There are eight different places to catch an SEC game this weekend, but there was only one choice for this week’s featured road trip.
Alabama’s visit to Baton Rouge to face LSU might not be for all the SEC West marbles, but it’s certainly going to decide the fate of a handful of them.
It’s a decent drive from Tuscaloosa to Tiger Stadium. Google Maps pegs it just shy of 350 miles with an estimated driving time of a shade more than five hours. The folks at Google headquarters helpfully suggest taking the bus, which would cover the same distance in about 17 hours.
We don’t recommend that.
Here’s the route:
Why the game could be good: Take your pick from a number of good reasons. For starters, Nick Saban used to be LSU’s coach. Then there’s the fact the two teams don’t care for each other, and tend to play close games.
Six of the 10 meetings between the teams since Saban took over in Tuscaloosa have been decided by seven points or less — and three of those went to overtime.
This will also be the first time Ed Orgeron has led the Tigers into a clash with the Crimson Tide, and the fiery Cajun brings color to any occasion.
Even neutrals have a stake in this game. Auburn and Texas A&M will be rooting hard for LSU to win in order to tighten up the SEC West race a little.
Stop for food: Laurel, Miss., is about halfway from Tuscaloosa to Baton Rouge, so it’s a decent place to stop and grab some grub.
If you want to save your Louisiana eating until you actually arrive, TripAdvisor offers up Vic’s, the Smokehouse of Laurel and Phillips Drive-In as culinary alternatives.
What to see along the way: The Rose Hill Cemetery in Meridian, Miss., is the burial place for the Gypsy Royal Family. Gypsy Queen Callie Mitchell was buried there in 1915, and other members of her family have joined her there through the years.
You can also take a slight detour to Pearlington, Miss., to see a Saturn V rocket that would have taken Apollo 19 to the moon. That flight was scrubbed, but the rocket still remains.
What to do besides watch football: The folks at VisitBatonRouge.com have a few ideas for your non-football related activities in their fair city.
A trip to one of the several plantations in the area sounds like a good time.
Tailgating: Biased opinion alert: Baton Rouge (and the whole state, really) is home to some of the best food on earth. And you can get a taste of why that is at the tailgating scene before a LSU game.
From omelettes for breakfast to crabs, crawfish, suckling pigs and jambalaya for lunch, you can eat yourself silly at any one of hundreds of group tailgates near the stadium.
They’ll even serve Alabama fans, with a little friendly pregame banter on the side, of course.
Parking: As always, come early and be patient. Read up on your options here.
Need a postgame bite or drink? Any city that has a website devoted to its nightlife options probably has a few good ones from which to choose.
BestofBatonRouge.com has options ranging from Bogies Bar to Churchill’s Wine and Cigars. There’s bound to be a place that meets your pos-game mood and needs.