No. 5 LSU set to host top-ranked Alabama

Staff Writer
Plaquemine Post South
Former LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson avoids pressure against Arkansas in 2009. Jefferson was arrested on drug charges Thursday. No. 5 LSU hosts top-ranked Alabama on Saturday night at 7:11 p.m. in Tiger Stadium. 
WEEKLY CITIZEN PHOTO/Peter Silas Pasqua

BATON ROUGE - ESPN may as well be called the LSU Network this week as the fifth-ranked Tigers will get plenty of attention from the all sports channel leading up to Saturday night's contest against top-ranked Alabama in Tiger Stadium.

LSU and Alabama will battle for the third time in less than a year when the teams meet in a contest that could go a long way in shaping the national championship picture. Alabama is 8-0 overall and 5-0 in league play, while LSU is 7-1 overall and 3-1 in conference action. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:11 p.m. on CBS.

The teams split two meetings last year with LSU winning, 9-6, in overtime during the regular season in Tuscaloosa, while the Crimson Tide claimed the BCS National Championship with a 21-0 victory in the second contest.

ESPN's College Gameday pre-game show, featuring Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso, Desmond Howard and Samantha Steele, will arrive on campus on Friday and air live from the LSU Parade Grounds in the center of campus on Saturday morning from 8 until 11 a.m.

While, LSU enjoyed a bye week leading up to the contest, there was still plenty of news surrounding the Tiger football program.

First, in a letter posted on LSU's athletic website Oct. 24, athletic director Joe Alleva apologized for the decision to edit crosses painted on a group of LSU students out of a recent promotional photo the university sent out.

The altered photo of the "Painted Posse" made national headlines and has earned widespread criticism for LSU. Each of the four young men in the photo had their bodies painted yellow with a purple cross painted near their left shoulders that were edited out.

Alleva said the university would not attempt to edit photos in a similar fashion in the future.

"On occasion after a football game, we will send out a promotional email to fans asking for feedback on their experience in Tiger Stadium," Alleva wrote in the letter. "LSU recently gained media attention for a photo that accompanied one of those promotional emails sent after the South Carolina game.

"As a public institution, we are careful not to imply endorsement of any particular religious belief, but a mistake was made in editing the crosses out of the photo before sending it out as part of the promotional photo."

Then on Oct. 25, four former LSU football players including Heisman Memorial Trophy finalist Tyrann Mathieu and last season's starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson were arrested on several drug-related counts.

Mathieu and Jefferson were booked on one count each of simple possession of marijuana. Karnell Hatcher was booked on one count of second-offense simple possession of marijuana and Derrick Bryant was booked on one count each of possession with intent to distribute marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Mathieu, an All-American cornerback, had returned to school nearly a month after he was kicked off the football team and lost his scholarship, reportedly because of multiple failed drug tests.

Jefferson was suspended six games for his role in a bar fight that erupted just before last year's season opener.

According to an affidavit of probable cause, Bryant and Hatcher had previously been charged with possession of marijuana.