No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama will square off in New Orleans in the BCS National Championship Game in arguably the most anticipated rematch in college football history.
LSU won a 9-6 overtime contest when two teams met earlier in the season on Nov. 5 in Alabama. The game did not feature a single touchdown.
Since the BCS' inception in 1998, LSU has won two national championships. The first came after the 2003 season, the second after the 2007 season. Both of those championships were won in New Orleans, where this game will be played.
Alabama won the national championship following the 2009 season, beating Texas.
This will be the fifth consecutive season that an SEC team will win the National Championship. Florida won in 2006 and 2008, LSU in 2007, Alabama in 2009 and Auburn in 2010.
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome. New Orleans, Louisiana.
When: Jan 9, 2012 at 8:30 p.m. EST
Watch: ESPN, streamed at ESPN 3.
Listen: WFFN 95.3 FM, WTSK 790 AM in Tuscaloosa. 104.5 FM in Baton Rouge. ESPN Radio Nationwide.
This is for the national championship, so that's all the storyline you will need. Beyond that, it will be interesting to see how these teams adjust to what happened in the first game.
Will we see trick plays from either squad? We didn't see any touchdowns on Nov. 5. The coaches need to figure out a way to find the end zone.
LSU (-1), according to Bodava.
You're certainly not betting on a spread there. This comes down to who you think will win the game. That's Alabama. I know that LSU won the prior meeting, but I can't get past Alabama's Trent Richardson. He's the difference maker between two very similar teams.
Who Might Not Play for LSU (USA Today)
G Josh Dworaczyk is out.
S Brandon Taylor is questionable.
QB Jarrett Lee is probable.
Who Might Not Play for Alabama (USA Today)
RB Dee Hart, OL Arie Kouandjio, and DB Will Lowery are out.
WR Duron Carter, WR Michael Bowman and WR Darius Hanks are questionable.
What it Means for LSU
When you look at the rankings of the teams that LSU has beaten, a national championship would help this team go down as one of the better teams ever.
What it Means for Alabama
Beyond just the national championship, it would help them prove that they were the better team in November. Alabama squandered plenty of opportunities in that meeting. Losing another one would make it hard for the Crimson Tide to argue that the first loss was a fluke.
What They're Saying
Izzy Gould of the Tuscaloosa Bureau quoted Alabama receiver Brandon Gibson, who seemed optimistic about his team's chances in the rematch vs. LSU.
"We left a lot of points on the field the last time we played...I don't think that they beat us; we beat ourselves. It's all about Alabama right now. We're going back to the basics like we did last week, and we're starting to get into work for LSU. We'll be prepared for them."
Jim Kleinpeter of The Times Picayune wrote that the LSU players and coaches aren't worried about the extended layoff that the Tigers will face.
The trust Miles has in his team is evident, and he said he had an inkling the Tigers would respond in a positive manner throughout the season based on spring practice, summer workouts and fall camp. With a top-five meeting against Oregon waiting in the opener at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, he said the tone was set long before the season kicked off.
LSU Player to Watch
DB Tyrann Mathieu. The Honey Badger is all over the field when he plays. He's also one of the more dangerous return men in the country.
When these two teams last met, Mathieu put a bullseye on his back.
Alabama will need to keep their eyes on him all game since he can alter the game with one play.
Alabama Player to Watch
RB Trent Richardson. He's the difference maker in this game. Richardson is hands down the best offensive player for either team. If he gets loose and makes some plays, LSU will have a hard time keeping up.
QB A.J. McCarron vs. the LSU secondary. McCarron won't put up big stats in this game, but he will need to establish a passing threat for Alabama. If he does and LSU can't bring extra men to defend Richardson, Alabama will win.
Prediction: Alabama 17, LSU 14
Clearly, this game is going to be close. There's future NFL talent all over. Still, it's hard to overlook Richardson. LSU doesn't have that offensive player on their team. Alabama will get him chances of which he'll take full advantage.