The Sideline Observer

Sports and Culture Commentary

What’s at Stake in the Alabama vs. LSU Game

This weekend the football Gods are blessing us fans with what could very well be the biggest game of this regular season, as “Touchdown” Tua and the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide head west to Baton Rouge to take on Coach O and the fourth-ranked LSU Tigers. There are major playoff implications on the line in this game as a loss would be devastating for either team’s chances. However, a win for either team would put them at the top of the SEC West and just about lock them in for a spot in the conference championship game.

For the Alabama Crimson Tide, this game is a chance for them to prove that they can hang with the big boys and show that their dominance so far this season is not the result of a subpar schedule. The Tide’s schedule was a major point brought up last year when discussing whether or not they deserved to be in the playoffs. Although they did put a whooping on LSU last year, the Tigers were a shell of this years team and the late-season loss to Auburn caused critics to point out that Alabama had not beaten any legitimate top teams.

Now believe me when I say that just like LSU, this is a drastically different Bama team even though their record is pretty much the same as last year. As much as I love Jalen Hurts it’s clear that Tua is a significantly better passer and the Tide will not have to rely on their running backs to win big games this year. That being said, LSU has a tremendous pass defense that only allows 17.3 points per game and they could potentially be the first team this year to give Tua fits.

Looking at Ed Orgeron’s Tigers it’s obvious that this is a hungry team ready to compete with the best. For years LSU had failed to live up to expectations and this year it seemed like there were never any, to begin with. However, these Tigers have exceeded expectations and head into November with a top-four ranking and a possible playoff appearance. After a close loss to Florida a few weeks back, this team essentially needs to win out to keep their playoff hopes alive. That is a very tall task against this unbeaten Bama team, but this is a rivalry and a night game in Death Valley. Anything and everything is possible and while I would not expect it, an LSU win is a very real possibility. This team has a deadly rushing attack spearheaded by Nick Brossette who has ten touchdowns on the year and followed by Clyde Edwards-Helaire with five. While quarterback Joe Burrows is not a huge threat, he doesn’t turn the ball over and he keeps his team in the game. That could be crucial against an Alabama defense that is known for getting interceptions. Sadly for the Tigers, Butkus Award nominee Devin White is suspended for the first half due to a targeting call in last week’s game against Mississippi State. Keeping the Tide’s offense in check during the first half will surely be difficult without White, but if they can manage they will have a legitimate chance to win.

A loss for either team in this game would be devastating, but more so for LSU. Putting LSU at two L’s on the year, a defeat on Saturday would all but kill their playoff chances. Since Alabama is still undefeated a loss could still potentially allow them to make the playoffs, as we saw last year after their loss to Auburn. However, that is not a position they want to be in and I can guarantee you Nick Saban has his eyes set on an undefeated season.

This is going to be the best game of the regular season. It’s a rivalry game between two rivals in a primetime showdown. Tiger stadium is an electrifying environment and the LSU faithful will surely be out in full force. There is a ton at stake and these players will be playing with everything they have. As it stands right now, it looks like this game will decide who represents the SEC West in the championship game and both teams are itching to get back after not making it last year. I am going out on a limb and predicting Alabama will win in a close game. However, these teams are both playing their best football and anything is possible. Don’t be surprised if you see the winner of this game lifting the championship trophy in January.

Final Score Prediction: Alabama 27 – LSU 17

-Jake

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