Monday, January 9, 2012

Alabama vs. LSU--Tiny Edge To LSU

Still don't know why these two are playing tonight in New Orleans.

Didn't LSU settle things definitively the first time in that 9-6 OT victory over Alabama in Tuscaloosa last Nov. 5? Face it.  LSU (13-0) clinched the national championship then. When you finish your regular season undefeated, win your conference championship, beat the No. 2 team on their own home turf, what's left to prove?

LSU is a victim of that BCS numbers game, which has Alabama (11-1) nosing out Oklahoma State for the No.2 spot. That's pure bunk. Instead of rehashing that low-scoring ,TD-challenged snoozefest in Alabama, LSU should be playing Oklahoma State. We'd all be looking forward to that one rather than approaching tonight's game with pure dread. Most of us didn't relish the first battle. Why should this one be any different?

By contrast, fans loved that Alamo Bowl, with the Baylor and Washington offenses raging out of control, trampling hapless defenders. That was great fun. But this game promises to be the anti-Alamo Bowl, with defenses in complete charge.

If you're betting and looking for an edge, you won't find much. These two are pretty evenly matched, with flawless, iron-clad deffenses that are significantly stronger than the offenses they'll be facing. If either of these offenses scores a TD, it'll be lucky. The best offensive player on the field is Bama RB Trent Richardson. He's a battering ram but that tough LSU defensive front won't let him run wild. Having dealt with him not too long ago, they'll know how to handle him.

Most likely this one will be decided by a mistake--a fumble or a pick. Of course, there's no way to predict who'll make the blunder. If you must bet and you're looking for a reason to choose one team or the other, here's a thought: LSU beat Bama on the road and this time LSU, playing in the Superdome, essentially has a home game. If LSU can whip this team on the road they can certainly do it at "home." What's more, LSU won national championship games in the Superdome in 2004 and 2008. They should be able to do it again.

Depending where you bet, LSU is a one-to-three-point favorite. If you must bet, take LSU. The over/under figure is 40. Take the under.