Media madness for LSU vs. Alabama

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Look no further than the forecast of coverage to best illustrate the hype engulfing No. 1 LSU vs. No. 2 Alabama. Crimson Tide officials anticipate approving approximately 600 media credentials for Saturday's game, the Birmingham News reports.

According to an Alabama media relations staff member, approximately 350 credentials are granted for an "average" Alabama home game, the newspaper said. That number balloons to about 450 when the Crimson Tide play host to either Auburn or Tennessee, the official said.

The press box at Bryant-Denny Stadium seats about 150 members of the media in three rows. Additional seats and tables, plus a photo deck, will be provided to accommodate overflow. According to the newspaper, Alabama's media relations staff does not keep records for credential requests.

Now, after a nearly two-month buildup, Judgment Day -- Southeastern Conference style -- is just days away as the SEC West rivals meet in a potential national title elimination contest.

The winner will have the inside track to play for both the SEC and national championships, with no guarantees beyond that. The game is so big that even Alabama's all-business coach, Nick Saban, didn't try to downplay its magnitude earlier this week before a room packed with close to double the normal media contingent on his 60th birthday.

LSU coach Les Miles as usual wants his players to embrace the big-game trappings. He said he doesn't want the Tigers coaching or playing like normal for a game that's anything but.

"I want the players to enjoy the glare and the light of the big stage," Miles said. "I want them to enjoy the opportunity to play for a big victory. Once I've prepared the team and after I feel I've done a quality job, I want the players to play with freedom."

Said Crimson Tide nose guard Josh Chapman: "We live for games like this. You want to go against great teams. Being in the SEC, it's a great matchup. We're ready for it."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.