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What To Watch For: Alabama

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Gulp

This is not gonna be fun, so I suggest you all get really creative with your alcohol choices. Maybe make a rum ham, or drink some Shade of the Evening. I don’t know, but it’s going to be BRUTAL. I fail to see a conceivable way in which LSU even gets this within 17 points. Mac Jones and Steve Sarkisian’s offense are humming, and Saban’s defense is finally playing the dominant football it’s capable of. Whatever, it’s fake season anyway. Let’s get into it.

For LSU

Scoring 1 point

LSU hasn’t scored a point at home against Alabama since 2014. Given how the Texas A&M game went, how well Alabama’s defense is playing, and the departure of Terrace Marshall, it is far from a guarantee that another two years won’t be added to that seeing as they go to Tuscaloosa next year. Alabama’s defense, as it’s playing now, is even better than A&M’s. Whichever quarterback starts is going to spend a lot of time on the turf, and LSU will have a ton of trouble moving the ball. Just get one score.

Stingley v Smith, part II

Last year, DeVonta Smith absolutely cooked Derek Stingley. It was really the one game of the whole year where Derek Stingley didn’t look like an absolute phenom. Smith beat him on contested catches, in the intermediate game, and just flat out blew by him a few times. Derek Stingley, due to a whack a mole esque run of minor, random injuries, has had a down season. That said, he definitely looked more like himself last week against A&M. Smith, on the other hand, probably deserves the Heisman, he is unbelievable. No doubt Stingley will be motivated, but I expect another big week from the unguardable DeVonta Smith.

Health

Given how poorly LSU’s offensive line has played, both Johnson and Finley are probably going to get killed this weekend. It’s key that they remain healthy, as an injury to one of the quarterback is the last thing they need right now.

Stat leader predictions:

Passing; Finley, 11/26, 121 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT.

Rushing; Davis-Price, 16 carries, 47 yards, 0 TD.

Receiving: Gilbert, 5 catches, 45 yards, 0 TD.

For Alabama

Mesh

It’s no secret at this point that LSU’s defense is limited to straight man to man for the sake of simplicity. Bo Pelini has failed to effectively install anything more complicated and LSU has paid for it. Mesh is the go-to concept against such coverages, and it was run very successfully by Miss State in week one. Alabama runs it quite a bit with several variations, I expect to see it all over.

DeVonta Smith for Heisman and more

He won’t get actual Heisman hype, but I believe he deserves it, as he is a better player than both Mac Jones and Kyle Trask. Another big game against Derek Stingley would do wonders for his national stock and propel him into legitimate WR1 discussion with Ja’Marr Chase come the draft. Alabama doesn’t have to worry about anything. This is a tuneup game, and this is the kind of thing tuneups are good for.

The Bryceman Cometh

Alabama has a sleeping giant behind Mac Jones, and that is freshman quarterback Bryce Young. He will likely see the field in this one, and be sure to pay attention when he does. This is a future Heisman finalist in action. I absolutely fell in love with him as a high school player and think he is in waiting to be college football’s next dominant force.

Stat leader predictions:

Passing; Jones, 24/29, 415 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT.

Rushing: Harris, 23 carries, 155 yards, 2 TD.

Receiving: Metchie, 9 catches, 201 yards, 1 TD.