The 2011 college football bowl season comes to a conclusion tonight with the second meeting of the year between two SEC powers with the second ranked Alabama Crimson Tide (11-1) traveling to the Superdome in New Orleans, LA to take on the top-ranked LSU Tigers (13-0) this Monday night (8:30pm ET) in the BCS National Championship Game. The Crimson Tide suffered their only loss of the season to LSU on November 5 at home by a score of 9-6 in a game in which they were favored by 5.5 points going into the contest. Alabama is 8-4 ATS this season, while LSU is 10-3 ATS this year.
The Alabama offense is ranked 16th among FBS teams in scoring with an average of 36 points per game, and 31st in total offense with 433.4 yards per game on average this season. Sophomore quarterback AJ McCarron (2,400 yards passing, 16 TDs, 5 INTs) has been an efficient game manger for a unit that has relied heavily on the legs of Heisman Trophy finalist Trent Richardson (1,583 rushing yards, 20 TDs) to grind down their opponents and eat up the clock. The Tide defense has been the top unit in the nation across the board, ranking first in: scoring with 8.8 PPG allowed, total defense with 191.2 YPG allowed, pass defense with 116.3 YPG allowed and rushing defense with 74.9 YPG allowed. The LSU offense gets tremendous bang for their buck, ranking12th among FBS teams in scoring with 38.5 PPG, while ranking only 73rd in total offense with 374.5 YPG. The Tigers’ defense ranks second (to Alabama) in the nation in scoring defense with 10.5 PPG allowed and 2nd in total defense with 252.2 YPG allowed. They also rank in the top 10 nationally in both pass and run defense with 166.6 YPG allowed and 85.5 YPG allowed respectively.
Alabama vs. LSU Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Alabama Crimson Tide -2
@LSU Tigers +2
Over 40 (-110)
Under 40 (-110)
Alabama vs. LSU Pick:
Alabama is 6-2 ATS in their last 8 SEC games, 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games overall and 4-0 ATS in their last 4 neutral site games. LSU is 7-0 ATS in their last 7 SEC games, 8-1 ATS in their last 9 games against a team with a winning record and 7-2-1 ATS in their last 10 neutral site games. The under is 11-5 in Alabama’s last 16 games against a team with a winning record, and 21-10-1 in their last 32 SEC games. The over is 5-2-1 in LSU’s last 8 games overall and 6-2-1 in their last 9 games against a team with a winning record. In head-to-head play, the road team is 12-3-1 ATS in the last 16 meetings between the two teams.
This game will feature the consensus top two teams in the country and the top two defensive units in terms of scoring and total defense. While neither team is a slouch offensively, neither was able to crack the end zone against the opposing defense in their last meeting either. That game gave new meaning to the term “slug-fest”, as each team was held to under 300 total yards for the game and LSU was held under 100 passing yards. LSU and Alabama averaged 3.6 and 3.1 yards per rush respectively in that game. Their meeting last season came in for the under as well, with LSU winning that one 24-21 in Baton Rouge as a 6.5 point under dog. This game may feature more scoring than the first meeting, but not much more, and it is doubtful that either team will be able to put up more than one touchdown against the opposing defense. With both teams essentially mirror images of each other and as evenly matched as two teams can be, the under is really the only play to make here. This game will not be the type of high-scoring bowl game that fans love to see in big games, making it a much different scene that what we have seen throughout this bowl season, and particularly so in the BCS games.
PICK = Under 40