The Alabama Crimson Tide and LSU Tigers square up on Saturday night at Tiger Stadium under the lights. In a typical season, Death Valley is an intimidating place to go and play at night. The atmosphere for night games at LSU is tough to match in college football, and even in a down season for the Tigers, it would have helped to have a full crowd for this one. LSU are coming off a National Championship last season. Going into this season, I think a lot of people regarded them too highly. They were living off the reputation of the 2019 team.
Losing a quarterback like Joe Burrow is going to hurt, and we’ve certainly seen that on full display for the Tigers. It’s not only the player missing from the championship team, which steamrolled through the competition. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who is currently the starting running back of the Chiefs, is gone from the Tigers. Edwards-Helaire was often overlooked because of what Burrow was accomplishing, but he made everything work for LSU. Defenses were forced to defend Burrow and Edwards-Helaire.
That’s just scratching the surface regarding the players that LSU lost last season. We can go through their defense regarding players that helped win them a National Championship that are no longer around. However, it was the offense that dominated for LSU and put them atop the college football world. I can’t forget about wide receiver Justin Jefferson who played a big role in getting LSU over the top offensively. It was just about impossible for any defense to counter what they had offensively.
The Tigers are coming off a 20-7 loss against the Texas A&M Aggies. They fought hard to keep that game within striking distance, but Texas A&M had a 20-0 lead going into the fourth quarter, and mounting a comeback was too hard at that point. It was the worst offensive performance of the season for LSU. Unfortunately, the Myles Brennan injury really took the wind out of the Tigers’ offense. They like what they have in freshman TJ Finley, though, and we’re going to get a look at him against Alabama on Saturday night. Max Johnson and Finley should both see action against Alabama in this one. Head below for our free Alabama vs. LSU pick for December 5, 2020.
Alabama Crimson Tide vs. LSU Tigers NCAAF Betting Odds:
Alabama vs. LSU Prediction:
Alabama will have two quarterbacks to prepare for in this game. With Myles Brennan injured and missing from action since October 10, LSU has been experimenting with Max Johnson and TJ Finley under center. Johnson has passed for 285 yards with 2 touchdowns and no interceptions through two games. Finley has more upside for the future, but he has a lot to learn. The freshman has been taking more chances than Brenan. It has been feast or famine with him.
Note that Finley is the quarterback with faster wheels, so he’s the quarterback to go to if LSU wants to get creative. Finley has thrown for 797 yards with 4 touchdowns and 5 interceptions through the air. He’s also gained 46 yards on the ground with a rushing score. The Tigers have scored an average of 30.4 points and netted 425.1 yards per game. Not overly terrible considering the drop off in talent from Burrow and Edwards-Helaire, but this certainly isn’t the same LSU offense from 2019.
Johnson and Finley are going to have to grow up in a hurry if they are going to keep up with Alabama in this contest. The Crimson Tide are capable of doing it all on offense. Mac Jones definitely looks like the next Burrow. Burrow didn’t go into last season with a ton of hype, nor did Jones go into this season with an abundance of hype either. Yes, we knew both were going to be good, but they exceeded expectations, of most people at least.
I expected Jones to play well this season. When he got playing time last season, it was apparent that Alabama was going to be fine after Tua left for the NFL. Jones has dished out 23 touchdowns and 3 interceptions on 76.2% passing. He and DeVonta Smith have been a juggernaut offensively.
Smith, who will be going early in the draft, has been unguardable. He has caught 72 receptions for 1,074 yards and 12 touchdowns. The Crimson Tide are in the top-3 in scoring in the FBS with 48.5 points per game. And unlike Buffalo and Kent State, who’ve recorded more points, Alabama has been playing much tougher competition.
Between Smith and running back Najee Harris, Alabama puts a lot of stress on a defense. Harris has been a force as well. He’s had 893 yards and 17 touchdowns on 6 yards per carry on the ground. Alabama should be able to score well into the 40’s on Saturday night. If they can run up the score, they likely will against a rival. That’s a big point spread, though, and backdoor is written all over it. I would rather go with the OVER in a game that should see points regardless.