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|Who has the edge?|
By Jake Martin
Christmas comes early for college football fans this year as the No. 1-ranked LSU Tigers travel to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to take on the No. 2-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide.
The main stage is set. CBS announced Sunday that the game will take place in prime time with a 7 p.m. kickoff. Both teams are atop of all the polls and the winner will most likely be playing in the national championship.
This is by far the easiest article I've ever had to write, because this is the biggest regular season college football game of my lifetime. Seriously, how do you give this game any more hype? It's the game every college football fan has been relishing over since the beginning of the season, and the world will be watching when these two teams take the field. One thing has been on every die-hard college football fans' mind all season and that's November 5 -- the date these two were scheduled to meet.
With less than two weeks from this monumental showdown, these are the biggest storylines for the "game of the century."
GAME OF THE CENTURY
Alright, I'm going out on a limb and calling this "epic matchup of proportions" the game of the century. Is this another case of a sportswriter getting way to excited and over-hyping an event? Eh, maybe, but then again, you couldn't script this game any better.
Both LSU and Alabama are mirror-images of one another. They both smother offenses with dominating defenses, steamroll opponents with a vicious running game and have the ability to make big plays with their passing game.
Both teams have dominated opponent after opponent to an unscathed record and won every game by double-digits.
That's all impressive and dandy, but what makes this game between these two undefeated, top-ranked teams the game of the century? Well, given the fact that the past five national champions have all reigned from the SEC and this is a SEC West match-up, that adds a bigger feel to the game. The public has finally accepted the fact that SEC football is on top right now, and when the two best teams in the SEC and the country, for that matter, meet, it's going to be amazing. Another dimension that I'm sure every media outlet will be playing up (as they always do) is the Nick Saban storyline. You've heard it a thousand times, and don't think for a second you won't hear it again. Nick Saban led LSU to a national championship in 2003 and now he's sleeping with the enemy. LSU fans are over it by now, but I'm not too sure the media is.
Finally, the ultimate reason this game is going to be one for the history books is the players on the field and the way they play football. You'll see many of these players playing on Sundays, and they play football the way it was meant to be played. That's grown man football, and these two teams have had that phrase trending in college football all season long.
Which Defense will assert their dominance the most?
If you're expecting a game that will light up the scoreboard with one big offensive play after another, you better check yourself before you wreck yourself.
This game is going to be nasty. It's going to be a grind-em-out affair, and the team that is able to assert their dominance the most on defense will win this game.
It's been the argument all year in a lot of college football fans' minds. Who has the best defense in the nation? Is it LSU or is it Alabama?
Do you go with the pure athleticism and speed LSU presents with play-makers like Tyrann Mathieu, Mo Claiborne, Brandon Taylor, Sam Montgomery and KeKe Mingo? Or do you go with the size, power and raw aggression Alabama presents with Dont'a Hightower, Courtney Upshaw, Mark Barron, C.J. Mosley and Dre Kirkpatrick?
I honestly could list every name on both defenses, because both teams have all-star caliber defenses.
It's no secret that the offenses of these teams will try to bring the safeties in as they pound the ball with Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy for Alabama and Spencer Ware, Michael Ford and possibly Kenny Hilliard now after Saturday's performance for LSU.
Whichever defense can stop the physical running game and refuse to give up big plays through the air will be on the winning side of this affair.
Which team can get to that 17-point mark?
I'm giving both offenses a range of scoring 3-17 points on November 5, and 17 points might be a bit of a stretch. With both defenses being as dominant as they are, if one of these teams can score 17 points that should be enough to get the victory.
LSU and Alabama are going to need to do their best to score on special teams and defense, because I don't know if these offenses can put up multiple scores on the opposing defense.
Should the game come down to who makes the most mistakes, I think LSU has a slight edge in this department. The Tigers have gone five-straight games without a turnover and have an incredible +15 turnover ratio on the year. But then again, this is Alabama's defense we're talking about here.
When these two teams meet, all the statistics will go out the window, and it will come down to which team can execute their game-plan the most and somehow find a way to put points on the scoreboard.
Les Miles vs. Nick Saban
It's the most overplayed storyline in college football, but I've grown to really enjoy seeing Les Miles and Nick Saban coaching across from one another. These two coaches are polar opposites of each other, but their teams' play is nearly identical. Led by a strong offensive line, they dominate the ground game and pick their shots through the air while letting their defense control the pace. Who was I talking about LSU or Alabama?
While their game plans and strategies on the field are a lot in the same, these are two completely different personalities.
One of them eats grass and plays basketball with Scott Van Pelt's shoes, while the other always seems cranky and wants to talk about nothing but X's and O's. Sidenote, those shorts Miles wore in the video will ruin your appetite.
These are two of the best coaches that college football has to offer today, so there's no wonder why these two programs are always in the midst of things when it comes to the BCS.
Both coaches are top notch recruiters, get their players ready to play and their players love to play for them. It shows on the field.
Over the past four years, Miles vs. Saban is always the talk of early November. More importantly, they always have great games, and they're 2-2 against each other.
Which coach will get the edge over the other on November 5?
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