LSU (7-0, 4-0) at Alabama (7-1, 4-1)
When: Saturday, November 7th, 2015
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, AL
Time: 8:00 ET | TV: CBS
In what can be described as a National Semifinal game, the LSU Tigers travel to Tuscaloosa to take on the resurgent Alabama Crimson Tide on Saturday night. LSU is ranked second in the College Football Playoff Rankings behind only Clemson. LSU passed their first test a few weeks ago by beating Florida, but tonight will be the ultimate test. LSU star Leonard Fournette, who leads the nation in rushing yards with 1,352 and rushing yards per game at 193.1 could find some difficulty tonight against an Alabama defense that ranks third in the nation in rushing defense allowing only 78.5 yards per game. Fournette is definitely the centerpiece of the Tigers’ offense, but quarterback Brandon Harris has been effective when necessary. Harris ranks second in the SEC in passing efficiency thanks to 9 touchdowns without an interception. He has a couple of stud wide receivers in Travin Dural (24 catches, 426 yards, 2 TDs) and Malachi Dupre (21 catches, 397 yards, 5 TDs). LSU has been very good against the run ranking 6th in FBS, but have shown weakness in the secondary, allowing more than 300 yards passing twice and an average of 222.1, ninth in the conference.
When Alabama lost to Ole Miss on September 19th, many experts wrote them off, but they have since won five straight including a tough one two weeks ago against Tennessee. The only reason they lost that game to Ole Miss was because they turned it over five times. Nobody can win a game when they do that. They’re doing a better job of holding onto the ball since even though they have coughed it up at least once in seven straight games. Quarterback Jake Coker is to blame for some of that. He has thrown 3 interceptions in the last three games and hasn’t thrown for a score since October 10th. Running back Derrick Henry has seen more carries recently and is taking advantage of it. He has 379 yards and four scores in his last two games and has 1,044 yards and 14 touchdowns on the season. The defense has tightened up forcing 12 turnovers (10 interceptions) in the five-game winning streak and have allowed 14 or fewer points in four of those games.
This is a monster game and one I’m looking forward to watching. Alabama has only allowed two 100-yard rushers in the last two years, but if there’s one guy who can do it, it would be Fournette. I think he will have some success tonight and I think the LSU defense will give Coker some issues. To me, it’s a coin-toss on who wins, so take the points.
Pick: LSU +7