When the LSU Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide meet on Saturday, November 3, the game will help decide the SEC West's eventual winner in addition to influencing BCS bowl matchups.
Many experts are already counting the game as a victory for Alabama. The undefeated Crimson Tide have not scored fewer than 33 points in a game this season and have not allowed opponents to score more than 14. Meanwhile, LSU's offense has struggled at times, managing just 12 points in a win over Auburn and then six points against Florida in the team's only loss so far.
However, as an LSU fan, I am confident that the Tigers will shut 'Bama down and pull off the upset.
Saturday's game is being played in Baton Rouge, giving LSU a clear advantage. The team has won 22 consecutive games in Tiger Stadium, which is a school record and the longest current streak in the nation. The Tigers have been very successful in night home games under head coach Les Miles, compiling a 36-1 record at home on Saturday nights. There is no team in the country who could expect an easy win in Baton Rouge.
LSU will be prepared for this game, partially due to its strength of schedule. Over the last two seasons, the Tigers have defeated 11 teams ranked in the Top 25 , compared to only five wins over Top 25 opponents by Alabama. In 2012, the Crimson Tide have impressive wins over Michigan and Mississippi State, while the rest of their schedule has been fairly easy.
On the other hand, LSU has already traveled to Florida and Texas A&M and has knocked off South Carolina at home. Alabama's SEC East opponents, Missouri and Tennessee, were not nearly as intimidating as the Florida and South Carolina teams appearing on the LSU schedule.
LSU will present the biggest defensive test that Alabama has faced yet this season. The Tigers have held SEC opponents to only 16 points per game and are second behind the Crimson Tide in most of the conference's team defensive stats. LSU is ranked third in the nation in average yards allowed per game and will make things tough for an Alabama team that has gotten used to racking up easy yards.
When Alabama enters Death Valley on Saturday night, it will be the game of the year in the SEC West. I am expecting to see LSU's defense dominate the game to help the Tigers come out with a win. Last year, LSU shocked Alabama on the road during the regular season. Now, it will be time for LSU to avenge the loss in last season's BCS championship by knocking off Alabama at home.
Mike Patton is a sports fan who grew up in New Orleans cheering for the New Orleans Saints, Chicago Cubs and LSU Tigers.