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NCAA

Struggling LSU Is Playing No. 1 Alabama For Pride On Saturday

Traditionally a game with National Title implications, Alabama vs LSU lacks same luster.

As the #1 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0) prepares to travel to Baton Rouge, LA to face the usually-potent LSU Tigers (3-4) on Saturday night the luster of this year’s matchup has fallen off.

Last year a No.2-ranked LSU Tigers squad knocked off No. 3 Crimson Tide, 46-41. The contest was billed as the second “Game Of The Century”, the other being a 9-6 win by the Tigers in 2011.

That win by LSU was avenged by the Tide in the BCS Championship Game, which ended in a  21-0 shutout win in the Superdome in New Orleans. Basically a de facto home game for LSU.

In the 2019 matchup, you had the Tua Tagovailoa and Joe Burrow dynamic. Two future Top 5 picks at the helm of each of these highly respected football powerhouses. Just a year prior, Tua and BAMA rolled into Baton Rouge and shutout the Burrow-led Tigers 29-0.

This win gave them eight in a row over LSU in the series. Following the Tigers win in 2019, head coach Ed Orgeron in excitement yelled, “This Is Our House From Now On”.

LSU would win the SEC Championship and CFP National Championship behind Joe Burrow (The Ohio St Transfer), as he compiled a record-setting 60 touchdown passes and just 6 interceptions.

This helped him capture the Heisman Trophy while leading then offensive coordinator Joe Brady’s prolific passing game. Following that memorable title season, the Tigers first since 2007, Brady departed for the NFL and a host of players opted to either turn pro or ran out of eligibility from both programs.

As 2020 arrived amidst the global pandemic, there was more fallout from guys opting out for the season. Losing Burrow and Tua was already huge for both schools.

LSU also lost the reigning “Biletnikoff Award” winner in Ja’Marr Chase, as Kansas City Chiefs rookie sensation running back Clyde Edward Helaire, linebacker Patrick Queen and safety Grant Delpit. And just this week their best playmaker Terrace Marshall opted out of the rest of the season to prepare for NFL Draft.

BAMA lost wide receivers Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs and some other key talent, but it’s clear that as Alabama keeps ticking like a clock on steroids, the pandemic has had a much harsher effect on the LSU program.

Starts At The Top

The difference between these two programs is rarely in talent accumulated, but in how it’s developed and used. For all intents and purposes, that’s where BAMA is head and shoulders better with Nick Saban being at the helm.

BAMA came into 2020 with Mac Jones and talented freshman five-star signal-caller Bryce Young (Mater Dei) ready to assume the role QB role. Jones evolved into a legitimate Heisman candidate and Young is in the cut. LSU, on the other hand, turned to a less-heralded tandem of young gunners in Miles Brennan and TJ Finley.

Jones filled in admirably last season when Tagovailoa went down with a compound hip fracture against Mississippi State. Then rising seniors like running back Najee Harris and wide receiver DeVonta Smith decided to return for their senior seasons, solidifying the offense and giving them a real veteran presence.

On defense, they got do-it-all linebacker Dylan Moses (Torn ACL) back to anchor the defense. They also returned an elite offensive lineman and explosive speedster Jaylen Waddle. Couple this with Saban, who will be on the sidelines after his bout with COVID-19, leading the way and that’s why this program doesn’t fall flat on its face following a big year like the Tigers have in 2020 — pandemic aside.

The game was originally scheduled to be played on Nov 14th but with a huge COVID-19 breakout amongst the guys from Baton Rouge the game was postponed until this Saturday.

Some have made the assumption that the Tigers in a down year didn’t and still don’t really wanna face the Tide who are the betting favorites to win it all. The Tide on the other hand had been hoping for a postponement and not a cancellation as their players and coaches haven’t forgotten what Orgeron spewed after last season’s barnburner.

Let’s see if his mouth wrote a check his ass can’t cash …..

Side Note: Prior to the Tigers finally getting a win against the Tide in eight years and nine matchups they’d been outscored (193-73). An average score of 24 to 9.

The series is 53-26-5 in favor of the Alabama Crimson Tide.

This game is always played in prime time @8PM on CBS annually, but this year’s matchup should be a 3:30 start on CBS.

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