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Tide fans will be geared up for another night game in Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Tagged as the game of the century, top-ranked and undefeated LSU looks to take down divisional rival Alabama to claim the top spot in the SEC West.
Not much hype is needed for this game as all college football fans are interested in its outcome. The winner could end up in the BCS National Championship game and give the SEC a chance to extend their national title run to six straight years.
LSU and Alabama are mirror images of each other. Both teams are highlighted by the best defenses in the nation and play a run-first, pass-as-needed offense. Bama is ranked first in total defense, limiting opponents to 180.50 points per game. LSU has the fourth-ranked defense allowing 251.38.
The key to the game will be either team’s ability to score on the other team’s defense.
Offensively, Alabama holds the edge by producing an average of 457.63 yards per game to LSU’s 372.13. The styles are similar; grind out tough yards with the running game and wear down the opposition’s defense front to control the second half.
Bama quarterback A.J. McCarron leads the SEC in pass completion percentage with an average of 67 percent. Tiger’s quarterback Jarrett Lee is not far behind, completing 63.2 percent of his passes. Bama averages 228.38 passing yards to LSU’s 183.13.
A methodical running attack sets up late game scoring opportunities for both teams. Either team can go three- to four-deep with their rotation in the backfield. The Tide holds an advantage on paper here as well. They average 229.25 rushing yards per game to LSU’s 189.
With two teams so closely matched offensively and defensively, the game could come down to special teams play. This is where LSU separates themselves from Alabama.
LSU averages 41.08 net yards per punt; the Tide averages 36.37. The difference of five yards per punt may not seem like much on paper. But over the course of the game five yards here and there can make a major difference in field position and offensive play calling.
Both teams average 23 yards per kickoff return. LSU has a slight edge with one kickoff returned for a touchdown.
If the game comes down to field goals between Jeremy Shelly of Alabama, and Drew Alleman of LSU, the Tigers get the nod here as well.
Alleman has a long of 44 yards to Shelly’s 37. Both kickers have missed two field goals during the season including one missed attempt from 30-39 yards. Alleman’s other miss was an attempt at over 50 yards. Les Miles must feel that Alleman has the range which could be important in a highly contested game like this one.
LSU is battle-tested, Alabama not so much. The current BCS rankings show LSU has a strength of schedule-rated ninth best in the nation. Bama’s ranking has them tied for 57th best in FBS. Five of the Tiger’s eight games have been against teams ranked at the time of their game.
Only three teams on Alabama’s schedule have been ranked at the time of their game; Penn State, Arkansas, and Florida.
LSU has played three ranked teams on the road this season; Oregon, Mississippi State, and West Virginia. Tuscaloosa at night an environment unlike any other place in college football, but LSU should not be as easily affected as other teams when visiting Bryant-Denny Stadium.
It is hard to pick against a team coached by Nick Saban. Les Miles has a National Championship trophy sitting on his mantle too. Saban just has one more than Miles.
Last Year’s Outcome
LSU 24 – Alabama 21
LSU has found a way to win all of their tough games this season, and win handily. Alabama may have the better coach and the home field advantage, but…
Alabama 17– LSU 20