Tuesday, October 30, 2012

UA/LSU: Numerical soup with a dash of domination

In advance of a highly anticipated game, many people take the statistical viewpoint in order to “move the pile” and select which team will prevail.

Given the status of the Alabama/LSU contest, and what it will mean to the national title picture, Alabama beat writer Don Kausler Jr. has jumped on the stats wagon.

Kausler, using national team statistics, has comparison charts of LSU/Alabama today, LSU/Alabama prior to the 2011 regular season match-up, and LSU/Alabama prior to the national title clash. The obvious logic and "goal" is to illustrate which team had the statistical edge, and when.

While numerous stat charts are good for comparing the teams, a chart can’t breathe life into a plastic dummy. Both so-called experts and fans have expressed that with just days leading up to the 2012 regular season contest, the “hype” of yet another Alabama/LSU game, is simply not in the air. On the surface, one can’t help but agree.

By all measures, Alabama is a better football team, overall, than LSU. While not decisively better, the Tide have the edge. The Tigers had lofty expectations this season, and while the team is still very good, most pundits assumed LSU would be undefeated at this stage, and more impressive on the offensive side of the football. One could argue that Zach Mettenberger, to this point, is essentially Jordan Jefferson without the mobility. The supposed “savior” of the offense has been very erratic, and has certainly not lived up to the hype.

As a team, LSU struggled to defeat arguably the worst Auburn squad in 60 years, while also falling at Florida, then being taken to the wire by South Carolina, and late into the second half by Texas A&M. Although Florida is the only blemish on the schedule, the Tigers could just as easily have the burden of carrying a total of four losses into the month of November.

As Saturday’s showdown approaches, ‘Bama is favored by just over nine points. On the surface, the margin is a simple product of two things. One being Alabama’s domination thus far in 2012, and the other being LSU’s inconsistency and struggles. For the obvious examples in respect to the Tigers, enter the aforementioned Zach Mettenberger and the documented “close calls” over the last 40 days.

Right now, the only team in college football that can beat Alabama…is Alabama. The Crimson Tide take the field each and every Saturday to compete against themselves, by playing to a standard that is currently unmatched in college football. If the standard-bearers of 2012 invade Tiger Stadium on Saturday night, LSU will essentially have no other option than to admire Alabama’s triumph.

>>>2012 LSU Offensive Statistical Leaders<<<

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