LSU-Alabama Preview: Bayou Bengals Look to Ride the Tide

Chase BowmanContributor INovember 6, 2009

Tomorrow the Tigers (7-1) travel to Tuscaloosa, Ala for a matchup with the Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0) in what will be a true battle between two of the SEC's best teams. Last year Alabama came into Baton Rouge and left with a 27-21 OT win over LSU which put the Tigers' aspirations of a national title out of the question for good.

With both team's quarterbacks struggling to play well on a consistent basis, this year's showdown should be a tough, grind-it-out type game for both clubs.

BCS Implications

With the Tigers and the Tide both in the SEC West division, the winner of this game will most likely be in the conference championship game which will include Florida, the SEC East division winner, as well. With this in mind, there will surely be a "Bowl-game-like" atmosphere for this meeting.

Both teams will control their own destiny with a win in terms of getting a BSC title game berth, and the Bayou Bengals, given their overall strength of schedule, will surely vault any of the three undefeated teams (Iowa, Boise State, and Cincinnati) in the BCS standings as long as they can win out starting tomorrow.

Key Matchup: LSU's Running Game Against Alabama's Run Defense.

The matchup between the Tigers' two primary running backs, Charles Scott (No. 32) and Keiland Williams (No. 5) against the Tide's middle line-backer, Rolando McClain (No. 25) will in all likelihood be the deciding factor. The contest will feature two teams that win with defense and running the ball.

There will be a major, major conviction to the ground attack from both LSU and 'Bama offensively, so the ability to shed off blockers and get to the ball carrier on McClain's part will most likely mean the difference. The 6'4" 250 lb. Junior leads his team in tackles and is somebody the offense has to account for on every play.

On the other side, though, is LSU's duel threat of Senior running backs that are certainly capable of holding their own against No. 25 and Alabama's fifth ranked defense in the nation. Both of whom are rated among's top five running backs in next April's draft-prospect list and represent quite the challenge for McClain and the rest of the LBs.

Chase's Prediction: LSU 17-13

If Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy somehow breaks out of his shell this game, and LSU quarterback, Jordan Jefferson plays like he did against Florida three weeks ago, then this prediction will be like so many of my other SEC upset picks. Dead wrong.

But if Jefferson, Scott, and Williams play at least mediocre, and the Tiger defense plays like they did in their last four outings against Auburn, Tulane, Georgia, and Florida they should come home with a victory.