The marquee matchup for week ten of the 2011 college football season, and maybe the entire season, features an SEC brawl this Saturday night (8:00pm ET) with the top-ranked LSU Tigers (8-0) traveling to Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, AL to meet the 2nd ranked Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0). The winner will likely have an outstanding shot to play for the BCS National Championship, while the loser will likely be eliminated from the National Championship picture. LSU defeated Auburn 45-10 their last time out on October 22, when they easily covered the 21 point line. Alabama defeated Tennessee by a score of 37-6 in their last game on the same day, covering the 29 point line. LSU is 6-2 ATS this season, while Alabama is 7-1 ATS so far in 2011.
The Tigers possess one of the top defensive units in the country, ranking 3rd in points allowed with 11.5 per game and 4th in total defense with 251.4 yards per game allowed this season. The Tiger offense, which will feature both quarterbacks Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson, ranks an impressive 13th nationally in scoring with an average of 39.2 PPG while ranking only 81st in total offense with an average of 372.1 YPG. Alabama can also slug it out defensively with a unit that ranks first in scoring defense with a minuscule 6.9 PPG allowed, and first in total defense with 180.5 YPG allowed. The Tide averages 39.4 PPG (12th nationally) and 457.6 YPG (22nd nationally) behind a punishing ground game led by Heisman-candidate Trent Richardson (989 rushing yards, 18 TDs).
LSU vs. Alabama Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
LSU Tigers +5
@Alabama Crimson Tide -5
Over 41 (-110)
Under 41 (-110)
Betting odds taken from BetOnline.com (easy credit card deposits!)
LSU vs. Alabama Pick:
LSU is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games against a team with a winning record and 5-0 ATS in their last 7 road games. Alabama is 25-10 ATS in their last 35 games on grass and 5-0 ATS in their last 5 SEC games. The over is 4-0-1 in LSU’s last 5 games against a team with a winning record and 3-1-1 in their last 5 games overall. The under is 9-4 in Alabama’s last 13 games against a team with a winning record and 19-9-1 in their last 29 SEC games. In head-to-head play, the favorite is 6-2-1 ATS in the last 9 meetings between the two teams and the road team is 11-3-1 ATS in their last 15 meetings. The over is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings between the two teams.
LSU won last season’s meeting by a score of 24-21 in Baton Rouge as a 6.5 point underdog, and the Tigers have won 6 of the last 8 meetings outright. Both of these teams are loaded with experienced athletes that have played in a number of big games, but this will be the most-hyped regular season game they have ever played in as the first regular season meeting of the number 1 and 2 ranked teams since Ohio St and Michigan in 2006, and the first in SEC history. These two teams are almost mirror images of each other, both with strong defenses and a power running game. Alabama has the best player on the field in Trent Richardson, but LSU was able to hold him and former Heisman-winner Mark Ingram largely in check last year at 3.3 YPC and knocked Richardson out of the game in the first half. LSU has tremendous team speed and ability to penetrate and stop running attacks built on speed that operate on the perimeter, but can they do it against a power attack? Jefferson and Lee give LSU an edge at the quarterback position over Alabama and the inexperienced AJ McCarron. The Tigers were able to average 10.4 yards per pass play against the Tide last year and that will not be an easy task to repeat against the 2nd ranked pass defense in the nation that features a pair of pro prospects in Mark Barron and Robert Lester. The thinking here is that Jordan’s ability to run and their experienced QBs give them just enough of an edge in a big-game setting to tilt the scales their way. Take LSU and the points in a game that should be as good as advertised.