LSU and Alabama have separated themselves as the two best football teams in the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Traditionally, there have been two keys to success in football: Running the ball and Stopping the run. In a world where teams run spread offenses and neglect to put forth proper effort in their defense, these teams are stuck in the days of the Steel Curtain and the '85 Bears. However, both teams have their own unique way of doing this.
Alabama relies on their big, strong horses to do all the work. The 5-11 224 pound Trent Richardson is the every down back, heisman finalist, and Doak Walker Award winner. With over 1800 yards from scrimmage and 23 toucdowns, he has helped fans to forget all about the loss of Mark Ingram. On defense, they have a number of physical players that contribute to a bone-crushing scheme. 6-1 310 Josh Chapman at DT. 6-2 263 Courtney Upshaw at DE. 6-3 245 Nico Johnson at OLB. 6-4 260 Dont'a Hightower at MLB. 6-3 190 Dre Kirkpatrick at CB. 6-2 215 Mark Barron and 6-2 210 Robert Lester at Safety. These NFL prospects all play a significant role in an Alabama defense that is number 1 in the NCAA in points allowed per game (8.8) and yards allowed per game (252.1)
LSU, on the other hand, is less conventional. They run an option offense that features up to 5 different running backs over the course of a game. Stats show no real star power, only the untapped potential of Jordan Jefferson and Rueben Randle. On defense, however, they are led by the two best defensive backs in the nation. The better pro prospect, 6-0 180 Morris Claiborne, is a shutdown corner and a lock for the Top 5 in the upcoming NFL draft. He's got 6 interceptions so far this year, including a critical one in the last matchup against theCrimson Tide. The more explosive player, 5-9 180 Tyrann Mathieu, is a dynamic playmaker who has made his name by scoring touchdowns that create huge momentum shifts. Oregon, Arkansas, and Georgia all fell prey to the "Honey Badger".
In the first game against the Tigers, Alabama dominated throughout. They controlled the ball, they won the field position battle, and they flat-out outplayed LSU for the entirety of regulation. However, a few key plays lost them the game: 4 Missed Field Goals between the two Alabama kickers, and a ball lost by the Alabama TE on the 1 yard line. This time around, I do not expect these same mistakes to occur. During Les Miles' tenure at LSU, he has always been considered somewhat incompetent. Most notably, fans have mocked him with signs saying "Les is Less." The same cannot be said about Nick Saban. He's coached at both schools, and won national titles with both. I have no doubt in my mind that he will not allow his players to lose to the same team twice. Those who do, should take a short trip down memory lane and remember what he did to Tim Tebow's Florida Gators in 2009. (After losing in 2008)
Crimson Tide: 20 Tigers: 10