Wait is over

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 5, 2011

Rarely does a regular season college football game carry almost Super Bowl-like hype, but here we are. Amazingly, nothing derailed it before its destination, no upsets to make this less of a winner takes all game. LSU/Alabama is here.

It’s a great matchup because it’s a fascinating example of how two people can be successful despite myriad differences. Contrast Nick Saban’s This Is Just Another Game And There’s Nothing To See Here approach to this week with Les Miles’ You BetYour You KnowWhat This Is The Game Of Our Lives.

As far as a prediction: as you may have seen Wednesday, I’m the jerk who picked Bama. I don’t like the matchup for LSU; teams that want to beat LSU by outrunning them, like Oregon or West Virginia, have no chance; but LSU tends to sacrifice size for speed at linebacker, and they may be susceptible to a team powerful enough to run right at them. That, and the fact that Bama’s at home and a successful run attack could leave LSU devoid of the big defensive plays it thrives on, leads me to believe Bama wins here.

That said, LSU’s got a solid chance. Bama QB A.J. McCarron hasn’t seen anything remotely close to this stage in his first year. LSU’s also got the secondary receivers in Beckham and Shephard to victimize Saban’s defense if he elects to commit too many resources to stopping the run and Rueben Randle. Jarrett Lee hasn’t made mistakes this year, and that must continue. But Saban is going to pound, pound and pound Trent Richardson.

I’m not sure anyone has an answer for four quarters of that; given Bama’s defense, you can’t expect anything less.

The Pick: Bama 24, LSU, 17.

And here’s hoping you all have plenty of crow to serve me next week.