Posted on November 1, 2017, by Travis Pulver
A few weeks ago, LSU fans were ready to pull the plug on the Ed Orgeron Era. They were not crazy about getting destroyed by Mississippi State, but the loss to Troy was more than they could handle. But then the following week the team took down a ranked Florida team. The week after that they took down No. 10 Auburn.
Suddenly, the Tigers were no longer doomed. There was hope. Maybe not for a CFB spot, but they could certainly make some noise. If things work out, perhaps they could become the first two-loss team to make the playoffs.
Of course, for that to happen, they would need one heck of an impressive win to convince the committee they’re worthy. You know, like a victory over the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide.
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From Alabama’s point of view, they’ve bull-dozed their way through the schedule so far. But when you look at who they’ve dominated, their record becomes less impressive. Texas A&M had the best shot of beating them, but they were not nearly as close as the score would indicate.
As a result, while they’ve been No. 1 in the AP and Coaches Poll the CFB Playoff Committee bumped them down to No. 2 (and made Georgia No. 1). That may seem like no big deal, but it all it would take to knock them out of the top four would be a single loss.
LSU may have already lost two games and be ranked much higher (No. 19), but the Tigers are no joke. Mississippi State is not going to be easy, and Auburn is going to be quite a challenge as well.
Alabama has looked the part of a playoff-worthy team. It appears they will now get the chance to prove they deserve to be one.
But can they? Or will the Tigers pull off the upset? Who’s going to win this one?
It seems strange to say, but if it comes down to the passing game, LSU has the advantage. Danny Etling is not a great quarterback by any means (93-155 for 1452 yards, nine touchdowns, and one interception). But he doesn’t make many mistakes.
However, while their skillset is similar when it comes to passing, Jalen Hurts brings something to the game that Etling doesn’t. He’s also a running threat (84 carries for 572 yards). So, if the pass rush doesn’t contain him, they risk him breaking off a big run whenever they flush him out of the pocket.
When it isn’t Hurts running through the heart of the LSU defense, it will be either Damien Harris (81 carries, 697 yards), Bo Scarbrough (81 carries, 377 yards) or Najee Harris (49 carries, 282 yards) looking to do the same.
LSU’s defense is okay at stopping the run (No. 47 in the nation; 145.8 yards/game allowed), but they aren’t great. To stop the Alabama run game, they are going to need to figure out how to step it up a notch.
It would help if they could get their own run game on track. While it is not as prolific as Alabama’s, it is pretty good. Derrius Guice (124 carries, 711 yards) is a tough runner that is just as likely to run you over as make you miss. Darrell Williams isn’t bad either (101 carries, 476 yards).
But Alabama’s defense is the best in the country in total yards allowed (236 yards/game), rushing yards allowed(66.4 yards/game), and points allowed (9.8 points/game).
An argument could be made for LSU based on the quality of competition Alabama has played. Had the Tigers played the same schedule, the would probably be undefeated as well. The subsequent stats would probably make them look as dominant as Alabama is perceived.
But while LSU’s offense is good, Alabama’s is better. While LSU’s defense is good, Alabama’s is better. However, Alabama is favored by 21.5 points so take the Tigers and the points.