Alabama football: Which Tide team will show up vs LSU?

Happy Friday, everyone. As you all know, LSU is tomorrow night. Your previews:

LSU is a top-10 team according to the College Football Playoff Rankings, but if I’m being honest, I don’t think LSU is one of the 10 best teams in the country. Alabama has flaws and is not the same juggernaut dynamo we’re used to seeing, but it’s the better overall team in this matchup. But is it so much better than LSU to win by two touchdowns? That I’m not so sure about. The home atmosphere in Baton Rouge will be tough for Bryce Young and the Alabama offense to contend with, and I think the Tide struggle a bit and have difficulty pulling away. I’m taking the points. Prediction: LSU +13

LSU doesn’t bomb away – it’s averaging just 11.3 yards per completion.

Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee – it’s not like Alabama has been great on the road so far, and now it gets a night game in Death Valley.

There won’t be anything tricky about this. Alabama will start running early, turn the pass rush loose to pressure Daniels, and Bryce Young should be just accurate enough to own third downs to control the clock.

It’ll take about a half to get there, and then the Bama lines will take over. Two third quarter scoring drives will be enough to let the Tide offense finally settle in.

Alabama 37, LSU 27

Daniels will get some yards on the edges and LSU’s receivers will be able to test the Tide’s back seven consistently in the early phase of the game.

But Alabama’s front seven alignment won’t let the quarterback scramble all night as its linebackers and pass rush settle in, and ultimately this backfield has the power to move the chains late.

College Football HQ Prediction: Alabama 36, LSU 27

Young and company come into this game with 1 thing in mind: Getting to the playoff. To do so, they must go through LSU and be convincing.

In 5 SEC games, Alabama has allowed 107 points. 52 of them came in the loss to Tennessee. In the other 4 games, Alabama have only given up an average of 13. In these same 4 games, Alabama has averaged 39.5 points per game. This is about what I feel will happen here and with the Tide only favored by 13, I will take the number. ALABAMA -13 (-112) is my FAVORITE PLAY in the game.

Shockingly, Alabama has been fairly terrible on the road, escaping Texas and getting beat at Tennessee. Not to mention having Arkansas play the Crimson Tide toe-to-toe for three quarters before finally breaking away. Busted coverages, a case of the dropsies, or getting flagged a monstrous amount of yards has been the Achilles heel once the Red Elephants leave Bryant-Denney Stadium. And yes, if you’re wondering, the Tide ranks 125th in the nation with 8.6 penalties per game. They are just a different team on the road and Death Valley in Baton Rouge is no place to try to improve your poise as a team.

LSU has given up 101 of its 169 total points in the first half of games this season, so it will be interesting to see if the Tigers get off to a slow start once again. They’ve shown a knack for much better football in the second half of games. But a slow start against Alabama is perilous at best.

Prediction: Alabama 31, LSU 28

Which Tigers team will we get? The one that put up 40-plus points on Florida and Ole Miss? Or the one that gave up 40 points and had no answers for Tennessee? The night game energy will be there, and Daniels will connect with Kayshon Boutte for a second-quarter TD that briefly gives LSU the lead. Daniels will not have the scrambling opportunities against that collection of Crimson Tide linebackers, and the pass rush will eventually get home.

Young will make enough game-shifting plays outside the pocket, and Gibbs will do the rest. The Georgia-Tennessee winner will be watching the same-old result. Alabama gets one step closer to another SEC championship appearance.

Final score: Alabama 31, LSU 20

Scott Rabalais

LSU 38, Alabama 31

LSU can definitely win this game given the Tigers’ current roll on offense. Plus, Alabama has struggled in two of its three road games, barely beating Texas and losing to Tennessee. I’ve seen Bama pull out many games like this against LSU, but this time in Jayden Daniels I trust. Scott Woodward has to write another $250,000 check as fans storm the field and topple goalposts.

Rabalais has been covering LSU at The Advocate for over 30 years.

Hopefully, after facing the crowds in Austin, Fayetteville, and Knoxville, the Tide will be able to handle the hostile environment tomorrow night. The drunken coonasses are a different animal though, and they are going to be crazier than usual for a game that they feel they can legitimately win at home for the first time since 2010.

Alabama has had issues with what Saban has called “anxiety” among the players when it comes to meeting the external expectations that come with the territory in Tuscaloosa. This team has no room for error at this point, and the pressure will be no greater this season than it will tomorrow, in a night road game with the entire season on the line against an opponent that is looking for its own trip to the SEC Championship Game.

