In the Southeastern Conference the football game of the year occurs every week. Okay, they’re arrogant with a slice of pecan pie.
Last Saturday the game of interest in the SEC was Georgia-Florida in Jacksonville. Next week the game of the century is Auburn-Georgia at Jordan- Hare Stadium. But this Saturday afternoon, the most intriguing pigskin college game on the agenda is No. 1-ranked LSU versus No. 2-ranked Alabama at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa.
The Tigers and Crimson Tide are both 8-0 on the season. Each team thinks it is the best out there on the college football horizon.
Alabama and LSU are both perfect in SEC play with the Crimson Tide at 5-0 and the Tigers of LSU at 4-0. Both football squads are evenly matched.
The Tigers have one of the deepest rosters in the country. The Crimson Tide also has an abundance of size, speed and brash attitudes. Alabama is favored by six points.
The future national championship team might very well play in this Saturday’s game. Coach Nick Saban’s Alabama team and coach Ed Orgeron’s LSU team have a lot in common.
The Crimson Tide is averaging 48 points per game. The Tigers are averaging 46 points per contest. The Bayou Bengals have a Heisman Trophy candidate with senior quarterback Joe Burrow.
He is completing 78 percent of his passes with 30 touchdowns and just four interceptions. The 6-foot-4, 216-pound Burrow has passed for 2,805 yards this season.
On the other sideline, Alabama also has a leading Heisman Trophy hopeful with junior quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. He is nursing a high ankle sprain, but he is expected to play against the Tigers.
Tagovailoa, a 6-foot-2, 230-pounder, is completing 74 percent of his passes. He has a pictureperfect throwing motion. Tagovailoa is steady in the pocket and is evasive.
He does not panick in the face of a hard pass rush. Tagovailoa has thrown for 27 touchdowns and just two interceptions. He has completed 145 of 194 passes for 2,166 yards.
Not only is Tagovailoa one of the elite quarterbacks in the country, he also has a championship caliber supporting cast. Junior running back Najee Harris gives Alabama an offensive diversion. He is a bludgeoning tailback with 642 yards and five touchdowns.
The Crimson Tide’s No. 2 option at running back is 226-pound junior Brian Robinson. He has rushed for 356 yards and four touchdowns this year.
Alabama also has the scariest group of wide receivers in the country. The Crimson Tide pass catchers have sticky fingers and breakaway speed with the junior trio of Devonta Smith (43 catches, 721 yards), Jerry Jeudy (52 receptions, 682 yards, eight touchdowns) and Henry Ruggs (26 catches, 513 yards, six touchdowns).
Tagovailoa will pass the ball to Alabama sophomore split end Jaylen Waddle as well. He averages 14 yards per catch with 21 receptions for 297 yards.
The LSU receiving corps has closing speed, too, and some downright game-winners. The Tigers are big and flashy with junior Jordan Jefferson (55 catches, 819 yards), and sophomores Ja’Marr Chase (43 receptions, 749 yards, nine touchdowns) and Terace Marshall (22 catches for 333 yards).
Louisiana State also has a weapon in tight end Thaddeus Moss, the 6foot-3, 249-pound junior. He is as strong as two bulls, and he has vicegrips for hands.
Moss is a blocker and a pass catcher with 21 receptions for 246 yards. The Tigers also have an emerging running game with a talented pair of ball carriers with Clyde Edwards- Helaire (683 yards, eight touchdowns) and Tyrion Davis-Price (41 carries, 223 yards, three touchdowns).
Alabama will match the LSU speed with an athletic defense. The Crimson Tide is ruthless with senior defensive end Raekwon Davis (6-foot-7, 312 pounds), redshirt junior linebacker Terrell Davis (6-foot-5, 252 pounds), senior linebacker Anfernee Jennings (6-foot-3, 259 pounds) and sophomore cornerback Patrick Surtain (6-foot-2, 203 pounds).
The Crimson Tide has some more defensive support with freshman nose guard D.J. Dale (6-foot-3, 308 pounds) and freshman defensive end Justin Eboigbe (6-foot-5, 294 pounds). They’re getting their timing down and their tackles.
Louisiana State has an all-day defense, too, with a full load of nasty. The Tigers know how to bring it with senior defensive end Rashard Lawrence (6foot-2, 308 pounds), sophomore nose tackle Tyler Shelvin (6-foot-3, 346 pounds), junior linebacker Andre Anthony (6-foot-4, 250 pounds) and junior strong safety Grant Delpit (6-foot-3, 203 pounds).
The Tigers have some more SEC speed with the likes of freshman cornerback Derek Stingley (6foot-1, 190 pounds) and junior linebacker Patrick Queen (6-foot-1, 227 pounds).
Alabama and LSU will tangle with a 3:30 p.m. kickoff at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Some furr will be flying, along with the football.
The game can be seen on CBS television.
The author of this article can be reached via email at info@troupcountynews. net.
Chris Fernsler Sports Writer