Alabama will need to come out swinging in New Orleans on Jan. 9th.
And so it is written.
Alabama held on to the No. 2 spot in the BCS standings, earning the right to travel to New Orleans to face off against LSU in a heavily-discussed rematch for it all, including redemption.
In a game where Alabama showed that it could move the ball against a great LSU defense, there were definitely some plays and factors that just didn't go the Tide's way.
Whether it be the questionable interception by Eric Reid or the four missed field goals by Alabama's kickers, there are five things that Alabama needs to focus on to ensure a 14th national championship.
Cade Foster had a rough time in the first game. Look for him to redeem himself on Jan. 9th.
No surprise here.
It was special teams that seemed to be the Tide's bane on November 5th. Whether Saban should have attempted them or not, four missed field goals just doesn't sit right with Foster and Shelley.
Will they look to make a statement or fold under the pressure of trying to avoid a repeat disaster?
The kickers aren't the only ones who should be targeted for improvement though. The kickoff cover team allowed the first-ever return for a touchdown in the history of the Iron Bowl last Saturday.
They need to step it up if they want to stop Tyrann Mathieu from having a game-changing moment, especially after those two amazing returns against Georgia in the SEC Championship.
Trent tends to keep his balance against would-be tacklers.
The Tide offense must gain an edge by keeping the LSU defense guessing. This will allow the running lanes to open up for Richardson and give the receivers room for big yards.
In order to do this, Alabama cannot allow room for error on the big-money plays.
The only way to kill a Bengal Tiger is a bullet from AJ McCarron straight into the heart of the end zone (or a runaway train of Richardson leading the way with four LSU stowaways along for the ride).
Either way, the key will be keeping LSU's defense on its toes.
Robert Lester brings back unwanted memories for Jarrett Lee.
Both teams had two interceptions in the first matchup. Winning this battle is crucial this time.
AJ McCarron will need to know when to throw and when not to throw.
A misjudged pass last time led to a Morris Claiborne interception and three points for the Tigers. A Marquis Maze pass to Michael Williams led to a controversial interception call that took away what could have been a later touchdown.
The winner of this battle comes away with the victory more often than not.
Jordan Jefferson has shown he's not easy to take down, at least when he's expecting a hit.
It's no secret that the Tide have been lacking on blitzes and sacks this season...
...Yet they are still the No. 1 defense in the country. That is scary.
In order to prevent Jordan Jefferson from throwing that bomb to Russell Shepard again—the one that set up LSU for their first field goal—Kirby Smart will need to unleash the hounds on Jefferson.
Alabama almost seemed to be playing it safe last time on defense, which allowed Jefferson time in the pocket.
Courtney Upshaw and Dont'a Hightower are hurting to put a hurting on Jefferson.
Michael Ford almost scores on an option in OT.
If there is any category the Alabama defense doesn't dominate, it's definitely the option.
Even against an FCS Georgia Southern team, 'Bama's defense had some frustration against the triple option.
On the second offensive play for LSU in overtime, Jefferson pitched the option to Michael Ford, who ran 15 yards and stepped out of bounds seven yards shy of what would have been a game-winning touchdown. However, it did lead to the game-winning field goal three plays later.
The Tide have a little over a month to figure out how they plan on strengthening their weakness against Jefferson and the option.
For championship's sake, let's hope they do.