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 BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -Pardon Tulane coach Bob Toledo for his lack of enthusiasm over the Green Wave's midseason meeting with historical in-state rival LSU.
``I'd rather play it early to be honest with you, get it out of the way and get on with the league,'' said Toledo, whose team faces the 15th-ranked Tigers in Death Valley on Saturday night. ``We're the last team in Conference USA to play a BCS team. So, we're playing them in the eighth game of the season and now we're beat up as it is.
``We might just take the equipment down and circle it up and get out of town real quick, you know? It's hard playing a team like that and they're mad right now. They're really mad. And I don't like them being mad. They're tough enough.''
Despite a 52-38 loss to Georgia last weekend, LSU (5-2) still has hope that if it runs the table, it might squeak back into contention for a BCS bowl bid.
time since 2002. The Green Wave would need to string together a winning streak of their own to become bowl eligible, and would have to do it without leading rusher Andre Anderson, who dislocated and fractured his shoulder against Rice last weekend and is out for the year.
``I wish (we) were a little healthier and I'd like to be more competitive against them ... but it's hard,'' Toledo said. ``We're different, and if people don't realize that, there is something wrong. There's a reason why they're a BCS conference and we're a mid-major conference. Again, I'm being brutally honest. We're not in the same leagues. People might not want to think that or wish that or believe that, but I'm just being honest.''
LSU hasn't lost to Tulane since 1982, when the Green Wave escaped Tiger Stadium with a 31-28 victory. LSU has won the last 16 times these teams have played each other.
LSU also will be looking for its 29th straight victory in a night game in Tiger Stadium, while Tulane will be looking for its first victory over a ranked opponent in its last 36 tries, a streak which, incidentally, dates back to their 1982 victory over then-12th-ranked LSU.
LSU coach Les Miles doesn't want to hear about any of that, though. He pointed to last year's meeting in the Louisiana Superdome, when Tulane used a variety of blitzes that unsettled LSU's offense early on and the Green Wave took a 9-7 lead late into the first half.
Of course, LSU got it together in the second half, pulling away for a 34-9 win on its way to a BCS national championship.
Early this season, Tulane gave currently undefeated Alabama one of its tougher games of the season in Tuscaloosa. The Green Wave lost 20-6, but allowed only one offensive touchdown. Alabama quarterback John Parker Wilson managed only 11 completions for 73 yards, and the Crimson Tide needed a pair of special teams scores to keep the Wave at bay.
With a similar defensive effort, Tulane might be able to disrupt LSU redshirt freshman quarterback Jarrett Lee or freshman quarterback Jordan Jefferson, who is expected to see his first significant action of the season.
``Tulane has proven that they'll play us as hard as anybody they play,'' Miles said. ``Throw out the records. They're going to play us as best as they can. I looked when they played Alabama, and they have some players.''
But does Tulane have enough to even make it close? In addition to being without Anderson, who had 1,066 total yards and eight touchdowns before his injury last weekend, Tulane also is expected to be without leading receiver Jeremy Williams, whose broken left hand has kept him out for the past two games.
The oddsmakers aren't giving the Green Wave much chance. LSU is favored by more than three touchdowns.
cott, who averages 111 yards a game and had 144 against Georgia.
If Tulane is lucky, LSU will be more focused on the return of former Tigers coach Nick Saban to Baton Rouge the following weekend, when Alabama arrives for a pivotal SEC West contest.
Miles clearly grasps the intrigue that will be generated by Saban's return and warned his players against getting hung up on it.
``The thing the team needs to understand is that it's right in front of us,'' Miles said. ``It's not about next week.''

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