TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — We’re just a few days away from another epic showdown between Alabama and LSU.
The top-ranked Crimson Tide travel to Baton Rouge to square off with the fourth-ranked Tigers on Saturday inside Death Valley. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.
Here are some bold predictions for the game.
Tua Tagovailoa will have his Heisman moment
After Tagovailoa’s performance in the national championship game, expectations were incredibly high. He has somehow exceeded them.
Tagovailoa has thrown for 25 touchdowns to zero interceptions.
He is authoring one of the top passing seasons in UA history. The sophomore leads the nation in pass efficiency, yards per completion and yards per attempt. His 25 touchdown passes rank No. 4 on the Alabama single-season list, and he is already No. 5 on the Tide career touchdown pass list with 36 in 17 career games. In eight games this season, Tagovailoa has completed 107 of 152 passes for 2,006 yards and has an efficiency rating of 238.84.
We talk a lot about a player having a Heisman moment. What better way for Tagovailoa to lock up the trophy than in a top-five matchup with the world watching.
LSU won’t keep the score under 20 points
It kind of feels like we’re all overthinking this one. Everyone wants Alabama to have a “tough” test so bad that we end up talking ourselves into believing a team actually has a chance.
LSU’s offense is too pedestrian to keep up with Alabama’s offense. That’s pretty clear.
For LSU to win this game, they would need to become a completely different offense and have Alabama’s offense just not show up. Neither is likely.
Alabama receivers will win the battle against LSU’s secondary
LSU’s secondary is full of NFL talent, including a couple of potential first-round picks. The Tigers claim to be “DBU,” but look for Alabama’s wide receivers to win the battle against the Tigers secondary on Saturday, especially if DeVonta Smith (hamstring) is healthy.
If he were draft eligible, Jerry Jeudy would be mentioned among the top receiver prospects for the 2019 class. He’s that good and that explosive.
Smith and Henry Ruggs III are elite-level athletes who thrive at making defenders miss in space for big plays. Then there’s freshman phenom Jaylen Waddle, who might be the most electric player on the team. Waddle is so quick and explosive that it’s tough for defenders to get a hand on him.
LSU will try to play some man-to-man coverage against Alabama’s wide receivers, so expect Tagovailoa to be on point with his throws and for Alabama’s wideouts to have a big day.
Alabama’s offensive line will have its best game to date
Nick Saban said something interesting during his Monday press conference when asked about Alabama’s offensive line: “I think that it’s going to be a challenge in this game to get movement.”
While slight, that felt like a direct challenge to the O-line. Saban knows that the guys up front are the key to this game. They must protect Tagovailoa and create running lanes for the backs. So him putting out that challenge makes a lot of sense. Alabama’s offensive line will surely respond.
Joe Burrow will throw multiple interceptions
Alabama’s entire defense will be flying around on Saturday, which will force LSU quarterback Joe Burrow into some mistakes.
Alabama has intercepted 12 passes this year and returned 4 for touchdowns. Both of those numbers should go up on Saturday as the defense looks to make a statement.
LSU’s offense is average at best, and while Burrow has done some nice things, he’s not ready for what Alabama is going to do.