One of the most highly-anticipated games of the season goes down live Saturday night in primetime in as No. 1 Alabama takes on No. 3 LSU in the second half of an SEC on CBS doubleheader. If the Crimson Tide notch the big road win in Death Valley, they will reclaim the SEC West title. A win for the Tigers will give them the SEC West lead heading down the stretch run and shake up the entire college football world as Bama would be knocked from its perch in the College Football Playoff Rankings.
What will happen Saturday night in Death Valley? If history is any indication, the Crimson Tide may walk away with another win. Alabama has won seven straight in the series since its 9-6 overtime loss back in 2011. Bama has not lost in LSU’s home stadium since 2011, taking three straight in Death Valley and four in a row in the state of Louisiana. Let’s break it all down and see if the Tide can cover that two-touchdown spread.
Alabama: The Crimson Tide had a bye week to give quarterback Tua Tagovailoa a little big of extra rest after a nagging injury knocked him out of the Missouri game two weeks ago. The sophomore has tossed 25 touchdowns, zero interceptions and has completed 67.9 percent of his passes with 17 of those touchdowns against SEC teams. Jerry Jeudy, Jaylen Waddle, Henry Ruggs III and DeVonta Smith lead a loaded receiving corps that is playing with as much confidence as any group in the country.
The defense is led by lineman Quinnen Williams — one of the best players in the country. The defense isn’t as dominant as it has been in year’s past, but that’s judged on a bit of a different scale considering what Crimson Tide defenses have done in the past. With that said, the real question is how good they need to be against a one-dimensional LSU offense.
LSU: Linebacker Devin White will miss the first half of this game after a controversial targeting call late in the last game vs. Mississippi State. That will be a huge issue for the Tigers against a Crimson Tide offense that comes out of the gate red hot every single week. With that said, the secondary has been lights out with Greedy Williams, Grant Delpit and Kristian Fulton leading the way.
The offense is the big question here. The running game tandem of Nick Brossette and Clyde Edwards-Helaire has been solid for the Tigers, and are consistently able to salt games away. But quarterback Joe Burrow is the biggest story here. He has to have his best game — by far — for the Tigers to spring the upset.
Game prediction, picks
This game is really simple. It’s quarterback vs. quarterback. White’s absence in the first half will have a huge impact on the game, allow Alabama to put up a few early scores and force LSU into obvious passing situations more times than it wants. Burrow will make a few game-changing mistakes in the face of pressure to turn the biggest game of the year in college football sideways in the second half. Pick: Alabama (-14.5)
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