THE FOUR NOTES from the "Tiger Rag" are hardwired -- you've heard them a thousand times. Daaaaaaaaaaaa da daaaaa da. "Hold That Tiger."
But you've never really heard them until you've heard them played by the right hands and lips of the Golden Band from Tigerland at the right time on Saturday night, in the damn right place known as Death Valley. Daaaaaaaaaaaa da daaaaa da. The fanfare flies straight to the hearts of the Louisiana State University faithful and makes even novices understand what Dan Borne, the voice of Tiger Stadium, meant when he penned his ode to LSU football: "It is the cathedral of college football, and worship happens here."
And when the notes are played in the pregame show before the team faces No. 1 Alabama, they give chills to more than 93,000 people inside the stadium and an estimated 60,000 gathered outside -- even on an unseasonably warm night. "Hold That Tiger" separates this football game from any other.
But playing those notes requires taking a breath. So let's step back to Nov. 2, the eve of the big game.
Read here for the rest of Steve Wulf's story as part of ESPN The Magazine's One Day, One Game issue devoted to this season's Alabama-LSU game.
Below are the other stories from the Nov. 26 issue:
1 minute, 34 seconds
One minute, 34 seconds: That's how long it look AJ McCarron to make a lifetime of planning pay off. In ESPN The Magazine's One Day, One Game issue, David Fleming writes about the seconds that mattered for the Tide's QB in the Nov. 3 game against LSU.
Home and away
Eddie Lacy was born on the Bayou, but the trip he made to Death Valley on Nov. 3 was no homecoming, writes Elizabeth Merrill in ESPN The Magazine’s One Day, One Game issue.
6 days, 1 gamer
LSU DE Sam Montgomery doesn't shy away from pressure -- he seeks it out. In ESPN The Magazine's One Day, One Game issue, Hallie Grossman writes about how the junior organizes his game-week calendar.
Battles for the Bowls
In ESPN The Magazine's One Day, One Game issue, statheads highlight the remaining must-watch college football games, and NFL stars like Tim Tebow and Barry Sanders explain why these college rivalries matter.
The obsession of Les Miles
In his car, on his couch, at his office, on the field … for 14 days, the Tigers' coach has thought about nothing but beating the Crimson Tide.