Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Location: New Orleans, La.
Projected Line: LSU-2.5
Alabama (11-1, 7-1 SEC) vs. LSU (13-0, 8-0 SEC)
Mutual Opponent(s): Uh uh...go check it for yourself...
The first field-goal fest should have been won by Alabama, but LSU finds ways to win. Most of the "ways" derive from their defense. They make plays when they need to, and this is easily the best defense in all of college football.
Trent Richardson had more success than any other back this season against the Tigers defense, rushing for 89 yards on 23 attempts.
Both teams are decent (not great) at the quarterback position, but LSU seems to manufacture some big plays by keeping teams off-balance.
I admit that the SEC is the best conference in college football. I admit that these are probably the two best teams in college football. That doesn't mean I have to like it. Who wants a rematch in the National Championship anyway (I mean, outside of the SEC and ESPN circles)? Besides, the last matchup was like watching paint dry. If that was the "game of the century," then I'm done watching college football.
The bigger problem I have with this rematch is that we knew it was going to happen last week. Not even a Georgia upset would have changed the outcome. This defacto SEC stuff where they're ranked higher in the preseason polls shouldn't exist. Well, preseason polls shouldn't exist at all. The SEC also seems to get favoritism when they share the same record with other BCS schools.
I know they've won what, five or six in a row? That doesn't mean they should be a National Championship automatic qualifier. We put all this weight into the conference power.
I have news for you. Tennessee is way down, Kentucky is worse than ever, Auburn—last year's national champion—is decimated, Mississippi State is down, Ole Miss is terrible and the SEC is still using their in-conference schedule strength as an excuse to play nobody out of conference. I can admit the SEC is the strongest conference in football and still disagree with all the luxuries that title affords the conference.
Folks, we need a playoff.
That said, I'll watch the game.
Instead of breaking down the out of conference resume's to substantiate my argument, I'll get back to the SEC Championship game. I mean the National Championship game.
Outside of playing each other, LSU and Alabama have been dominant. The key to success has been both teams strangleholds in recruiting the south. They benefit from downtrends in recruiting and success from teams like Tennessee, Miami, and Florida State. Even Georgia isn't getting the same recruits they used to because of the Tigers and Tide's recent success.
What sets these two teams apart is their size, speed and athleticism on the defensive side of the football. These teams are No. 1 and No. 2 in total defense in the FBS.
Trent Richardson is the AP SEC player of the year.
Donte Hightower is a mammoth, athletic LB, and Dre Kirkpatrick is a ball hawk that loves to run sideline to sideline. Both of these teams run to the football and gang tackle. That's why you won't see many big plays in this game, or the last one for that matter.
Marquis Maze is a shifty little receiver that averages 12.4 on punt returns and 28.5 on kickoff returns.
LSU has a similar threat in Tryann Mattieu.
The last game proved that these offenses aren't quite up to the standard of these teams' defenses. That means that field position, turnovers, special teams and unpredictability will play a huge role. I'll call for LSU to have an advantage in most of those areas.
Prediction: Alabama 17-LSU 21