College Football – (5) Alabama Tries to Keep Hopes Alive vs. (16) LSU
John BensonNo comments
In a huge SEC matchup this weekend, the No. 5 Alabama Crimson Tide (7-1, 4-1 SEC) will travel to Baton Rouge to face the No. 16 LSU Tigers (7-2, 3-2 SEC). It wasn’t too long ago that an Alabama-LSU game would have a national title feel. This year, though, Alabama needs a win just to stay in the playoff conversation, while LSU was ousted from playoff contention by losses to Mississippi State and Auburn.
Crimson Tide defensive end Jonathan Allen said, “We’re so excited now, especially since we control our own destiny.” That opportunity opened up last week when Auburn beat Ole Miss, the team responsible for Alabama’s only loss this season.
While Allen is right that Alabama controls its own destiny, the road ahead is treacherous. After traveling to Baton Rouge, the Tide are home against the current No. 1 team in the nation, Mississippi State, followed by another home game against the No. 3 Auburn Tigers. However, Alabama coach Nick Saban isn’t looking ahead. He understands the Tigers will be hoping to play the role of spoilers, and that they are a tough out on their own field.
Saban said, “These games are traditionally very tough, physical games between two ranked teams. It’s certainly not going to be any different this year.
“They have a very good team, who’s playing their best football of the year. We play these games one game at a time and this is the most important game, because it is a game we play this week against a very good team on the road in a difficult place to play.”
After struggling early, LSU put up solid wins against Florida and Kentucky before defeating then-undefeated Ole Miss, 10-7, on Oct. 25. If the Tigers are going to beat the Crimson Tide, the running game will have to perform. The ground game has carried the LSU offense all year, averaging 225.7 yards per contest. The passing game has been unreliable, at best, putting up just 188.6 yards per game.
Though LSU is no longer a serious playoff contender, the team remains optimistic about its season. Said Tigers tailback Kenny Hilliard, “I didn’t think our season was in trouble. We had a meeting and we told ourselves not to worry. We had to try to end up at 10-2 and see where we would be. Since then everything has been clicking.”
This game is SEC football at its best, which is why taking the home dog (LSU +6.5) is the logical pick.