Night in Death Valley summons noise, humidity, even ghosts

October 8, 2009
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Oct. 8, 2009
By Dennis Dodd
CBSSports.com Senior Writer

It has turned the knees of All-Americans to goo. It has caused coaches to lose their coaching minds.

It only happens at a special space at a special time. LSU can be up, LSU can be down, but LSU’s best weapon remains … sunset.

Actually, it’s what comes after the sun sets. Dark. That combined with Tiger Stadium on a Saturday night is something loud, strange and holy. There is noise in stadiums everywhere from Eugene to Tuscaloosa. Only in Baton Rouge is there a living, breathing being lurking in its grand, old stadium.

“Tiger Stadium is haunted,” former LSU player John Ed Bradley said, “and all the ghosts favor the home team.”

This is an issue this week because for the first time in 50 years, two top five teams in Tiger Stadium kick off — when else? — at night on Saturday. No. 1 Florida and No. 4 LSU meet in what, for now, is the biggest game of the college football season if for no other reason than recent history. Since 2006, the winner of this game has won the national championship.

LSU has won its first five, rising from No. 11 in the preseason to within shouting distance of No. 1. The Tigers are 99th in offense and won last week at Georgia with the help of a bogus excessive celebration penalty. That seems laughable at LSU where every game involves excessive celebration. LSU has won 32 consecutive Saturday night games and is 45-4 at night this decade.

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