LSU vs. Alabama square off in the biggest game of the year, and maybe the game with the most implications. For Alabama, winning this game almost guarantees them in the SEC Championship game and the College Football Playoff. For LSU, it would almost surely propel them to the SEC Championship, and if they win that then the College Football Playoff. I think that it would be hard for the committee to keep Alabama out of the playoff regardless of how shit their strength of schedule is. This is still two of the best, if not the best, teams in the country going at it on a Saturday night in Death Valley.
We all remember the “Game of the Century” from 2011 when #1 LSU beat #2 Alabama in Tuscaloosa with the same implications. This game is going to be a whole different feel. Unlike in 2011, LSU can actually move the ball past the 50 yard line, and they aren’t one dimensional with their “run the ball only” mentality. However, their defense is still the same. While Alabama has done a little rebranding too. Their passing game is absolutely ridiculous with Tua Tagovailoa (not even going to mention that scrub Jalen Hurts). They also aren’t that team they used to be with the downhill runners. Also, their defense is still as strong as ever. So, the offensives are very different from what they once were, but the defenses are still a force to recon with.
Why LSU will win this game:
This LSU team has a balanced offense that can do it all; they can pass, run and kick (Cole Tracy is the GOAT).
Let’s start with passing, because in years past this has been the biggest struggle for LSU. Lack of ability to pass the ball is really the main downfall to most of the great LSU teams in prior history. Especially in big games against Alabama, for instance the National Championship game vs. Alabama when they got embarrassed, they could not move the ball to save their life. This team is different though, they have Joe Burrow who might be the difference maker of this game. Although Burrow’s stats don’t really show it, he has been the biggest change for this LSU offense from last year. Being the son of a coach, his football IQ is unbelievable. He is able to make shifts at the line of scrimmage and make the right decisions to move the ball or not turn it over. A problem in the past was having dumb QBs making costly mistakes and throwing picks. Joe Burrow won’t do that. He is going to go out there and make the smart decisions that will ultimately change the game.
It has been said that for LSU to win this football game they must be able to establish the passing game. So be prepared to see Joe Burrow slinging it on Saturday night. I wouldn’t be surprised if Joe Burrow threw the ball 35 times. This is how they want to open up their run game for Nick Brossette and Clyde Edward-Helaire. And yes, LSU again has a two headed monster that will just eat up yards. The Tigers are scoring on average 30.4 per game, which is more than they have since 2015 (30.3).
The one part of this offense the Tigers can hang their hat on is a 92% chance of scoring in the red zone. A lot of this has to do with kicker, Cole Tracy, who is an absolute monster. Tracy is 21/23 and has a long of 54. This kid used to kick in front of 5,000 people up at Assumption College and now he’s kicking in front of 100,000 no problem. As we know these LSU vs. Alabama games can come down to the kicking game and if it comes down to the foot of Cole Tracy then I wouldn’t be too worried.
LSU’s defense is about what you’d expect. The school is considered DBU for a reason. The average QBR of the QBs from SEC that have faced this LSU defense is 39.2. If you watched the LSU vs. Georgia game then you were able to see the Tigers secondary put Jake Fromm in a body bag. LSU’s defense leads the nation in interceptions (14) and is seventh in points allowed (15.1 per game). This defense is lights out, and they have been shutting people down. If they are able to pressure Tua then that could really make it hard on him to be the player he’s been all season long.
Why Alabama will win this game:
Tua. That’s really all that needs to be said. The man is a freak. This is not your average Alabama, AJ McCarron, stupid chest tat QB, ok. This man is for real. Tua has a QBR of 97.3, a little over 2,000 yards on the season, 27 total touchdowns, a completion percentage of 70.4%, and no interceptions on the season. Those are Heisman numbers. Obviously Alabama has some great compliments to Tua with Najee and Damien Harris (don’t think they are related), Jerry Jeudy, and Henry Ruggs III.
Their defense is not bad either, but they have played a cupcake schedule with their strength of schedule ranking at 68 at the beginning of the year, and honestly probably could be worse now because of how bad some of the teams turned out (Louisville, among others). So that is why Tua is the player that will be the difference for Alabama. If they win this game then I don’t think it will have anything to do with LSU’s offense or Alabama’s defense, but I think it has everything to do with Tua just running train.
So, let’s take into account where and when this is being played. You cannot tell me that has no effect on this game. The atmosphere at Death Valley is electric and when you add the element of a night game (8 ET), then you might as well call it the toughest stadium to play in. The Tigers have so much pumped up anger and aggression from losing the last 7 meetings; not to mention that LSU finally has a strong, all around team this year. However, Alabama is just so dominant. Their offense can’t be stopped. Tua might win the Heisman this year, and that would be well deserved because the man can play. I think that he is very lucky that the refs decided completely screw the Tigers in the last game by calling targeting against Devin White, when it clearly wasn’t (might be the worst call in history). Now, Tua doesn’t have to worry about Devin White coming at him for an entire half.
All of this being said, LSU has to have this one and shock the world. They’re at home, at night, playing their biggest rival for a chance to play in the College Football Playoffs. This is what Coach O has been pushing these kids to do, and I know about the strength of Alabama, but I believe that the Tigers defense is going to get to Tua and make him force some errors. This will be Tua’s first test this entire year and he really has never seen a defense like this before in his entire career. I think that the atmosphere will prove to be too much, and that LSU defense will be making it tough on Tua; while the LSU offense is able to put just enough points on the board to win the game.
I think LSU beats Alabama 27-24.
– Parmesan Don