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LSU vs Alabama SEC Football Showdown

11/7/09

This grudge match between Alabama and LSU should be the game that decides who will represent the Western Division in the SEC Championship game in Atlanta. In the Crimson and White corner we have the undefeated champion the Alabama Crimson Tide at 8-0 on the year and 5-0 in the SEC. This team led by Coach Nick Saban might not win any beauty contests, but they get the job done. They are undefeated on the year and the main reason for that is their defense. This Crimson Tide defense is as good as it gets, and they are a nightmare for any offensive coordinator to scheme against.

Nick Saban is a hardnosed defensive minded coach, and it shows thru his players. They are on a mission to get back to Atlanta, and get even with the Florida Gators, but first they have to get past their game this weekend against the challenger in the opposite corner the LSU Tigers. This LSU team is very similar to Alabama. They are not a team that wins games with style, but they get the job done. Their lone loss came to the #1 team in the country the Florida Gators. They showed a lot of heart in that game against Florida, but was unable to make the plays on offense and lost 13-3.

Since that loss this LSU team has looked very good with a 31-10 victory over Auburn and a 42-0 victory over Tulane. More importantly it seems like their offense is slowly starting to find their rhythm, but they are about to get the acid test against this Alabama defense.

PRIMETIME MATCHUP


Both Alabama and LSUs Achilles heel this year has been their offensive production. Both teams have had to rely on great defense to win ball games this year, but both of them cannot do that this week and get the win. Whichever team is able to get things going offensively and be most effective is going to win this game.

In Alabamas last 3 games their offense has almost been nonexistent. In their 22-3 victory over Ole Miss Alabama didnt have one offensive touchdown, and in their 12-10 victory over Tennessee last week they had to rely on kicker Leigh Tiffin to kick 4 FGs to get the win. This Alabama offense can only rely on their defense so many times to win games for them before it ends up coming back to haunt them. RB Mark Ingram will be the key for this Alabama offense if they are going to get things going. He is going to need another Heisman performance like he had against South Carolina to make up for the lack of a passing game. If he is able to have a big day he could give the Alabama defense all the cushion they need to get the win.

Coming into the year it was assumed that QB Jordan Jefferson would continue to get better after coming in the last few games last year and performing well, but that has not been the case. He has struggled getting things going for most of the year, but in their last two games he has started to get things going. Against Auburn Jefferson went 21/31 for 232 yards and 2 TD. This LSU offense doesnt need a huge performance from Jefferson, but they just need him to make the big play when they need it, and to not make crucial mistakes, because whichever offense is able to do that will get the win Saturday.

THE FINAL VERDICT

If you like games with a lot of offense, points, and flash then this isnt the game for you. This game will be a hard hitting smash mouth football game. Both these offenses like to establish the run first to open things up, and both teams have QBs in Greg McElroy and Jordan Jefferson that have not lived up to their expectations as of yet.

Both teams should be able to establish the run enough to give their QBs opportunities to move the ball down the field, but the question will be which QB will be able to make those plays when their team needs them to. The X Factor that is going to play a big role in this game is RB Mark Ingram. He is going to be McElroys best friend this Saturday if he can have the success he has had all year moving the chains.

We expect Ingram to get things going early against this LSU defense, and make life as easy as possible for McElroy. Ingram should put them in a situation to get an early lead and we have seen how difficult it is to beat this Alabama defense when they get an early lead.

The last 4 in this series have been close. There's really no reason to expect anything but another close game. Both teams have put up some fantastic numbers this year, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. Likewise, we find  them both at the top of the turnover margin category. We make this game dead even on a neutral field. So the correct line all depends on how much you're willing to give the Tide for home field advantage. Home field in college ball ranges anywhere from 0 to 7 or 8 points depending on the team. It's safe to say Alabama's home field is worth more than the standard field goal, but less than a TD. Therefore, just one way to look here for us. LSU +7.5
 


 

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