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LSU-Alabama Rematch Guarantees Another National Title for SEC Team
Photo - CB Tyrann Mathieu - LSU
The much anticipated rematch of #1 LSU and #2 Alabama is finally here after a long bowl season. The BCS national title game has built to a fever pitch over the past month with two teams that guarantees the 6th consecutive SEC national title winner. This classic title game has all the makings of another tough slugfest that features two standout defenses. The regular season’s Game of the Century was a classic old time battle where both clubs displayed a strong physical presence and dominant defenses that attack the line of scrimmage. LSU prevailed 9-6 in overtime as Alabama as the Tide missed four FGs. No team scored a TD in the SEC clash in Tuscaloosa. That’s quite a contrast to the wild weekly shootouts in college football recently.
Each title game club likes to run the ball and play field position while relying on efficient QB play. The defensive play of both teams is worth the price of admission. Each club is battle tested after surviving the tough SEC West Division that features both LSU and Alabama, in addition to Arkansas. They could all finish in the top five nationally after tonight. The winner tonight has the claim to undisputed #1 national ranking. Winning the SEC has translated into 5 consecutive national titles. Tonight’s matchup guarantees another SEC national title winner.
One of the keys to this game will Bama star tailback Trent Richardson who had an impressive performance in the first matchup. Richardson ran for 169 yards in the November loss. He has been the catalyst for many Tide victories over recent years that warranted high Heisman Trophy award consideration. He rushed for 20 TDs with almost 1000 rushing over the second half of the 2011 season. Another big effort tonight could spell the difference in the title contest. The LSU front seven will be fully tested by Richardson and may be the critical deciding factor in the outcome.
Both LSU and Alabama have incredible secondaries that already rank with NFL defenses. This game features potentially five #1 defensive back picks from both clubs over just the next two draft classes. Tiger corners sophomore Tyrann Mathieu and junior Morris Claiborne have been huge impact defenders over the 2011 season. He has been a difference maker in virtually every game especially key matchups. Both teams have had weeks to prepare that has contributed to the hype of this classic late season matchup.
Prediction - LSU 16 - Alabama 13
Game Within the Game Matchup
LSU Receiver Rueben Randle vs Alabama Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick
Great matchup of two future high #1 NFL Draft picks, maybe this April. This game features countless high draft selections especially on the defensive side of the ball. There could be as many as 8 defensive backs in this game that starting eventually in the NFL.
Wideout Rueben Randle is a former five-star recruit entering LSU who struggled over his first two seasons. He had a major breakout season despite QB changes for the Tigers in a rotation of starters. He has benefitted from more consistent play at QB that has allowed him to start to realize his enormous athletic potential.
Randle has put up new career receptions total and ranked among the SEC leaders in receiving TDs despite double coverage. He has a big lean 6’4’’, 205 lb frame with a great skill set for the position. He has the vertical speed to get deep consistently and the agility, hands and run after the catch ability to take the underneath passes and make a big play.
Bama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick has rare physical skills for the position. He has great size at 6’3” and plays a physical brand of fotoball that HC Nick Saban plays and demands. He has an NFL safety body with cornerback athleticism and skills. His combination of size, hands and speed ranks him the top cornerback currently with the development to be one of the blue chip prospects for the NFL Draft 2012. Defenders Mark Barron and Robert Lester may be the best two safetie in the nation. Linebackers Don’t’a Hightower and Courtney Upshaw are NFL ready after being battle tested in the Nick Saban scheme and tough SEC.
Frank Coyle is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Thorpe etc for the past 18 years. He writes College Football Mondays weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game.