While there are plenty of fine games to look forward to on Saturday, there’s little doubt about which game serves as the Main Event for Week 10 of the College Football regular season. The #1 Alabama Crimson Tide hit the road to take on the #4 LSU Tigers in what shapes up to be an epic showdown of SEC rivals.
This year’s first version of the College Football Playoff rankings came out this week. Alabama is the clear cut #1, while pollsters have LSU slotted into the #3 spot. Quite simply, the ramifications for this game are absolutely massive.
The winner obviously has a clear path ahead to the SEC title game, as they will be firmly in control of the West division. Barring something unforeseen, the loser may have to suddenly adjust their postseason expectations.
In short, you couldn’t ask for a better primetime contest to wrap up another epic Saturday of football action. Let’s take a look at what looks to be an absolutely stellar contest in full detail.
Alabama @ LSU, 8:00 PM EST, CBS
- Alabama -14.5 (-109)
- LSU +14.5 (-111)
- Alabama -650
- LSU +500
- Over 53.5 (-117)
- Under 53.5 (-103)
Alabama vs. LSU pick:
The Crimson Tide has absolutely rolled to a perfect mark of 8-0. The program has not been tested as of yet, as evidenced by its total margin of victory of 433-127. The offense is loaded, the defense is ferocious, and Alabama is undoubtedly deserving of its current #1 ranking.
Alabama’s offense is averaging a whopping 54.1 points per game and getting it done in both facets. The defense has been stout against both the run and the pass while allowing an average of 15.9 points per contest. The unit is tied for seventh in the nation with 26 sacks, and the defense has forced 17 turnovers and found the end zone four times for defensive touchdowns.
Sophomore phenom Tua Tagovailoa has been playing lights out behind center. He’s the favorite for the Heisman Trophy, with 27 total touchdowns and zero picks on the season. Sophomore Najee Harris and senior Damien Harris lead the charge out of the backfield, while sophomore Jerry Jeudy is the top threat among the pass catchers.
Looking ahead, the Crimson Tide close out the regular season with games against Mississippi State, the Citadel, and Auburn. If their record remains unblemished, the team will be the undisputed #1 seed for the College Football Playoffs. If they happen to stumble, the 2018 playoff bracket suddenly becomes a lot less predictable.
LSU opened up the season with an upset victory over the Miami Hurricanes, a team that started the season ranked #8 in the nation. The team rifled off another four wins before running into a wall in the form of the Florida Gators, who handed LSU their lone defeat. The Tigers have won two straight since that point over SEC foes Georgia and Mississippi State.
On the year, LSU is averaging 30.4 points per game while allowing just 15.1. The running game is the definite strength of the offense, while the defense has been stout versus the pass and on the ground. The unit is generating pretty solid pressure on the year with 18 sacks, 19 turnovers, and one defensive score.
Junior Joe Burrow has the keys to the offense. He has completed 53.8 percent of his passes for 1,544 yards, six scores, and three picks, and he has added on 250 rushing yards and four TDs on the ground for good measure.
Senior Nick Brossette is leading the way in the backfield with 697 yards and 10 scores, while sophomore Clyde Edwards-Helaire isn’t too far behind with 521 yardas and five touchdowns. Sophomore Justin Jefferson is the leading threat in the passing attack, hauling in 30 passes for 471 yards and two TDs thus far.
Next week, LSU hits the road to take on Arkansas. That’s followed up with a home game versus Rice, and another road contest at Texas A&M in the finale. The key to the Tigers season comes this Saturday night under the primetime lights at home. An upset victory gives them a clear path to a playoff berth, while a loss will lead the squad to focus on a primo Bowl game as a consolation prize.
This is a historic rivalry that traces its roots all the way back to 1895. The two schools have hooked up 82 times in total. Alabama holds the all-time edge in the series with a record of 52-25-5. The Crimson Tide are clearly in control of the rivalry in recent times, with a mark of 8-2 straight up and a record of 5-4-1 against the spread over the past decade. The Over has come in just a single time over that span.
Last year, Alabama rolled to a 24-10 victory in a game in which they were a 20.5-point home favorite. The Crimson Tide hit the road for this year’s edition, but they still check in as 14.5-point favorites. That’s a testament to the team’s dominance thus far, but we would also imagine it provides even more motivation to LSU, not that the squad needs it with such an epic showdown on the docket.
Alabama is on a seven-game winning streak in this rivalry, and you can rest assured that the Tigers are dying to bring the streak to an end. To have that come in a season in which the Crimson Tide look to be far and away the best team in the nation would only make it sweeter. Can the Tigers really pull off what would be a huge upset?
That may be too much of an ask. While LSU has some serious firepower on defense, it would take a herculean effort to completely stymie the Alabama offensive engine. Can they be the ones to at least slow them down? We won’t rule that out, especially considering they are at home and the intensity will be ratcheted up to 11 by the time kickoff rolls around.
In the end, Alabama proves to be too much, and the Crimson Tide manages to escape hostile territory with a win. However, we expect LSU to put quite a scare into their rivals.
We’ll take LSU plus the points in what should be a close and hard-hitting affair.