No. 9 LSU Tigers (7-1, 4-2-2 ATS) at No. 3 Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0, 5-3 ATS) Bryant-Denny Tuscaloosa, A.L. Stadium November 7th, 3:30PM Eastern
By Jay Horne of Predictem.com
Point Spread: LSU +9/Alabama -9
The no. 3 Alabama Crimson Tide had the past week off and as you can imagine that just made the anticipation for this week’s huge match-up with the no. 9 LSU Tigers go completely through the roof. In reality, this week’s game between Alabama and LSU has everything on the line for both teams. LSU has the chance to derail Alabama’s chance at their 2nd straight perfect regular season and also move ahead of them in the SEC West.
The Crimson Tide is undefeated and LSU stands at 7-1 on the season. However, even with Alabama being undefeated a loss to LSU this weekend would put the Tigers in control of making it to the SEC Championship as they would be tied with Alabama in the standing but hold the head to head tie breaker in the SEC West. Of course Alabama has National Championship dreams alive as well, but a loss this week would devastate hopes of both opportunities.
The LSU Tigers path to a strong 7-1 start has looked ugly at times, but they remain one of the top teams in the country. Outside of a 10 point loss to Florida, LSU would be right with Alabama on the pursuit of perfection. The Tigers have struggled against some inferior teams this season, but have bounced back to find some confidence outscoring opponents in their previous two games 73-10. The Crimson Tide defense will put a lot of pressure on LSU QB Jordan Jefferson this week, but Jefferson has handled himself well this season with 11 scores and 4 picks. Ball control will be critical in the game and Jefferson must manage the game well for the Tigers.
Jefferson has some of the most talented wide outs in the conference to target in players like Terrance Toliver and Brandon LaFell. However the Crimson Tide defense gets in the backfield so fast, the Tigers may pass the ball on more of a need than want basis. A key factor for the LSU offense will be running back Charles Scott. Scott is not having the season LSU would have predicted with just 459 yards and 4 touchdowns, but if he can have a big day Saturday it will maximize the Tigers’ chances of winning. The Tigers defense is plenty strong enough to keep the Tigers in the game. The question is who will step up and find away to foil the Crimson Tide defense which is a task that has yet to have been accomplished.
Alabama as stated before just has a brutal defense. The Crimson Tide rank 4th in the America holding teams to just 240 total yards per game. The defensive front is the best of the bunch ranking 2nd in rush defense holding opponents to just 65 yards per game and at the same time those guys have wreaked havoc in opposing backfield. The Crimson Tide are averaging right at 3 sacks per game, but even more affective than the sacks is the pressure those guys up front inflict on opposing quarterbacks. We have consistently seen the Alabama defense cause SEC quarterbacks to have their worse performances of the year and that is exactly what they will try to do with Jefferson this Saturday.
Leading the offense, is the new Heisman Trophy candidate in running back Mark Ingram. Ingram has been outstanding to say the very least. Ingram led the SEC in rushing heading into the off week with 1,004 yards in just 8 games on the season averaging a lucrative 6.6 yards per carry. The Alabama running back is dominating SEC defenses in a way that many thought was impossible. Ingram is not exactly breaking away big plays on speed, but is running through tackles and refusing to go down.
Alabama will ride their star running back this Saturday and give him the chance to win it for the offense. QB Greg McElroy has been cold over the past few weeks but still has 9 touchdowns to just 3 picks on the season. The passing game has not been nearly as effective in recent weeks and if they ever get things firing again it will be bad news for the rest of the nation. Especially with the likes of WR Julio Jones who may be one of the most under rated sophomore receivers in college football.
Jay’s Pick - Alabama -9