Crimson Tide ROLLS over LSU in Tuscaloosa

Leonard Fournette has had a run of at least 25 yards in six of LSU’s eight games this year. He has had at least a 31 yard run in four games. But 31 was the total number of rushing yards Fournette was able to muster against Alabama’s defense on Saturday. That includes a long of 18 yards which felt like a 50 yard gain the way the game was going. Fournette only gained 18 yards on his other 18 carries on the night. Most of it wasn’t his fault however. The Alabama front seven dominated the line of scrimmage.

It would have helped Fournette if the passing game had showed up, but I guess it was hard to expect a passing game to show up when one hasn’t really been present all year. The Tigers haven’t asked QB Brandon Harris to do much this year, choosing instead to ride their star running back the way the Dallas Cowboys did DeMarco Murray in 2014. It showed up in this game, as Harris had no shot against an Alabama secondary that has improved compared to its disasters in recent years. Harris threw a great ball on a 40-yard touchdown to keep LSU in the game. Outside of that the passing game was just as bad as the running game.

Nick Saban probably didn’t even need the extra week to prepare for LSU’s offense but with it, LSU didn’t have a chance. They hit a couple big pass plays that lead to points in the first half but otherwise looked like a high school team against Alabama’s defense. The Tigers defense actually held up fairly well in the first half but was grounded down as the game went on as the Tide finished the game basically doubling up LSU in time of possession.

So after this, Alabama is BACK right? Not so fast. I should preface this by saying that Alabama deserves to be in the Top 4 (I have them in my Top 4) and the fact that people say several undefeated’s should be ahead of them simply because of Bama’s loss to Ole Miss is garbage. Sure the Rebels aren’t helping Alabama’s cause in recent weeks, but Ole Miss has three, if not four, first round picks on that team. Ole benefited from one of the flukiest touchdowns you’ll ever see and also won the turnover battle five to zip. They still only won by six. How many other teams could lose by just one score in that scenario like Alabama did? Zero? One? Sure as hell not Iowa.

Alright now that I defended Alabama’s spot in the Top 4, I have to caution any Tide fans out there getting too excited over that LSU win. For years we’ve seen the Tide struggle with the spread/dual-threat type QBs and offenses they run. I would say it’s because they’re front seven is full of players that are huge for their position and can’t move in space. You know what they don’t struggle with? Offenses that try to play in the box and pound it up the middle. Alabama’s defensive front is just bigger and more talented than almost every other team’s. The last decade of recruiting rankings can tell us that. Throw in that scenario with Nick Saban having an extra week to prepare against a power offense that’s also one-dimensional and it was a disaster waiting to happen.

The Crimson Tide have a pretty easy path to the playoff now. They play Mississippi State who has Dak Prescott and little else and then Auburn, who has done their best USC impression this year. After beating whatever helpless team comes out of the SEC East, Alabama may even find themselves as the favorite to win the playoff again. But that’s where the Tide will let their fans down again. They won’t get to face the LSU-type offenses once they get in the playoff. They’re looking at possible games against teams like Clemson, Baylor, Ohio State, and Oklahoma State. And they’d have to win two games in a row against spread offenses. I wouldn’t bet my money on that. So fans in Tuscaloosa better enjoy these next few weeks, because they might be looking at another offseason of “SEC=overrated” venom from the rest of the nation.

Quick Hitters

  • Navy’s win over Memphis Saturday not only put Memphis bid as the top-ranked Group of Five team on life support, it also jump-started Navy’s push for the same spot.
  • Baylor barely survived against K-State, but anytime you can get a conference road win on a week night, you have to take it, especially in Manhattan, KS. The Bears get their first real test this weekend against Oklahoma, and I think they stay undefeated.
  • Ohio State’s offense struggled with Cardale Jones starting which means JT Barrett will get the starting QB gig back when he returns from suspension, and that’s probably a good thing for the Buckeyes long-term.
  • Another referee fiasco led to Michigan State suffering their first loss off the season. First of all, don’t give up 33 points to Nebraska (before that last touchdown). Second of all, it probably means little in the grand scheme of things. The Spartans will have to beat Ohio State and Iowa to get to the playoff anyway, and whether the Spartans finished 13-0 or 12-1 with a Big Ten title they probably would make the playoff.

Top 4

Baylor
Clemson
Ohio State
Alabama