LSU offense is led by Heisman Candidate Joe Burrow while Florida is relying on first year starter Kyle Trask.
Even with these advantages for LSU, the game should be close. Which is why the matchup is so special. Both teams hate the other in the best possible way and, as the years have shown, anyone can get in on the trash-talking act.
People such as Florida graduate C’yontai Lewis who tweeted a picture of him holding a skeleton with the caption “Almost three years since that Cat over there died…Its that time again. BEAT LSWHO.”
This rivalry runs deep, and no subject is off limits.
Another example of similar hostility involves Florida’s coach in 2016, Jim McElwain. He had led his Gators to a hard-fought victory in a game that they should have lost as LSU had the ball at the 1-yard-line with only seconds remaining.
But, Florida pulled out the win and McElwain could not wait to give his take on what he thought on LSU.
“They got what they deserved,” McElwain said. “And it should have been worse.”
As opposed to 2016, LSU boasts a high-powered offense with weapons firing on all cylinders.
Florida should not expect a similar result and, if they do, they will be highly disappointed.
This offense will be too much for Florida to handle as their “DBU” status will not hold up against the best offense in the country.
While Florida did have an impressive win against Auburn, LSU will not allow an 88-yard rushing touchdown nor a wide receiver pass to a quarterback.
There will be no trickery in this game, simply a matchup where LSU forces Trask to make plays.
Enter Stingley and Kristian Fulton, who Trask will struggle to gain any momentum against.
Florida has nowhere to hide in Death Valley, and the bright lights will be too much for an experienced starter.
This is the rivalry that should be on every LSU fan’s mind. If fans bring the same energy as they do to Alabama every two years, Florida will walk away from Death Valley with what they deserve— loss of hope and loss of pride.