Alabama-LSU Gets Top SEC Billing

In case you haven't noticed, there is a Southeastern Conference football game this weekend pitting two top 10 opponents. That's right. Number 8 Arkansas hosts 10th ranked South Carolina in Fayetteville, a game that kicks off at 6:15 p.m. CDT with television coverage by ESPN.

Of course, that game has been somewhat overlooked by many because of another SEC top ten match-up. Alabama hosts LSU at 7 p.m. CDT Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa with CBS televising the game. LSU is ranked first in the nation, the Crimson Tide second.

As far as can be determined, there has never been a weekend where there were two games involving four top 10 ranked SEC teams.

Since 1989, the SEC has had four teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 10 six times, the most recent coming on Oct. 24, 1999.

This season, the SEC has had eight teams ranked in the AP Top 25 poll a total of 59 times after the first 10 weeks.

Bama junior tailback Trent Richardson is the SEC's active leading rusher for a career with 2,440 yards, and he leads Brandon Bolden of Ole Miss by only 14 yards. Bolden would seem to have a good chance to overtake Richardson this week as the Rebels are playing against Kentucky, while the Crimson Tide takes on a very tough LSU defense.

Other SEC games this week are Vanderbilt at Florida, New Mexico State at Georgia, Middle Tennessee at Tennessee, and Tennessee-Martin at Mississippi State.

Much has been made going into the Alabama-LSU game of the Tigers having two very experienced senior quarterbacks in Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson, while Alabama goes with sophomore A.J. McCarron.

Overall, though, Alabama has a more mature team, according to the probable starting lineups and a formula used by the SEC. That formula counts McCarron as a junior (his academic class) and shows Alabama with six juniors and five seniors in its starting offense. The Tide has three sophomores, four juniors, and four seniors in its defensive starting unit. LSU has one freshman, two sophs, four juniors and five seniors on defense and six sophomores, one junior, and four seniors on defense.

Using a numerical formula of 1 point for freshmen, 2 points for sophomores, 3 points for juniors and 4 points for seniors, Alabama's average year is 3.09 on both offense and defense and LSU is 3.08 on offense, 2.82 on defense.

Other trivia to ponder while waiting for Saturday night:

Alabama and LSU are 1-2 in the best records in the SEC since 2007. The Crimson Tide are 46-11 (.807) and the Tigers are 48-13 (.787).

LSU and Alabama are tied for first in most defensive shutouts since 1992 with 16 each.

Alabama and LSU are 1-2 in least touchdowns allowed this season (Alabama-6 / LSU-10).

LSU (6) and Alabama (5) have scored on more opening drives this season than any other SEC team. LSU has four touchdowns and two field goals and Alabama has three touchdowns and two field goals.

Since 2000, the average winning margin in the LSU-Alabama rivalry is 11.73 points per game. Six of the 11 games have been decided by 9-points-or-less.

Alabama is 61-22 (.735) in home games since 2000 while LSU leads all SEC schools in road game win percentage (.679 / 36-17) since 2000.

LSU and Alabama are 1-2 in the SEC in points per offensive drive this season. LSU averages 2.76 points per drive (262 points/95 drives started) while Alabama averages 2.65 points per drive (270 points / 102 drives started).

LSU and Alabama are also 1-2 in the SEC in drive efficiency. LSU scores on 49.5 per cent of its offensive drives while Alabama scores on 48 per cent of its drives. LSU scores touchdowns on 38.9 per cent of its offensive drives while Alabama scores TDs on 36.3 per cent of its drives.

Alabama leads the SEC in defensive three-and-outs, stopping opponents without a first down 53.5 per cent of the time (54 of 101). LSU is fifth at 32.4 per cent (33 of 102).

LSU and Alabama are 1-2 in least number of turnovers and least number of points by opponents scoring off of those turnovers. LSU has turned the ball over just three times and opponents have scored just three points off of them. Alabama has eight turnovers this season and opponents have scored just seven points off of them.

Alabama and LSU are 1-2 in fourth quarter scoring margin this season. Alabama is +61 in the fourth quarter (69-8) while LSU (78-28) is tied for second with Arkansas at +50.

Alabama has started slowly in the first quarter this season, but has quickly turned things around and finished strong. The Crimson Tide has outscored its opponents 243-25 in the final three quarters of games this season after holding just a 72-30 edge in the first quarter. The disparity has grown even wider over the past six games where Alabama owns a 44-27 scoring edge in the first quarter and a 196-10 edge in the final three quarters. Alabama has outscored its opposition in the second half of the last six games by a score of 142-7, but has not allowed a second-half point in the last four games. Arkansas, in week four, was the last team to put points on the scoreboard against Alabama after halftime.

LSU went the entire month of October without a turnover. LSU has turned the ball over just three times this year (two fumbles, one interception) with its last turnover coming in the fourth quarter against Mississippi State in week three. LSU has gone 336 offensive snaps, 59 possessions and 174 minutes and 52 seconds of possession time since its last turnover. LSU's given up just 41 points in the first five SEC games, the fewest since 1985 when the Tigers allowed 41 points in their first five league games. LSU has won 17 straight games when winning the turnover battle. Under Coach Les Miles, the Tigers are 33-4 when forcing more turnovers than they give up.

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