The mega-matchup between No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama is inching closer and closer, and with just a few days left before college football’s latest “Game of the Century,” everyone is trying to figure out who holds the edge in the big SEC showdown.
On Saturday, we’ll get a chance to see two of the most talented defenses in recent college football history battle for superiority in Tuscaloosa, with national title hopes hanging in the balance.
Both Alabama’s and LSU’s defenses rank in the top five nationally in both total defense and scoring defense, and they’re both loaded with future pro players on all three levels.
Obviously, it’s going to be a tough challenge for either offense to move the ball with any type of consistency, which means it’s going to be the play at quarterback that will likely separate the winner from the loser. Since both running games will likely be kept largely in check, whichever team gets the more efficient and mistake-free game out of football’s most important position will likely prevail.
On paper, LSU would seem to hold the edge with more experience and versatility with the two quarterback-system of seniors Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson.
Even though the Tigers passing attack can’t exactly be considered explosive, Lee and Jefferson have combined to complete 62 percent of their passes, and they only have one interception between the two them.
Lee has been the ultimate game-manager this season, as he’s guided the LSU offense to success without making any costly mistakes, while Jefferson has returned from his early-season suspension and added a dangerous rushing element to the backfield
For Alabama, it’s all about first-year starter A.J. McCarron.
The redshirt sophomore has stepped in and taken over for Greg McElroy, and so far, he hasn’t missed a beat.
McCarron has gone from preseason question mark to offensive leader in the span of just eight games, and he’s played well in hostile environments at Penn State and Florida.
Still, we haven’t seen McCarron have to perform at a high level in a crucial late-game situation yet.
How will the young sophomore fare if he finds himself down late, needing to put together a fourth-quarter winning drive against the tenacious LSU defense?
Will he fold or step up and face the pressure?
We still don’t know yet.
McCarron has all the talent in the world to be one of the top-tier quarterbacks in college football, but he just hasn’t gotten the chance to prove himself in crunch time yet.
You have to appreciate McCarron’s consistency this season, as he’s completed 67 percent of his passes and only tossed three interceptions, but this weekend’s game will show us what he’s really made of.
On paper, you have to give LSU the edge at the quarterback position, but McCarron will have a a great opportunity to prove that he’s ready for the spotlight, and he’s got the type of talent to lead the Tide past the Tigers if he plays up to his potential and keeps the mistakes to a minimum.