It’s here.

It’s Alabama week.

It’s time for LSU’s first game since ascending to the No. 1 spot in the Associated Press poll.

The Tigers will almost certainly be No. 1 in the first College Football Playoff rankings when they are released Tuesday.

As a practical matter, nudging past Alabama in the rankings doesn’t mean a whole lot. Whoever wins this game will be No. 1 and the loser will remain a viable contender for a Playoff berth.

But even though the placement of LSU at No. 1 doesn’t mean a whole lot, it does symbolize something important: The Tigers have the best resume of any team in college football and their best opportunity to defeat the Crimson Tide since the last time they did it.

That was almost exactly eight years ago, Nov. 5, 2011, when the last Game of the Century took place in the same stadium as the 2019 Game of the Century – Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Then, like now, LSU was No. 1 and Alabama was No. 2.

That game, of course, was won by the Tigers, 9-6 in overtime – back when blocking and tackling were still pre-eminent in football.

The score of this game won’t be 9-6, though it could go overtime.

LSU and Alabama seemingly were the last holdouts – still playing football games that were decided in the trenches, with traditional run-pass balance, without succumbing to video-game passing attacks.

But even Nick Saban incrementally accepted the inevitable.

LSU was slower to do so. It was one of the primary reasons Les Miles lost his job three years ago.

Ed Orgeron has been far more open to modernizing the Tigers offense, though there was some trial and error along the way.

But he finally figured it out when he put the offense back in the hands of Steve Ensminger and tore off the passing portion and handed it to newcomer Joe Brady.

And voila!

Now LSU is passing the ball as well and scoring points as fast as just about anybody in the country.

Sure, LSU and Bama both still have big, strong offensive and defensive lines. They like to and can run the ball between the tackles. Their defenses can dominate.

But these teams aren’t going to party like it’s 2011.

This is different. This is the opportunity LSU fans have been dreaming of – a bona fide passing game to go with all the other stuff the Tigers have always had – a running game, a dominant defense (at least periodically), very good special teams and, yes, really good coaching.

This time LSU really is on equal footing with Alabama, probably for the first time since November 2011.

Sure they played again just two months after that touchdown-free game, but when roughly equal teams have a rematch it tends to favor the team that lost the first time. They zero in on where they came up short and do what they can to fix it. The winner tends to take more of an “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach.

Bama fixed stuff; LSU didn’t. And the Tide rolled 21-0 in the BCS Championship Game.

Now, eight years later, the Tigers have finally gotten around to fixing that dang passing game.

The rankings have symbolic meaning, all right.

But for LSU this week is all about blocking out the noise, as Orgeron will repeatedly refer to it, and tackling the opportunity.

Forget the AP poll. Ignore the CFP rankings when they come out.

Losing streak, what losing streak?

The Tigers have everything they need.

They’re the equal of the Crimson Tide.

This one really does have the makings of a Game of Century. Just like that other one did.

How about 49-46?

In a few overtimes.