ESPN College Gameday 2018: Week 10 Schedule, Location, Predictions and MoreNovember 2, 2018
ESPN College GameDay predictably sticks in the SEC for a Week 10 showdown with the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide visiting the No. 3 LSU Tigers.
A week after watching Georgia derail Florida's season in Jacksonville, Baton Rouge plays host to the most popular pregame show in the land and a bitter SEC rivalry with season-long implications.
LSU enters with one loss on the record and a star linebacker out for the first half, yet it also has the power of Death Valley behind it—making for the toughest test of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa's career to date.
As they say, something has to give when these two get together. Here is everything to know about the matchup.
College GameDay Week 10 Info
Date: Saturday, November 3
Time (ET): 9 a.m. to noon; game is at 8 p.m.
Location: Tiger Stadium
At home or not, the Tigers sit as massive underdogs in this one.
Blame oddsmakers, not the messenger. According to OddsShark, Alabama enters hostile territory favored by 14.5 points.
LSU partially has itself to blame. While Ed Orgeron's team has picked up wins over three ranked opponents so far, including a pair of top-10 teams at the time, it also dropped a 27-19 decision to then-No. 22 Florida at the start of October.
There, quarterback Joe Burrow could only muster a 19-of-34 line with 192 yards and two interceptions while his ground game carried it 41 times and scored twice. To date, the junior only has six passing scores and three interceptions while completing 53.8 percent of his passes, something capable defenses can exploit.
Speaking of capable defenses, an elite LSU unit will be without star linebacker Devin White for the first half after officials hit him with a targeting flag against Mississippi State last time out. An appeal process fell short.
"Discussions with the SEC made clear there is no process for appeal," LSU senior associate athletic director Robert Munson said, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune's Brody Miller. "The suspension will stand."
It's a shame, as White would probably be the best outright player on the field Saturday night and LSU has everything riding on the outcome of the game:
Alabama certainly has the offensive firepower to exploit White's absence.
Tagovailoa has swept the nation because he has completed 70.4 percent of his passes with 25 touchdowns and no interceptions thus far, and he's also rushed for 123 yards and two scores.
His ground game has attempted 332 rushes to his 152 pass attempts, drumming up 1,735 yards and 21 scores on a 5.2 per-carry average in the process.
Tagovailoa has big names paying attention, to say the least:
The result? A whopping 39 or more points in every game, going over the 50-point mark six times. This includes last time out, where the Crimson Tide dropped 58 points in a road blowout of Tennessee.
What gets lost in the conversation about Alabama while the focus shines on the offense is the typical Nick Saban-led defense. To date, the unit has allowed north of 20 points just three times and more than 23 points just once.
Provided the Crimson Tide can shake off the hostile environment, the defense alone has the talent to meet the LSU offense's strength head on and win.
A two-touchdown spread is simply too much here.
Rivalry encounters usually end up much closer than that, and this one should be no exception. Loss on the record or not, LSU is at home, has played a brutal schedule and looked good doing so and still seems specifically engineered to beat Alabama.
And while Tagovailoa has impressed most, it is important to keep in mind the Crimson Tide have played one ranked team all year and none of the teams they have whipped holds a record better than 5-3.
Which isn't to say Alabama won't come out ahead. But this is the biggest test of Tagovailoa's season, both in terms of quality of competition and the environment himself.
When Alabama squeaks out a win, it could be more because of superb defense and the ground game exploiting the absence of White early before sitting on the ball the rest of the way.
Prediction: Alabama 23, LSU 20