LSU is flying high coming off of consecutive 45 point outbursts against Florida and Ole Miss. Of course, those two contests followed a putrid offensive showing in Auburn and a bad one against Tennessee. Did hitting rock bottom against the Vols ignite something in this team, or did everything simply go right for them the past couple weeks?

Alabama’s defense will be the best LSU has faced thus far this season. Both Florida and Ole Miss have struggled on that side of the football in general, and neither was able to affect Jayden Daniels the way that Auburn did when he completed 40% of his passes for 80 yards. The good news for the Tide is that the offense put up plenty of yards and points in the past two road games when Young was in the game.

As usual, Alabama will be playing itself in this game as much or more than the opponent. If they don’t set school records for penalties, have bad long snaps that give possession to the opponent inside the 10 or generally shoot themselves in the foot as they have at times this season, they will likely win relatively comfortably.

Will they play that clean game Alabama fans have been yearning to see on the road? Only time will tell, but I do think that they will be able to hold LSU’s offense in check. I’ll say Alabama wins this one 34-20, but that is of course merely my opinion. Vote and give us yours in the comments.

Poll

What will be the result of Alabama at LSU?

  • 55%

    Brian Kelly needs hugs from his fay-am-lee after Tide wins 14+

    (412 votes)

  • 38%

    Brian Kelly dances with recruits after keeping it close, Tide by 1-13

    (286 votes)

  • 6%

    LSU pulls the upset (BANNED!)

    (46 votes)



744 votes total

Vote Now

Speaking of anxiety, this little blurb probably isn’t going to ease many minds in the fanbase headed into Saturday.

“People always assume that a bye week is a good thing, but you never know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing until you kinda go through it, see what you get done, see how you improve, see how your players respond to what they need to do to be able to improve and then how do they play in that next game,” Saban said during Thursday night’s Hey Coach! radio show. “That’s what we’re anxious to see this weekend.”

Saban, who was asked by a caller about downsides to the bye week, said that teams can occasionally struggle to “maintain intensity” with the week off, like they may during the course of a game.

“You have momentum in a game, sometimes you have momentum in your business, sometimes you’re doing really, really well and things are rolling along and everything’s going well,” Saban said. “So the ability to maintain intensity is probably one of the most important things in a game but also in a season.”

The Right Reverend and a couple of other coaches spoke about how they’d play it against this Alabama squad.

Q: When you think back to facing Nick Saban, what were the challenges and what worked?

Nutt: Well, we got to the fourth quarter as the biggest thing. A lot of a lot of times when you play coach Saban, you can be beat before you get there. You can get beat in warmups. He’s such a great coach. So you don’t want to give a team like that a gift. You don’t want to give them a 15-yard penalty. You don’t want to put the ball on the ground, let them have a short field. Once we got to the fourth quarter, and we’re right there, all of a sudden, now my guys had confidence. I could feel that confidence grow on the sideline. And that was a great thing.

I’ve noticed … for three to four weeks there, coach Saban had about 17 or 15 or 14 penalties in each game. I think they are a little bit different this year. But again, they know how to win. Coach Saban knows how to win. You look at (linebacker) Will Anderson and (quarterback) Bryce Young are cornerstones of just greatness, and they follow those guys. Maybe the supporting cast has not been what it is in the years past, but it’s going to be a full 60-minute game.

One NFL scout thinks that this Alabama team just flat out doesn’t have the upperclassman talent of some of Saban’s best teams.

“Alabama isn’t as dominant as it was three years ago, as this is the lowest talent level that I’ve seen there in recent years,” an NFL scout said. “They have Bryce Young and Jahmyr Gibbs and Will Anderson, who are all high-end. But after that, it’s steady and just typically good college players. There aren’t Trevon Diggs, Patrick Surtain and Xavier McKinney, when we were all throwing high grades out there. There’s mid-tier and midround guys, and that’s creating an even playing field. Even at receiver, they have Burton, who is steady and solid but not the same dynamic level of playmaker we’re used to at receiver.”

As we’ve mentioned on several occasions, the 2020 class is draft eligible this year. and that is the only class that Saban never got to campus before making an offer. It’s highly possible that there are more relative misses in that class, if you can call “mid-round” guys a miss. There is plenty of potential among the young players, and odds are we will need to get something from them if Alabama is to win a title.

Tim Brando was being Tim Brando.

Last, Jalen got to return to his hometown of Houston for Thursday Night Football. He had a nice game and the Eagles won to move to 8-0 on the season. Needless to say, he had a few folks in attendance.

That’s about it for today. Have a great weekend.

Roll Tide.

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