A week after making headlines for the explosive crowd response to his appearance at Game 5 of the World Series in Nationals Park, Sports Illustrated’s BamaCentral is reporting that President Trump will be attending the most anticipated game of the college football season: No. 1 LSU versus No. 2 Alabama at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday.
The game, which starts at 3:30 p.m. Eastern and features the undefeated LSU Tigers (8-0) playing against their biggest rival, the undefeated Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0), will now draw even more attention, if Sports Illustrated’s sources are correct.
“BamaCentral has learned that the University of Alabama is making preparations for President Donald Trump to attend the LSU game at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday,” the outlet reported Monday. “Alabama officials could not be reached to confirm or deny, but sources have confirmed his expected visit.”
LSU edged out Alabama in the most recent AP poll (1479-1472), though Alabama returned the favor in the Coaches Poll (1591-1531). ESPN’s Football Power Index lists Alabama at 2nd and LSU at 4th overall, giving Alabama a 31.6% chance of winning out the rest of the way and LSU an 11.7% chance. The index gives Alabama a 50% chance of winning the conference and LSU a 16.4% chance, in large part because of the daunting task of taking out Alabama. The line for the game currently gives Alabama a -6.5 point advantage.
“The high-profile game was already attracting a lot of attention, including ESPN’s pregame show ‘College Gameday,'” BamaCentral reports, noting that due to security concerns, the stage for the show had to be moved from the Walk of Champions outside the stadium to the Quad. SEC Nation and the Marty & McGee show will also be filming on location on the campus.
This isn’t the first college football game starring Alabama that Trump has attended. He also made it to the National Championship game in 2017, when Alabama managed to come back in the second half to beat another SEC team, the Georgia Bulldogs.
Though Trump left at halftime when Alabama was still trailing 13-0, the president made sure to celebrate their 17th championship (their 5th under Nick Saban) with them at the White House, calling it “a win for the ages.”
As The Daily Wire reported, when the Crimson Tide team visited the White House to meet the president in April 2018, WBRC News sports reporter Christina Chambers posted a moment on video that went viral: A member of the team asked if they could pray for the president.
“What a cool moment! [Alabama Football’s punter JK Scott] asked [President Trump] if he could pray for him and his staff,” wrote Chambers in a tweet. “Video below shows President Trump and Bama players praying after the Tide’s [at] WhiteHouse visit!”
What a cool moment! .@AlabamaFTBL JK Scott asked @POTUS if he could pray for him and his staff. Video below shows President Trump and Bama players praying after the Tide’s @WhiteHouse visit! @WBRCnews @BarrettSallee pic.twitter.com/tE4hj4k38l
— ChristinaWBRC (@ChristinaWBRC) April 10, 2018
White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham posted a tweet celebrating the moment. “As a proud Arkansan, I’m not an Alabama football fan, but I was a big fan of this prayer for [President Trump,” Grisham wrote.
— Stephanie Grisham (@PressSec) April 11, 2018
Trump also issued a tweet in response to the team’s visit. “Today, it was my great honor to welcome the 2017 NCAA Football National Champion, Alabama Crimson Tide – to the White House. Congratulations!” he tweeted. adding, “#RollTide.”
Today, it was my great honor to welcome the 2017 NCAA Football National Champion, Alabama Crimson Tide – to the White House. Congratulations! #RollTidehttps://t.co/hF5EZHlSVS pic.twitter.com/JfGue4IIs1
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 10, 2018