Tonight at 8:30 on ESPN the Alabama Crimson Tide will get their rematch against the LSU Tigers in the Allstate BCS National Championship. This matchup was almost between LSU and Oklahoma State as Alabama narrowly got enough votes to get the number two spot. Many people did not like the idea of a rematch, myself included, but that is the game we will get tonight and it should be a close one.
On November 5, 2011, LSU beat Alabama by a field goal in overtime. In fact, the whole game was centered around the kickers. Alabama’s kickers, Cade Foster and Jeremy Shelley, managed to miss four field goals, including a missed field goal by Cade Foster in overtime. LSU’s kicker, Drew Alleman, was perfect on the night, going three for three including the game winning kick in OT.
The game was a defensive struggle, obviously, as only Alabama came close to scoring a touchdown, as QB A.J. McCarron threw an interception at the goaline. Neither of LSU’s quarterbacks played well either as then starter Jarrett Lee went 3/7 for 24 yards and 2 interceptions. Jordan Jefferson played the rest of the way after Lee’s second interception finishing the night with six completions for 67 yards. Not exactly inspiring play from LSU’s quarterbacks, but it was enough to win.
After the Alabama game, Jordan Jefferson became the primary quarterback for LSU, with Lee only seeing sporadic playing time. Jefferson gave Tiger fans hope after passing for 208 yards against Arkansas, but he only passed for 30 yards in the SEC title game against Georgia. At this point, LSU’s head coach Les Miles seems to prefer Jefferson’s running ability compared to Lee’s slightly better passing ability. And who could blame him, LSU is undefeated.
Not much changed for Alabama as they continued to destroy all other opponents by double digits the rest of the way. The Tide continued to run the ball well as they have all season (219.8 rushing yards per game), but they mostly avoided the kicking game. I’m sure it would have been nice for head coach Nick Saban to have some confidence in their kicker when it’s time to kick field goals.
Home field advantage?
There figures to be more LSU fans in New Orleans tonight, but figuring that Alabama is only one state over, I expect the crowd inside the Superdome to be split. So no home field advantage for the hometown Tigers.
There was an report by ESPN last week that many voters were not committed to necessarily voting the winner of the BCS title game to the number one spot in the final AP poll. The AP poll does not determine who gets to hold the crystal ball at the end of the game though, as the winner will be named BCS champion no matter what as all voters have to vote the winner of this game number one. But it will be interesting to see what members of the press do. I suspect if that LSU wins, they will get the unanimous number one vote, since they will be the only undefeated team in the country. But if Alabama wins a close game, anything can happen in that poll. Some have said they will still vote LSU number one, and we may see Oklahoma State getting a few number one votes as well.
I expect this game to be another defensive struggle but it will crack double digits and an endzone or two. It’s really tough to beat a great opponent twice and that is what LSU is going to have to do. I expect Heisman finalist Trent Richardson to have a great game for the Tide and run for over one hundred yards. A.J. McCarron will also connect on a few more of the big plays for the Tide and get them into the endzone. However, LSU also has their own Heisman finalist in Tyrann Mathieu and the Tigers have beaten tough opponents left and right all season long and so what’s one more? The Tigers mental toughness combined with the playmaking feet of Jordan Jefferson will be enough to seal the deal on a perfect season.
Final Score: LSU 17 – Alabama 13