Alabama will ruin LSU's chances of reaching a second consecutive BCS National Championship Game when the Crimson Tide defeat the Tigers in Baton Rouge on Saturday night.
Just like last season's SEC showdown between these powerhouse schools, defense will decide the game.
The Alabama defense is ranked No. 1 in points against, allowing just 8.1 points per game. In the two games the Crimson Tide have played against ranked teams this season, Week 1 versus Michigan and last week against Mississippi State, Saban's team has outscored its opponents 79-21.
In its matchup with LSU, Alabama will run the ball effectively to dominate the possession battle, but where this game will really be won for the Crimson Tide is on defense.
Alabama ranks sixth in the nation in interceptions, and if they win the turnover battle versus LSU, which is very likely, the Tigers won't have a chance to win.
Since defeating Towson on September 29, the Tigers are 2-1, but they could certainly have finished that three-game stretch without a victory. LSU's 14-6 defeat to Florida on October 6 proved how ineffective its offense can be against a talented defense that can dominate the line of scrimmage.
In the two weeks following the Florida loss, LSU barely defeated a talented South Carolina team and SEC newcomer Texas A&M, winning by margins of two and five, respectively.
A loss to the Crimson Tide probably wouldn't prevent the Tigers from being able to earn a berth to a BCS bowl this season, but their dream of getting back to the National Championship Game would definitely end.
It would likely be impossible for the Tigers to overtake schools such as No. 2 Kansas State, No. 3 Notre Dame and No. 4 Oregon in the BCS rankings during the final weeks of the season if they lost for a second time on Saturday.
We can expect an exciting, low-scoring game between these schools, just like we had last year. If Alabama's defense continues to play well and its offense doesn't turn the ball over, there's no way that LSU will defeat Nick Saban's team.
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