TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Alabama fans who couldn’t make it to New Orleans for the Crimson Tide’s second BCS title win in three years celebrated it in what many consider the next-best place: Tuscaloosa.
Hundreds of people danced in the street Monday night after ‘Bama beat LSU 21-0 in a defensive performance as impressive as they come.
TVs were on all over the hometown of the University of Alabama during the game, and beer shelves were partly bare at a grocery store near campus. While the season’s first LSU-Alabama game was just down the street at Bryant-Denny Stadium, the rematch was about 300 miles away in the Superdome.
The city was hardly full since many students were either in New Orleans or still at home since classes don’t resume until Wednesday. But bars drew big crowds along The Strip, the row of nightclubs and restaurants just off the Alabama campus.
One man was arrested seconds after the game while dancing on University Boulevard, but police stood by as hundreds more filled the road moments later. A second man was arrested after climbing atop patrol cars to lead cheers.
Wearing a Crimson cap, Shane Cook of Tuscaloosa led “Roll Tide’ cheers at The Houndstooth Sports Bar, which was packed with hundreds of people inside and out. He didn’t regret not going to the game.
“I’d rather be here. It’s home, and I want to celebrate at home,” said Cook, his voice hoarse. “Plus it’s a liitle cheaper.”
Tuscaloosa native Mike Holcomb pumped his fist as ‘Bama took control in the second half.
“I live in Savannah, Ga., and came here just for the game. Didn’t want to be anywhere else,” he said.
There were a few LSU fans in town, but not many. Four work colleagues in town all week for a meeting gathered in the bar at an on-campus hotel wearing purple in a sea of crimson. They knew they were badly outnumbered, but it didn’t matter.
“We’re not scared,” said Dolly Babineaux of Erath, La. “We’re here to cheer on our people.”
Not everyone seemed interested in the game, though. A group of nine foreign students in town before classes resume Wednesday sat chatting in a restaurant beneath a TV during the pregame show, unconcerned with the hype. They couldn’t stay long: The restaurant closed 30 minutes before kickoff, allowing workers a chance to watch, too.
Officials said they expected a crowd when the Crimson Tide returns by charter jet to the Tuscaloosa airport on Tuesday.