Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Crimson Crossover: LSU looks to derail Alabama

LSU - 2013

Record: 7-2
Conference Record: 3-2 (SEC Western Division)
Last Game: LSU 48 Furman 16

Alabama - 2013

Record: 8-0
Conference Record: 5-0 (SEC Western Division)
Last Game: Alabama 45 Tennessee 10

History lesson

Series: Alabama leads series 47-25-5 (First meeting in 1895)
Most Recent Meeting: Alabama 21 LSU 17 (2012)

Setting the scene

LSU vs. Alabama
Bryant-Denny Stadium – Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Betting Line: Alabama -12.5 (as of 11/5)

Beat writers of the week

Randy Rosetta - LSU beat writer for The New Orleans Times-Picayune and NOLA.com.

Twitter: @RandyRosetta

Jim Kleinpeter - Sports writer for NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune since 1984.

Twitter: @JimKleinpeter

Follow Randy and Jim via Twitter to get the latest (breaking) news concerning the LSU Tigers as they prepare for Alabama.

LSU on the wire

>>Transcript of LSU coach Les Miles' Monday press conference (Alabama week)

>>LSU prep starts in earnest for Alabama

>>Harris: LSU treks to Alabama for latest test of faith

>>Alabama-LSU tops the national rivalry list

>>Alabama-LSU still big even if it's no 'Game of Century'

The weekly quotable
The Crimson Elephant verdict

In many ways the “verdict” of the 2013 edition of the LSU/Alabama contest feels eerily similar to the 2012 breakdown. During that week, the story was LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger, and his massive underachievement. The “verdict” was that unless the LSU signal caller had a career game, the Tigers had very little chance to beat Alabama.

What transpired?

Mettenberger had the game of his life against the Alabama defense, and LSU fans, for the first time, got a glimpse of the quarterback the Tigers had signed, the quarterback with all the hype, the quarterback with the accurate arm. For the first time, Zach Mettenberger proved his worth.

However, as history records, Mettenberger’s phenomenal effort wasn’t quite good enough, but to the objective eye…it should have been. Alabama pulled out a miraculous final drive, but Mettenberger, by all accounts, couldn’t have given a better performance.
Enter 2013…

Replace “Mettenberger” with “LSU’s defense”…and a new story can be written.

For LSU to defeat the top-ranked Crimson Tide, the defense, weakened by graduation and early player entry into the NFL Draft, will need to pull a “Mettenberger” come Saturday night.

The Tiger defense, a stalwart of the Les Miles era, currently allows 21.3 points per contest. Given Alabama’s offensive output, and the various weapons on the offensive side of the ball, it will be imperative for the Tigers to dissolve the ‘Bama rushing attack, and force AJ McCarron to have an “elite” night in the passing game.

As for the aforementioned Mettenberger, he’ll need to be accurate in the passing game, but he’ll also need help from his supporting cast. Wide receivers Odell Beckham, Jr., and Jarvis Landry, coupled with running back Jeremy Hill, will be the backbone of the offense. Alabama only allows 9.8 points per game, No. 1 in the nation in that category. To say the Tigers have a challenge on offense is quite the understatement.
As is the case in most “hype machine” games, expect emotion to control the early stages of the contest. Cursory logic suggests the actual game won’t even begin, in full, until the latter stages of the first quarter.

When throwing darts at the board in terms of making a prediction, the most simplistic concept always comes to mind; the better team usually wins. Alabama, by all accounts, is the better team.

LSU, at least this season, simply doesn't have all the pieces in place to go blow-for-blow with Alabama.

Barring something totally unforeseen, expect the Crimson Tide to slowly grind the game away, and in the process, defeat the LSU Tigers by double figures.

Alabama 27
LSU 13

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