Alabama Football: Comparing the Tide and LSU position groups

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Alabama football and LSU are two talented teams. Comparing the position groups shows some clear talent advantages for the Crimson Tide.

Measuring talent between Alabama football and LSU begins with a look back at elite recruits. There is some hit-and-miss with recruit rankings. How players are developed by their college teams is vitally important. Still, most 5-Stars and highly rated 4-Stars deserve their elite status when entering college.

Objective analysis of the Nick Saban built, Alabama football program credits the Tide with being excellent at talent identification and talent development. All those No. 1 Crimson Tide recruiting classes have been cornerstones for a college football dynasty.

In the last four recruiting classes, 2015-2018, Alabama football has signed 17, 5-Star players. In the same period, LSU has signed seven.

From that LSU group of seven 5-Stars, the Bengal Tigers 2018 roster has two starters and two backups. Out of its group of 17, 5-Stars, the 2018 Crimson Tide roster has eight starters and three backups. In addition, Alabama football has another starter who was one of the top 4-Star signees in LSU’s 2016 class. The elite player talent gap between the two teams is considerable.

Both teams also have formerly 4-Star and 3-Star players now playing at a high level. The Alabama Crimson Tide is blessed with talent. So is LSU, just not in quite the same numbers.

How the teams compare – by position groups

What follows is a subjective assessment.

  • Quarterback – Big advantage, Alabama
  • Running Backs – Big advantage, Alabama
  • Wide Receivers – Advantage, Alabama
  • Tight Ends – Advantage, Alabama
  • Offensive Line – Advantage, Alabama – This is close to another ‘Big’ advantage but LSU is getting one of its most experienced offensive linemen, Garrett Brumfield back after missing four games with a knee injury.
  • Defensive Line – Advantage, Alabama –  LSU lost its best edge rusher, K’Lavon Chaisson in the preseason and has not found a comparable replacement.
  • Linebacker – Advantage, Alabama in the first-half with Devin White out. We’ll call the second half a slight edge to the Bengal Tigers.
  • Cornerbacks – Advantage, LSU – Greedy Williams and Kristian Fulton are great DBs, especially Williams but the Tide is not as far behind them as the experience level suggests.
  • Safeties – Advantage, LSU. Call this a very slight advantage, simply due to McKinney’s inexperience. LSU’s Grant Delpit is a great player but Deionte Thompson is better than either LSU safety.
  • Punter – Advantage, LSU – Maybe even a big advantage, given Tiger Stadium and the pressure on the Tide’s unproven punters. Although Bernier looked capable against Tennessee.
  • Placekicker – Advantage, LSU – Probably closer to a big advantage because of Cole Tracy’s consistency.
  • Kick Returner – Advantage, Alabama
  • Coaching – Big advantage, Alabama – Even so, LSU defensive coordinator, Dave Aranda is a tremendous coach.

The overall conclusion from reviewing the position groups is the Crimson Tide has a significant advantage. Unless Alabama football gifts LSU with a bunch of turnovers and the game comes down to a kicking contest – the Alabama Crimson Tide should win by double-digits.

Three Threats to Crimson Tide Success. dark. Next

Perhaps too much optimism is testing fate. Nick Saban (of course) had a more moderate assessment on Monday when he said the Crimson Tide will learn a lot about itself on Saturday night.