LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger has the Tigers at 7-1 (3-1 SEC) heading into their premier matchup with Alabama. However, if he continues to play like he has, the Tigers will get crushed by the Crimson Tide.
Mettenberger's year doesn't look too terrible on the surface. He is 112-for-198 (56.6 percent) for 1,419 yards, seven touchdowns, four interceptions and a 124.39 rating. However, the Tigers quarterback has been terrible versus teams that have any semblance of talent.
Mettenberger doesn't play well versus teams that have winning records
In the first five games of the season, Mettenberger played some terrible teams and put up some solid starting-caliber quarterback stats. He was 78-for-119 (65.5 percent) for 1,016 yards, six touchdowns, two interceptions and a 150.54 rating against those teams that have combined for an 11-22 record.
Does Mettenberger stand a chance against the talented Alabama defense?
However, the next three teams that the Tigers played have combined for a 17-3 record, and Mettenberger's stats have reflected that. He's gone 34-for-79 for just 403 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions and a 85.0 rating.
There is a disconnect between the the 6'5", 222-pound junior's raw talent and his play on the field. While he has looked great against terrible and average teams, he hasn't had a game above a 90 passer rating against any team that is going to be able to compete for an SEC title this year.
If he can't compete against the talented defenses of Florida, Texas A&M and South Carolina, how is he going to compete against the defense that Alabama throws out there?
Alabama has a ridiculously talented defense
Alabama has a defense that is arguably the best in the nation. While South Carolina, Florida and Texas A&M can state that they are great on defense, none of them compare to just how good Alabama's defense is.
In terms of total defense by yardage, Alabama leads the nation allowing just 181 yards. For comparison, Mettenberger has had trouble with the 12th in South Carolina (297 yards per game), 13th in Florida (296 yards per game) and a defense that doesn't even crack the top 50 in Texas A&M.
When he goes against Alabama's top-rated defense, expect him to have a terrible game. When this happens, don't be shocked if Mettenberger sees some time on the bench in the second half.
Mettenberger won't magically turn into a talented QB
With how terrible Mettenberger has been against defenses that have any semblance of talent, it will be shocking to see him magically transform into a quarterback that looks talented against the championship-level defense that the Crimson Tide have.
Note: Stats used versus winning and non-winning teams were derived from the stats on Zach Mettenberger's ESPN.com profile. Also, team defense statistics are from the NCAA official website.
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, NFL and NFL Draft. He is also the Falcons analyst at Drafttek, runs the NFL draft website ScarDraft.com and hosts Kvetching Draftniks Radio.