Outlook for Tuscaloosa's Super Bowl
LSU at Alabama. The Nov. 5 “Tussle in Tuscaloosa” will be akin to a Super Bowl. Both teams are even taking a bye week next weekend, just like their NFL brethren do. As the hype begins to simmer, here are five topics fans will be discussing:
"My prediction? Pain"
Those were the words of Clubber Lang (Mr. T) before his heavyweight bout with Rocky Balboa. Expect the same in Tuscaloosa, as college football’s hardest-hitting teams converge — and collide — in Bryant-Denny Stadium. Alabama linebackers Dont’a Hightower and Courtney Upshaw, and LSU defensive end Barkevious Mingo will be in quarterbacks’ nightmares the next two weeks.
The Hat vs. the CEO
LSU’s Les Miles is a reckless, grass-chewin’ gambler who always appears to be enjoying the game more than his players. Alabama’s Nick Saban is a 21st-century martinet who makes coffee nervous. Which style will succeed in the season’s biggest game?
Alabama has the nation’s best defense, and LSU is close behind. The Tigers are far better at covering punts while the Tide are much better at returning them. Both teams’ kickers have been nearly automatic. In short, it’s a wash.
Six suspensions, three turnovers
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The Bayou Bengals lose starters more often than they do the football. Through eight games, LSU has fewer turnovers, three, than any offense in the nation. Meanwhile, the Tigers have lost six players, including four starters, for anywhere from one to four games because of suspension or NCAA rules violations. LSU never beats itself — on the field, at least.
The X factor
Both sides are loaded with size and speed and playmakers, but only one offense has Trent Richardson. Alabama’s leading rusher has gained more than 500 yards and scored nine touchdowns in the Tide’s past four games. If there’s one playmaker who stands out in this contest, it is No. 3.