As Saturday black in Baton Rouge approaches, apprehension continues to body for the bigger Alabama-LSU approved division antagonism aback the “Game of the Century” in 2011. But the apprehension is unique. Alabama enters the d as a 14.5-point favorite, the bigger advance LSU has apparent as a home underdog in 20 years.
Not abounding alfresco of Baton Rouge apprehend the Tigers to book any bigger this time than they accept the aftermost seven affairs — all losses by an boilerplate of 9.25 points. And yet, the apprehension charcoal because if anyone can bout athletes with this Alabama team, it’s LSU. To booty that a footfall further, if anyone can exhausted this Alabama team, LSU at home ability aloof be as acceptable an befalling as exists.
Whether Alabama leaves Tiger Stadium reaffirmed as everyone’s No. 1 or limps out ashamed and apparent boils bottomward to one antagonism aloft all else: LSU’s arresting backs adjoin quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and his agile of receivers.
First, let’s accompaniment for the almanac what we’re ambidextrous with in that Alabama offense. Aloof aces a stat. Tagovailoa has befuddled 25 touchdown passes and alone 45 incompletions, none consistent in an interception. The Tide are averaging 8.3 yards per play. All four of Alabama’s top receivers are amid the top 26 nationally in yards per reception, averaging amid 18 and 26 yards on every catch. Tagovailoa has yet to attack a fourth division pass.
Now for the LSU argument.
Perhaps with the barring of Donovan Wilson at Texas A&M, Alabama hasn’t faced a distinct arresting aback that would alpha for LSU. It’s adamantine to accomplish a case that abounding would alike agency into the nickel or dime bales in Baton Rouge. According to S&P , the best canyon aegis Alabama has faced was Arkansas State, ranked 50th in the country. The boilerplate rank in S&P canyon aegis for Alabama’s eight opponents is 87.25. LSU ranks third in the aforementioned formula.
While Tagovailoa is commutual 70 percent of his passes this abatement (7th nationally), LSU has captivated opposing QBs to alone 50 percent (6th nationally). While Tagovailoa’s TD-INT arrangement is an cool 25:0, LSU leads the nation in interceptions with 14 and has accustomed alone seven casual touchdowns. Tagovailoa is on clip to accident the civic almanac for passer appraisement while arena primarily in aboriginal halves. LSU’s aegis has accustomed the everyman passer appraisement in the country in aboriginal halves.
But it’s not aloof the numbers. LSU’s aptitude in the secondary, led by a approaching NFL corners Greedy Williams and Kristian Fulton as able-bodied as the aing abundant LSU assurance in Grant Delpit, allows the Tigers to claiming Alabama’s advanced receivers in a way they’re not acclimated to experiencing.
Through the aboriginal eight games, Arkansas State, Louisiana-Lafayette and Ole Miss are the alone units that accept consistently challenged Alabama advanced receivers at the band of flat and none of those programs accept the athletes that LSU has. Adjoin LSU, Alabama shouldn’t apprehend to get the affectionate of chargeless releases its receivers accept been adequate throughout the season. It will face columnist coverage, re-routes, and a assemblage that will try to behest the action.
There is some risk-reward to that approach. LSU is 78th in the country in canyon plays accustomed of 30 yards or added with 13. Alabama is additional in the country in canyon plays of 30 yards or added with 27.
As continued as LSU is able to aggregation some credibility adjoin the best accessible aegis Alabama has fielded aback 2007, again that LSU accessory adjoin the Alabama casual d will be the aberration amid agitated and blowout.
With the antecedent absolution of the Academy Football Playoff Rankings on Tuesday night, four teams that were ranked central the preseason Top 10 didn’t acreage in the Top 25 and six preseason top 15 teams were out. Amid them, here’s who absolutely has a case for actuality best aghast with the way the division has gone and who should break positive.
1. Is time active out for Wisconsin? This was declared to be the year. Ranked No. 4 in the preseason, it was assuredly accepting the account it adapted as a accepted playoff adversary and one of academy football’s heavyweights, with resume-building, cross-division amateur on its agenda and an absolute breach abiding with what is consistently a trusted defense. But that aegis has been characterless at best. That breach is still analytic for a casual accompaniment to the run game, and that agenda accepted to be added than Wisconsin could handle. There is no catechism that Wisconsin will abide to be a Big Ten West adversary but with Purdue and Nebraska assertive to aeon up, Northwestern consistently a arrow in its ancillary and Iowa actuality Iowa, the alley isn’t accepting any easier and the window is accepting smaller.
2. There’s no excuses for Auburn. Before the season, it was ranked No. 9. But things burst bound for the Tigers. Jarrett Stidham is a accomplished quarterback that fabricated a arresting corruption in his additional year on The Plains. This division is crumbling a loaded defense. Successful advanced receiver recruiting isn’t advantageous off in casual yards. Multiple starters chief to alteration midseason is a adverse sign. There’s aloof no way to circuit this absolutely appear the future. With Jimbo Fisher’s accession at Texas A&M, Auburn could be artful aback to the average of the SEC West backpack one year afterwards extensive the appellation game. This weekend will be addition cogent indicator as the Aggies appear to town.
3. There’s annihilation to anguish about at Washington. Preseason ranked No. 6, the aegis has remained stout and one of the best in the country this fall. However, the abrasion bug accomplished in mass. Yes, the breach has had some issues. The abandonment of OC Jonathan Smith to Oregon Accompaniment was apparently a bigger accident than anyone expected. But aptitude is still there. The Huskies accept emerged as one of the recruiting heavyweights in the Pac-12. Jacob Eason is cat-and-mouse in the wings and accessible to advancement the quarterback position aing year in a big way. This is a affairs that is still advantageous and stable. Three losses by a accumulated 10 credibility is aloof the way a division goes sometimes. Hold on to your Huskies stock.
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