This Saturday is the start of November football, but November has wasted no time delivering the goods. Georgia and Kentucky clash for the SEC East championship in a top ten matchup, and Michigan squares off with Penn State in the Big House, the Wolverines’ first major test since week one. Although those are two great and extremely important games, they pale in comparison to the crown jewel of college football on Saturday.
Alabama. LSU. Number one. Number three. Death Valley. Prime time. Does anything else need to be said? This heavyweight fight has major SEC and College Football Playoff implications, as a win for Alabama essentially ensures that they will be representing the West in the SEC Championship game and will have a spot in the Playoff. If LSU knocks off the defending the national champions, the Tigers will be in the driver’s seat to reach the SEC Championship and the College Football Playoff. In what is so far the biggest and most important game of the season, let’s find out who will win between Alabama and LSU.
Alabama has been downright unstoppable this season. Their offense has looked otherworldly, as the Tide are averaging 54 points per game. Tua Tagovailoa is the undisputed favorite to win the Heisman Trophy, as he has thrown for 25 touchdowns and zero interceptions. However, two things could trip Alabama up this Saturday. Alabama has not been tested at all this season, with their most formidable opponent being Texas A&M. They have not faced a defense like LSU, who has studs like Grant Delpit, Greedy Williams, and Devin White, who will have to sit out the first half due to a controversial targeting call against Mississippi State. With players like that, Alabama could struggle against the Tigers.
Due to its lack of competition, Alabama has not been in any four-quarter games. In other words, Tua Tagovailoa has not taken a single snap in a fourth quarter this season. Also, Alabama has not had to play in any extremely hostile environments this season. That means that Death Valley at night could be a shock for them. The stadium is going to be as noisy and raucous as ever, which will make it extremely difficult for Alabama to efficiently communicate on offense, especially when they have not had to worry about that at all this season.
Now lets focus on the home team, the third-ranked LSU Tigers. LSU has arguably the most impressive resume in the country, including wins over Miami, Mississippi State, Auburn, and an especially dominant one over Georgia. Their defense is extremely talented, but their offense is not really anything special. After all, they are only averaging about 30 points per game. Joe Burrow has been taking care of the football, but he has only thrown for six touchdowns. LSU simply does not have the same offensive firepower that Alabama does. If this game turns out to be a shootout, LSU may run out of ammo.
This game is going to be a classic. Both the Tide and the Tigers will be looking to earn a huge win under the bright lights. LSU’s defense combined with the Death Valley crowd will slow down Alabama in the first half, making it a close, low-scoring game at the half. However, Alabama’s offense will prove to be too much for LSU down the stretch. Tua will make some big plays and will give his team a two possession lead late in the fourth quarter. Burrow and his offense will have run out of gas by then and will not be able to make the necessary plays to win, giving Alabama a huge win and a crystal clear path to its fifth straight College Football Playoff appearance.