writers give their predictions

Scribes from Florida and Tennessee sites offer thoughts on LSU-Alabama

The common opponents for No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama so far this season are Florida and Tennessee, both of whom suffered double-digit losses to both teams.

Here are how writers from the sites that cover those teams on the network see this week's showdown between the Tigers and Crimson Tide playing out.

Bob Redman
Bob Redman,

In comparing LSU and Alabama I would say that Alabama is a bit more physical, but the Tigers' quickness helps them a great deal. I think LSU is more two-dimensional on offense and that will help with the Bama defense that I think is actually suspect in the passing game. The Crimson Tide can be beat through the air.

Field position will play an important part in this game and I believe if LSU keeps the field normal and doesn't give Alabama the short field too often, the Tigers win the game with their ability to run and pass on offense and their better play in the secondary on defense.

Give me the Tigers 24-17.

Cody Jones
Cody Jones,

This is the matchup that fans of other programs and even those of us that cover other schools have been waiting to see. While watching each team dismantle Florida on back-to-back weeks earlier this season, it would be a surprise if either team ran away with this game.

In my mind, this game centers around one player – Alabama running back Trent Richardson. If the Tigers can slow him down and force Alabama to beat them through the air, that's when the tough LSU secondary can go to work. It's no secret that the Crimson Tide wants to impose its will on the opponent and run the ball. If a defense can force them to change that plan, that's where the pressure becomes squarely on quarterback A.J. McCarron, who hasn't seen a defense or secondary this season anywhere near the one he will face on Saturday.

The statistics Alabama defense has put up this season are impressive, but they can be attacked. Florida had success early through the air before John Brantley's injury. After hitting a deep ball for a touchdown to open the game, offensive coordinator Charlie Weis dialed up some routes across the middle of the field that were wide open. The return of running back Spencer Ware will give LSU a boost on the ground, but don't be surprised if their offensive success comes through the air.

Score: LSU 28-27

Laura McKeeman
Laura McKeeman,

I hate to put the outcome of a game on one player's shoulders, but when that player is running back Trent Richardson, I think it may be appropriate.

To me, this game will come down to generating yards on the ground. I don't think many would argue with the statement that Richardson is the most productive back in the country. Yes, LSU running back Spencer Ware is very impressive and the Tigers spread out carries among Ware, Ford and Blue more evenly than the Tide, but Richardson is a huge threat to catch balls from the backfield.

Richardson's ability to catch creates separation between Alabama's run game vs. LSU's and ultimately gives the Tide's one-two punch the edge. Also, Alabama's defense faces Richardson and Lacy in practice daily. This will help the Tide defense limit LSU's balanced rushing attack.

Score prediction: Alabama wins 21-14

Chris Price
Chris Price,

One thing is for sure: Both teams know how to run the football. Trent Richardson and Spencer Ware are both extremely talented. And on Tennessee's end, the Volunteers knew that was the case heading into their games with both teams and they committed to stopping the run. Surprisingly, it worked better than most would have thought, neither Richardson or Ware gashed the Vols terribly bad.

What was most impressive to us at was how well A J McCarron played against the Vols. There was no doubt that most fans didn't think that McCarron would be able to throw all over the yard on Tennessee and he did. He came out of the second half and completed his first eight passes and the Tide scored on five consecutive possessions.

The Tigers' defense is extremely talented, but they did show a few weaknesses. Matt Simms, who has been nearly abysmal for the Vols was able to find a few holes in their secondary and certainly missed a lot of throws that a more talented quarterback would have been able to hit.

Another thing that was surprising about both teams was the success that Tennessee had on the ground against both squads. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't like the Vols ran all over either team, but going into the two-game stretch against both LSU and Alabama, Tennessee had one of the worst rushing attacks that fans have seen in years and the Vols were able to move the ball against both teams along the ground.

All in all, based on what we saw against the Volunteers the edge goes to Alabama based on quarterback play. McCarron is the difference-maker in this game. I expect Alabama to come out on top by a touchdown.

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