Death Valley is one of the toughest places to play football as a visiting team. There is a live tiger that greets the visiting team when it takes the field, adding to the intimidation felt from the crowd.
Against Alabama, the home-field advantage won’t matter. The Tide have played in Death Valley 11 times since 1990. Alabama is 7-4 during that stretch. Home field doesn’t spell success in this rivalry.
|Games in Death Valley since 1990|
|Nov. 9, 1991||Alabama||20-17|
|Nov. 7, 1992||Alabama||31-11|
|Nov. 5, 1994||Alabama||35-17|
|Nov. 9, 1996||Alabama||26-0|
|Nov. 7, 1998||Alabama||22-16|
|Nov. 4, 2000||LSU||30-28|
|Nov. 16, 2002||Alabama||31-0|
|Nov. 13, 2004||LSU||26-10|
|Nov. 11, 2006||LSU||28-14|
|Nov. 8, 2008||Alabama||27-21|
|Nov. 6, 2010||LSU||24-21|
It will be a loud and rowdy group of fans that await the arrival of the Tide, but Alabama is a poised football team with a lot of leadership on both sides of the football.
A.J. McCarron is the leader of this team, guiding it to an undefeated run so far through 2012 after capturing the national title last season. The Crimson Tide are poised to repeat, but the Tigers stand in their way.
The Alabama quarterback is leading the country in passing efficiency with a mark of 182.40 and has 18 touchdowns with no interceptions on the season. His last interception came against Mississippi State in November of 2011.
The Tide also have a duo of dangerous backs, led by Eddie Lacy, that should provide a strong balance to the Alabama offense. To date, the Crimson Tide have 1,776 passing yards and 1,715 rushing yards. Truly the mark of a balanced offense.
LSU has put together a very good defense this season, but it hasn't played well on offense. Alabama is the best defense in every major category and will shut down the Tigers' efforts if all they bring is a ground game.
There has to be some responsibility that is handed to Zach Mettenberger, but he has issues with bad throws from time to time. If bad competition can pick off the LSU quarterback, Alabama will have a record day against the Tigers.
The Bayou Bengals have the talent on the outside to create mismatches with the Tide, but Mettenberger is going to have to find his targets to make that matter. He is only completing 56 percent of his passes through eight games.
Alabama will key on the LSU run game, causing issues for the Tigers offense. There is no relying on Mettenberger at this point. While the Tide may not hold LSU to the season average of 95 yards, they will likely hold them to fewer than 150 yards.
Even if the LSU offense holds Alabama to just two scores, that may be enough to beat the Tigers.
This should be a closer game than is being predicted, but it will end in an Alabama victory. The Tide have the more talented lineup from top to bottom and are the most poised team in the country. This is a physical football team that doesn’t make mistakes.
LSU has been a less disciplined squad this year, but it is playing a lot of young talent. LSU has played against South Carolina and Florida, so it has faced some tests, but this Alabama team will bring a totally new experience.
While Death Valley has become one of the most feared stadiums for good reason, it won’t help the Tigers earn a victory this Saturday. Alabama looks to be on an unstoppable run.
*All Stats confirmed with NCAA.org; Game records confirmed with 2012 Alabama Media Guide