Alabama vs. LSU Preview: These Guys Just Don't Like Each Other

The ACC and SEC BlogSenior Analyst INovember 6, 2009

BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 08:  Head Coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide is congratulated by head coach Les Miles of the Louisiana State University Tigers after the Tide defeated the Tigers 27-21 in overtime on November 11, 2008 at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The SEC West will likely be decided in Tuscaloosa on Saturday when Alabama meets LSU. With a win, Alabama will clinch the SEC West and meet Florida in the SEC Championship Game. If LSU wins here they control their destiny to get to Atlanta.

These two teams have played some classics the last two years with the road team winning each time. In fact, the road team has a very good record in the series over the last 28 meetings, winning nearly 70 percent of the time.

And in case you have not heard, Alabama head coach Nick Saban used to coach at LSU. Throw it all in to a pot of gumbo and you have one of the best rivalries in the SEC.

Lets take a look at where I think this game will swing.

1. Can LSU Stop Alabama On First Down?

Alabama’s offense likes to run first, run second, and pass when necessary; that is not by choice. If the Tigers can keep Alabama in 2nd-and-8 or longer then Alabama will have to pass more to get first downs.

I will take this LSU secondary over the Alabama pass offense in obvious pass situations with the way the ‘Bama o-line has protected and Greg McElroy has thrown the ball as of late.

2. Can LSU Run The Ball?

Terrance Cody’s legend grew even larger than the 350ish lb DT has with his two blocked field goals to save the game against Tennessee. LSU has a big body running the ball in Charles Scott, but he needs his offensive line to move Alabama off the ball.

If the Tigers have to depend on Jordan Jefferson passing the ball, it will be a long day for the LSU offense.

3. Who Wins The Turnover Battle?

It sounds like coach speak, but when you have two teams with very equal talent, it levels the difference and can simply come down to turnovers. The past two games in this series have swung on turnovers.

It will come down to Jefferson and McElroy making smart decisions and runners holding onto the ball against fast and physical defenses.


Alabama is coming off a bye week so they should be rested after looking a little sluggish in their previous two games. I think Alabama’s defense will make it very hard for LSU to get more than 21 points in this game.

The Tigers have just as much talent as the Tide on both sides of the ball. But even with the change at defensive coordinator from last season, I still do not feel LSU is performing up to their talent level on defense.

Mark Ingram slowly wears the Tigers down in the fourth quarter to seal the win for Alabama, but LSU covers the 7.5 spread.

Alabama Wins
LSU Covers +7.5