St. Charles Herald-Guide

LSU vs. Bama is usually a classic

By Mike Detillier - November 8, 2013

When LSU takes on Alabama on Saturday night, many fans will see exactly why college football is so popular today.

Most people think the square-off between LSU’s Les Miles and Alabama’s Nick Saban has been decidedly in Saban’s corner due to the fact that Alabama blew out LSU in the 2012 BCS National Championship game by a 21-0 score.

However, the series in the six regular season games is even with three wins for Miles and three wins for Saban. The total margin of victory in those six games is 32 points, which means that each game is settled by less than a touchdown.

Expect the same on Saturday night in Tuscaloosa.This game not only has SEC ramifications, but national championship ramifications because if LSU upsets Alabama the SEC will most likely be shut out of defending the BCS National Championship for the first time in almost 10 years.With an undefeated Ohio State, Oregon and Florida State in the mix, a once-beaten Alabama would not play in a game to defend their national championship crown.

For LSU, they are playing with football house money. They have nothing to lose and very few people think they have a chance to win.

I think the Tigers have a shot to take down Alabama. The Tide has not faced a team with this many skilled athletes on the offensive side of the ball this season other than Texas A&M, and they almost lost that game.

For LSU to win, quarterback Zach Mettenberger will have to not only play good, but great. In order to do that he will have to connect early and often with Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry - the best wide receiver tandem in college football. Mettenberger can also hand it off to Jeremy Hill, who is the second-best running back in the SEC.The main issue is if LSU’s defense can slow down Alabama’s rushing attack.That attack is the Tide’s bread and butter this season and is responsible for their success on offense. I take nothing away from Tide quarterback A.J. McCarron, because without him Alabama does not win back-to-back national championships, but Nick Saban has old-school values on offense and has a firm commitment to running the ball to set up his passing game.

LSU has to play strong in run defense and that means tackling well, taking good angles of pursuit and playing strong right up the middle at defensive tackle, middle linebacker and strong safety.

Those issues have been in play all season long for a Tiger defense that saw a vast majority of its talent hit the NFL circuit after the 2012 season.

But it is Alabama week and you can expect the unexpected.

Mike Detllier
Mike Detllier