Alabama at LSU Preview

By Patrick Schmidt
Derick Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

Alabama travels to LSU Saturday night to take on the only team to beat them last season when LSU was victorious in a 9-6 overtime win in a game that has been dubbed as the game of the century.

The best home field advantage is in Death Valley. LSU owns the longest home winning streak in the nation that currently sits at 22 games, and Les Miles has had success against Alabama in his tenure in Baton Rouge with a 5-3 record against the Crimson Tide.

His most recent win came when LSU won the meeting between the two SEC powers in the regular season, but that was in large part because Alabama was 2/6 on field goal attempts more than what LSU was able to do on offense.

The last time these two met on the field was in the BCS National Championship Game–to the ire of many outside SEC country–that was won in a dominant fashion by Nick Saban’s Alabama team 21-0 in a game that was predicated on a ferocious Crimson Tide defense that held LSU to a total of 92 yards.

Alabama looked dominant last week in dispatching previously unbeaten Mississippi State, while LSU was on their bye week drawing up a game plan to beat the unanimous top team in the nation.

The last two games in this series has seen a total of one touchdown scored, so defense figures to yet again be the theme when the two toe off on Saturday night.

Owners of the top ranked defense in the nation, Alabama will continue their success in stifling the LSU offense that ranks 74th in the nation and lack the necessary playmakers to give Alabama any headaches.

For LSU to have a chance to at beating Alabama for the second year in a row at home they need a heroic performance form their defense that ranks ninth in the nation in points per game (14.6), and is more than capable of stifling AJ McCarron and the Tide offense.

John David Mercer-US PRESSWIRE

Eric Reid made one of the plays of the year last season by intercepting a McCarron pass on the goal line. Reid’s presence on the field will be to line up near the line of scrimmage and try to stop the ground game of Alabama and win first down to set up difficult third down conversions.

Winning first down will allow the LSU front four led by Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo to pin their ears back and rush McCarron with reckless abandon and rattle the quarterback that has yet to throw an interception all season.

Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Winning the field position game and creating short fields for a pedestrian offense to is the only hope for LSU.  A touchdown on defensive or special teams would go a long way in the upset bid and if that happens then the crowd will be beyond raucous and could tilt the field in the favor of the home team.

However, despite last year’s win over Alabama, the Tide still has won 16 of the previous 21 games at Death Valley, so they won’t be fazed by the home crowd.

A win Saturday and Alabama essentially can punch their ticket to the SEC championship game while LSU will have their hopes of a conference title and national title appearance dashed.

The two will not have a rematch later this season, so all the chips will be on the table when two of the best in the country kickoff under the lights and in front of a passionate fan base.

My prediction:  LSU gives Alabama their scare of the season, but fall just short and lose 24-16.

Follow me on Twitter @PatrickASchmidt

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