Alabama and LSU square off Saturday after College GameDay.
The ESPN College GameDay crew didn’t have much of a choice in picking a landing spot in Week 10 thanks to an SEC showdown between the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide and No. 13 LSU Tigers.
Nick Saban‘s Crimson Tide sit as the front-runners for the College Football Playoff, while the Tigers look rejuvenated and undefeated under the guidance of new head coach Ed Orgeron.
Rece Davis, Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard, David Pollack and others will preview the war of wills between LSU running back Leonard Fournette and the Alabama defense before the game gets underway later in the evening.
Here’s a look at the pertinent information surrounding the show and game itself.
College GameDay Week 10 Info
Get ready, Baton Rouge! Next week, we're headed to Death Valley for Alabama-LSU. pic.twitter.com/3hGNSWuySz
— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) October 30, 2016
Date: Saturday, November 5
Time (ET): 9 a.m. to noon; game is at 8 p.m.
Location: Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Watch: ESPN; game is on CBS
Fans of both sides need to pay close attention to Corso Saturday morning—he’s on a five-game streak with his headgear picks.
Though this matchup might seem a bit lopsided for a once-proud rivalry right now, Corso has reason to possibly don the LSU headgear. While the Tigers are only 5-2, the team hasn’t lost since Orgeron took over for Les Miles, and any team at home with Fournette in the backfield is formidable.
Fournette hasn’t overly impressed this year compared to his past two campaigns, but last time out he dropped a ridiculous 284 rushing yards and three touchdowns on then-No. 23 Ole Miss.
Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Interestingly enough, this clashes with last year in dramatic fashion—when the Crimson Tide beat the Tigers 30-16 last season, the elite defense held Fournette to 31 rushing yards and a score on a 1.6 yard-per-carry average.
Still, Saban hasn’t been one to ignore what Fournette pulled off against Ole Miss.
“I haven’t really seen a guy dominate a game like he did that game for a long time,” Saban said, according to ESPN.com. “We have a tremendous amount of respect for him, and he looks as good as ever and maybe even better.”
Much as Saban might respect the opposition, his defense hasn’t left much to the imagination. Only two opponents have scored more than 20 points on the unit this year. Ranked USC, Tennessee and Texas A&M teams score 14 or fewer.
The offense has used the time bought by the defense to develop. Jalen Hurts has now completed 63.2 percent of his passes with 12 touchdowns to five interceptions while adding another 521 yards and nine scores on the ground.
Going on the road against an LSU team is quite a bit different than what Hurts has experienced so far, but he’s as ready as he can be at this point. Alabama won’t go away from what has worked all year—and last year against LSU.
One would think at home, knowing full and well what the opponent will do, LSU could gain an advantage and secure a win.
Yet according to Odds Shark, Alabama sits as the favorite by a touchdown or a little more.
Which team will win
Which team will win
Indeed, it seems LSU’s chances are of the Fournette-or-bust variety. If he can’t consistently gash the Crimson Tide defense, Alabama will control the clock and eventually win. This means going against a stacked box because the Crimson Tide once again don’t have to worry about an outside passing attack.
Look for Alabama to use the same approach as last year to get the eventual win. While LSU continues to show a positive upward trend as of late, it doesn’t change the current construction of both rosters. Alabama is deeper, more versatile on offense and has already shown an ability to shut down what the Tigers do best.
Prediction: Alabama 27, LSU 20
Stats and information via ESPN.com unless otherwise specified.
Follow Chris Roling (@Chris_Roling) on Twitter.