Throughout the 2010s, the rivalry between Alabama and LSU was one of the best in college football. Alabama football was easily the class of the college football world, and LSU was its stiffest competition in the SEC West in most seasons. In some years, they were the closest thing to Alabama in the entire SEC, or even the nation.
In the Nick Saban era, Alabama is 12-4 in 16 games against LSU. Prior to the disastrous 2020 season for the Tigers, every one of those games featured two ranked teams. 14 ranked matchups in a row. In nine of those contests, both teams were ranked in the top-10. This includes six top-5 matchups and four top-3 matchups.
Alabama Football: Another ranked matchup in Death Valley
This weekend’s game will not have a “Game of the Century” feel, but the aura surrounding the game feels a lot more like it should. It will be a top-15 matchup in the AP and a top-10 matchup in the College Football Playoff rankings. This will be the first Alabama-LSU game for which the Tigers are ranked since the 2019 shootout in Tuscaloosa.
While a lot of SEC conversation this week will be surrounding a top-5 matchup in the East, Alabama-LSU could very well decide the West. This game carries heavy postseason implications for both teams for the first time in three years.
Alabama Football: What kind of game will this be?
The Crimson Tide has controlled this series since Nick Saban took over in Tuscaloosa. Although Bama has typically won the game, there is a wide disparity in how these games typically play out.
There have been four blowouts in which Alabama won by at least 21 points and as many as 45 points. There have also been several instant classics. Eight of the 16 games have been decided by one possession, including three overtime games. It will be interesting to see if the 2022 matchup will be another nail-biter.
Alabama football has been particularly tyrannical in Baton Rouge, winning five straight in Death Valley. The last three matchups have yielded a 94-10 total score.
The Alabama defense has dominated this rivalry. With the exception of the outlier 2019 game, LSU has not scored more than 17 points against Alabama since 2010, regardless of location. Bama shut out the Tigers in the 2012 national championship game, as well as in games in Baton Rouge in 2016 and 2018.
The LSU offense seems to be finding its stride, posting 45 points and over 500 yards in back-to-back SEC wins over Florida and Ole Miss. The Alabama defense will have to shut down some elite receivers, as well as a dual-threat quarterback that is playing with a lot of confidence right now.
The LSU defense has been average at best, particularly against the run. Still, the Alabama offense has shown a propensity to shut itself down against mediocre defenses over the last two years. The Crimson Tide is coming off of a game in which it averaged 1.1 yards per carry against a Mississippi State team that is still just the no. 87 YPC defense in the country. The Bama offense will have opportunities to put up numbers, but it can’t self-sabotage.
As a team, Alabama has to come out fiery and hateful. If it continues to allow opposing venues to impact its play, Tiger Stadium could eat the team alive.
For Alabama football fans and college football fans alike, it will be exciting to see a pivotal rivalry game in Death Valley once again.
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