Alabama Football: Game No. 9 preview LSU Bengal Tigers

The Alabama Football series with LSU is more than a rivalry. The game results are uncommon in the many seasons when both programs have had competitive teams. The Alabama Crimson Tide has a better winning percentage in LSU road games than it does playing at home. The Tide’s road record against LSU is 29-9-3 for 74.4%. In home games, going back to 1902, Alabama leads the series with a 25-17-2 record.

Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant’s teams had a nine-game run in Baton Rouge between 1965 and 1981 when the Crimson Tide won eight of the road games. In the Nick Saban era, Alabama has not lost in Baton Rouge since 2010. Counting the National Championship game in New Orleans, the Crimson Tide has won its last six games against LSU in Louisiana.

LSU begins anew in 2022 with one of the most respected coaches in college football. Brian Kelly has made every program he has coached better, going back to Grand Valley State. In most cases, team improvement happened quickly.

With LSU coming off a 6-7 season, Kelly should also improve the Bengal Tigers quickly. The question is how much improvement and expectations are unpredictable. Roster upheaval, resulting from the Ed Orgeron ride, is a concern. By Phil Steele’s count, LSU lost over thirty players from the 2020 roster. Kelly brought in 19 transfer players.

Kelly’s team faces a three-week run in October that will define its season. The trio of opponents is Tennessee in Baton Rouge, at Florida and Ole Miss in Baton Rouge. In the first and third of those games, a questionable LSU secondary may not hold up. If LSU wins all three, followed by the annual week off, Alabama will face a confident LSU team in Baton Rouge.

It is a mistake to discount the amount of talent Kelly has in many key position groups. With Ali Gaye and B.J. Ojulari coming off the edges, LSU should have the second-best pass-rushing tandem in the SEC. There is talent in the interior defensive line as well. On offense, Kelly has explosive players in wide receiver, Kayshon Boutte and running back John Emery. Sophomore receiver, Brian Thomas could have a big season.

Alabama Football advantages over LSU

  • Bryce Young and company should light up LSU through the air. The Portal-built LSU secondary will struggle.
  • The LSU offensive line returns some starters, but overall the line is inexperienced. By November, they will have improved, but by how much? Given LSU’s poor performance allowing sacks in 2021, the improvement will not be enough to hold off Crimson Tide pass rushers.
  • Whether it is Jayden Daniels or Garrett Nussmeier, LSU will be settled at quarterback before November. Kelly has spoken highly of Daniels but has not yet chosen a starter. With the Tide’s pass rush and an improved Alabama secondary, Boutte while being one of the best receivers in the nation will not be enough.

Another Baton Rouge win for Alabama Football is an easy prediction. And the score might not be very close.