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Predictions

Via those I usually refer to as the best in the business, CFN:

It'll be a dead-even game for about 50 minutes, and then LSU's running game will start to pound away and take over. And then the Tide passing game will wake up. After struggling all game long, Bama's receivers will start to beat the LSU corners late and take the lead. LSU will have one final chance, and unlike the Auburn game, won't come through.
CFN Prediction: Alabama 23 ... LSU 20

Scouts Inc. (ESPN Insider):
This is the much-anticipated first meeting between LSU coach Les Miles and Alabama coach Nick Saban, who won a national championship with the Tigers in 2003. Miles hopes to keep LSU's national championship hopes alive and take a step out of Saban's shadow in Baton Rouge. A win for Saban, on the other hand, would put the Crimson Tide in first place of the SEC West. Alabama finished fourth last year. But don't put too much stock in the significance of this game for the coaches. The bottom line is the players are ultimately the ones who decide games and this is exactly why the Tigers will get the win. LSU's front seven has the speed, athletic ability and relentlessness to control the line of scrimmage working against an Alabama offensive line that has been in a state of flux. The Tigers' also have the big offensive linemen and depth at running back to wear out the Crimson Tide's defensive front over the course of the game.

Prediction: Tigers 28, Crimson Tide 17


Stewart Mandel on CNNSI.com:
No. 3 LSU (7-1) at No. 17 Alabama (6-2)
It's the players on the field who will decide the outcome, but we're expecting CBS's cameras to focus an inordinate amount of time on the opposing coaches. In fact, if the game goes to overtime, they may just have Nick Saban and Les Miles meet at midfield to thumb wrestle.
LSU 31, Alabama 24

Charles Hollis of the Birmingham News (guess who he picked):
If Gary Crowton, LSU's offensive coordinator, will just put that dadgum passing game on the shelf and run the ball, the Tigers will go home with a win. Alabama can't handle a running game like LSU's. But enter the stupid factor. LSU will forget about the run. Maybe not early, but somewhere in the second half. And because the game is going to go the distance, a lot more bad can happen with Matt Flynn putting the ball in the air than in the hands of Jacob Hester and Charles Scott. Then there's the Saban factor. In big games, boy, does he love to take chances blitzing relentlessly on defense. Someone's going to get burned. Maybe Alabama, maybe LSU. And then there's another Saban factor: If this game stays close, who's worth more to his team? Saban or Miles? Alabama 27, LSU 26.

Update 11/3/07 12:47 a.m. CT - One more via Bruce Feldman of ESPN Insider:

LSU 31, Alabama 17: The Tigers have had some much-publicized off-field drama, but I still think LSU has a lot more talent than anyone Bama has faced this year. The Crimson Tide have a few big weak spots on their O-line that have been exploited a couple of times this season (especially against FSU and Ole Miss). I think the Tigers have the personnel to really take advantage, and I also think their corners can do a nice job against the Tide's receivers.
Personally, I don't think it will be nearly as close as the experts believe (or the seven point line suggests). And I certainly don't give Alabama a chance to win the game. The Crimson Tide nation is buzzing because of their dominating performance against Tennessee two weeks ago when the Vols absolutley laid an egg. That was Alabama's "complete game" performance and I don't see them being able to replicate it this week. Myself, Geaux Tigers and our nine readers could drop 30 on the Vols defense (which must mean we're better than Georgia).

As for LSU, the off week came at the perfect time allowing a banged up group the chance to heal. The offense finally became its dynamic self again when Early Doucet re-emerged in the second half against Auburn. That was a stout defense the Bengal Tigers shredded for 23 second-half points two weeks ago. I don't see Alabama stopping LSU and if the Tigers can just play average (relative to their talent level) on defense, the Tide won't put up more than 17 points.

Prediction: LSU 30, Alabama 13