One of the most highly anticipated college football matchups every year happens tonight, as LSU and Alabama continue their rivalry under the lights in Tuscaloosa. It’s always one of the most watched college football games of the year, and it is easy to see why with both fan bases being two of the better ones in college football. This season Alabama has the luxury of playing at home. Baton Rouge on a Saturday night is no fun place to find yourself. Home field can be a huge advantage in college football, and most certainly it is as it pertains to this series between LSU and Alabama, or does it? It would seem that way at first glance, but actually it hasn’t seemed to matter. Alabama won last year at LSU and 6 of the last 10 winners have been road teams. This isn’t to say that Alabama isn’t going to win today, though. LSU at 7-0 on the year is ranked 4th in the nation and looking to keep a grip on a spot on the college football playoff. Alabama can just as easily jump back up with a win this evening. I have to say, there is going to be an SEC and Alabama bias when determining rankings.
Some of the rankings for teams I am none too happy with. Take for instance Notre Dame who is 5th in the country. They lost to Clemson and have wins over just one team at the moment who is ranked. That team is Temple who they beat last week. It wasn’t a convincing win, as the Fighting Irish ended up pulling it out 24-20. Alabama had the one loss against Ole Miss, but if they win out the rest of the way they will certainly find themselves in the top 4. Other than a slight challenge from Tennessee last week, the Crimson Tide haven’t had too many problems sidestepping the opposition. Since the loss to Ole Miss, Alabama has won by an average of 16.3 points. I feel like this game will be the biggest test for LSU since opening week against Mississippi State, a 21-19 win.
Some people will bring up the Florida game, but note that the Gators had their backup playing his first game of the season on the road. In that light, it wasn’t some big win for them. However, I can’t disagree with the ranking. They have won all of their games and are playing in the SEC, that will get you an automatic spot right off the bat. But this is easily their stiffest contest to date. They haven’t played a team like Alabama, nor a defense that has the ability to match Leonard Fournette. Bama could be the team.
Western Kentucky did a pretty good job on him last week, limiting him to 150 yards. Yes 150 yards is limiting. His longest rush in the game was 18 yards. If he does make quick work of the Alabama defense, then the only thing probably stopping him from being a star in the NFL is an injury. That might be premature to say, but all scouts eyes are going to be on Fournette tonight. My eyes will definitely be watching and yours should be too. Let’s look for a winning pick.
LSU Tigers vs. Alabama Crimson Tide College Football
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
LSU vs. Alabama Pick:
A loss here for Alabama would officially kick them out of contention for the college football playoff. Much to the dismay of college football committees. Alabama can afford to have the 1 loss on their resume, if LSU loses this one they face a big slide down from the 4 spot. Note the best teams they have beaten are Florida and Mississippi State in close ones. Auburn looked like it may have been a good win at the time, but we’ve now discovered that the Auburn Tigers were early season frauds and that wasn’t a good win for LSU. Even more alarming I think were their games against Eastern Michigan and Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers put in a gameplan to slow down Fournette and it worked. They couldn’t contain their offense in the 2nd half just because the distinct size advantage and speed wore down Western Kentucky. Alabama isn’t going to get worn down. Eastern Michigan, the worst team in all of college football for the last 10+ plus years hung around with LSU and didn’t win, but lost by just 44-22. That looks like a blowout, but against Eastern something like 63-10 would have been a blowout.
Alabama has the horses to slow down the LSU vaunted running game. The Crimson Tide have allowed only 78.5 rushing yards per game. They’ve averaged 16.4 points against. LSU is going to need to make some plays through the air, but they haven’t had to go to it at all in 2015. Brandon Harris has taken care of the ball though, as he has 7 touchdowns with no interceptions. They aren’t looking for him to do much with the services of Leonard Fournette at their disposal. But LSU has averaged only 156.9 yards through the air. I think they are going to need more of it tonight. If Alabama does frustrate Forunette, can we trust Brandon Harris to keep things close? I think for at least a half this game stays within 7 points, but I see the Crimson Tide pulling away for a 10-13 point win Saturday night.
PICK: ALABAMA -7 (-110)