They can call this game "How the West Was Won."

Every expert will agree that the SEC West representative in the conference championship will be the winner of this game. LSU has had virtually two off weeks to prepare for this contest. Alabama has struggled putting up points since the loss of Tyrone Prothro in the Florida game. But they still managed to carve out victories and are sitting on a 9-0 record. So either way, the contest should answer a few questions in the wild, wild, west of the SEC.

Alabama began the season under the radar of college football. But they began to quietly roll off an impressive win streak. It began with a 26-7 win over Middle Tennessee. It was much of what was expected. Brodie Croyle was 16-24 for 210 yards and one touchdown. Keith Brown added five catches for 84 yards. While Tyrone Prothro had a touchdown grab, Kenneth Darby rumbled for 90 yards and fullback Tim Castille had two rushing touchdowns.

Southern Miss provided a scare, scoring 21 first half points. But the Bama defense clamped down and did not allow a second half touchdown. Croyle led the way and they won 30-21. Croyle threw for 330 yards and two touchdowns. Prothro had seven catches for 134 yards and DJ Hall had five catches and one touchdown. Castille added two rushing touchdowns.

The beginning of conference play saw continued success as the Crimson Tide rolled off consecutive victories against South Carolina and Arkansas. The following game was a much ballyhooed contest against Florida. The result was dominating as Alabama won 31-3. Alabama scored 17 first quarter points but suffered a huge loss as Protho came up hobbled after a first half play and was carted off the field. Before the injury, he had 134 yards receiving and two touchdowns. For the 5-0 Crimson Tide, the effect of his injury was the only question.

The ramifications were immediate as Alabama had to rely on a Jamie Christensen 31 yard field goal as time expired to give them a 13-10 victory over Ole Miss. Darby had 100 yards rushing and one touchdown. Croyle threw for 234 yards in the win.

Christensen again played the hero as he kicked a 34 yard game winner against Tennessee the following week. This time it came with 13 seconds left. Another important development was the Bama search for a go to receiver in Prothro's absence. They found it in DJ Hall who had 10 catches for 139 yards.

They got back on track against Utah St, winning 35-3. Darby had 147 yards rushing and one touchdown. Croyle threw for three touchdowns and 279 yards. Hall continued to fill the shoes of Prothro as he had a school record 11 catches.

Offensive lethargy was still plaguing Bama against Miss St. It took an Alabama defensive touchdown and special team's touchdown to beat Miss St 17-0. Darby ran for 122 yards and Croyle threw for 116 yards and an interception.

But to beat LSU, they will need to play less like they did against Tennessee and Ole Miss and more like they did against Florida.

This begins with Brodie Croyle. Mr. Tuscaloosa will have to play lights out and try to avoid the constant blitzing attack of LSU. If he gets banged up early, it could get in his head. He has a wealth of weapons to utilize and his job is to showcase those around him.

One weapon is the hard running Kenneth Darby. His worst game still saw him garner 79 yards of rushing. He sets the table for the passing attack and combines with fullback Tim Castille-- who has six rushing touchdowns-- to make up one of the most dangerous backfields in the SEC.

Even though Prothro is hurt, it seems the slack has been taken up. DJ Hall has been a ball magnet, catching 21 passes in the last two games. Keith Brown offers another pair of able hands in the slot.

The offensive line is inexperienced and must protect Croyle. JB Closner will be under center and the guards will be Antoine Caldwell and Mark Sanders. The tackles will be Chris Capps and Kyle Tatum.

The defense has shut down opponents all year and does not look to stop.

The defensive line is capable run stoppers and is led by defensive end Wallace Gilberry. The tackles are capable in Jeremy Clark and Rudy Griffin.

The linebackers are immensely talented. Juwan Garth, Freddie Roach, and DeMeco Ryans cover the entire field with excellent speed and sound technique.

The secondary was number two in the country in 2004 in pass efficiency. They are led by safeties Roman Harper and Charlie Peprah. The corners round them out with Ramzee Robinson and Anthony Madison.

Jamie Christensen will handle kicking duties while Jeremy Schatz will punt. Hall will return kicks and punts.

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