Alabama Football 2013 Season Preview: LSU Tigers

Matthew Stockman

Since 2007 LSU and Alabama are tied at three regular season wins a piece. I wonder what that one outlier game is?

We've already predicted the season's wins and losses for each SEC school, Including LSU's. Now we'll work backwards through the 2013 Alabama schedule and preview each SEC game, ending with Va Tech.

LSU Tigers

What Happened Last Year?

LSU fans won't admit this but the game wasn't as one sided as they'd like to think. Alabama dominated most of the first half taking a 14-3 lead into half-time. Considering it took eight quarters in 2011 to get a touchdown out of either club, Alabama scoring not one, but two TD's in the first half alone seemed insurmountable.

Unfortunately for 'Bama, the 2nd half was a completely different story.Alabama came out in typical post half- time lackluster fashion and LSU took advantage, attacking the Alabama secondary and front seven with deadly efficiency, eventually taking a 17-14 lead late in the 4th.

But then this happened...

Bamagamewinnertd_original_medium

Roll Tide

How Does LSU Look In 2013?

The Achilles heel for the LSU offense in 2012 was a beat up offensive line and an unsure Mettenberger/ Wide Receiving corps. In 2013 however, not only is Mettenberger more seasoned but the projected starters at O-line have started 48 games combined. Only RS Freshman Jerald Hawkins has zero game experience. And with Jeremy Hill being voted back on to the team and a veteran offensive line, the running game will once again be the strength of the LSU offense in 2013.

At Wide-out LSU returns four starters but even with the returning experience there are still question marks about their potential productivity.

ATVS on the LSU Wide Receivers-

The returning starters feature four names we're all pretty familiar with by now: Jarvis LandryOdell Beckham Jr., Kadron Boone and James Wright. Last season, we wondered whether they would be a strength or a weakness without a true, No. 1 go-to guy like Rueben Randle. It was one of the 2012 team's major questions, and frankly, it wasn't answered in a positive.

We've said it several times, but it bears repeating: this felt like a group of complimentary wide receivers without a bona fide, go-to top guy. Now, maybe one of the new guys we'll cover in the next point can be that guy, but that's a lot to ask of a new player. I still think we haven't seen the full ceiling of this group, at least when it comes to Beckham and Landry

The defense is a whole 'nother story all together. Gone from a  solid 2012 defense are Barkevious Mingo, Eric Reid, Kevin Minter, Bennie Logan, Sam Montgomery, Tharold Simon, and Lavar Edwards. You don't just replace that many starters on defense and expect to continue to produce at a high level (that is unless you're Alabama. gumped).

But this isn't Mississippi State we are talking about. No one out works Alabama on the recruiting trail but LSU comes awfully close. And if you think LSU can't reload like Alabama, go read this.

For those of you too lazy to click the link here is a glimpse of the returning LSU linebacking corps.

18 Lamin Barrow (Sr.)*

6-2, 232

104 tackles, 7.5 TFLs, 5 passes break-ups and 2 fumble recoveries.

23 Lamar Louis (So.)*

6-0, 216

13 tackles.

25 Kwon Alexander (So.)*

6-2, 218

12 tackles, 1 TFL and 2 fumble recoveries in seven games.

31 D.J. Welter (Sr.)*

6-0, 226

2 tackles in 1 game appearance.

35 Lorenzo Phillips (RS-Fr.)

6-2, 219

Redshirted.

40 Duke Riley (Fr.)

6-1, 208

124 tackles as a senior at John Curtis High School (3-star recruit).

45 Deion Jones (So.)

6-2, 208

23 tackles, 3 TFLs.

51 Trey Granier (RS-Fr.)

6-1, 227

Redshirted. (Ed. Note: There are some transfer floating around re: Granier at the moment.)

49 Melvin Jones (Fr.)

6-3, 245

125 tackles as a senior at Washington-Marion High School.

52 Kendell Beckwith (Fr.)

6-3, 246

91 tackles, 17 sacks as a senior at West Feliciana High School (4-star recruit).

58 Tahj Jones (Sr.)*

6-2, 205

Missed 2012 regular season on suspension. Started and made 4 tackles in Chick-Fil-A Bowl.


Those aren't scrubs.

And there isn't a dearth of talent at defensive line either. ATVS again on the DL-

On the defensive line, you have three guys you could really consider proven. Eight-to-ten is your ideal rotation number, so who fills it out? Danielle Hunter, Jordan Allen, Christian LaCouture and Quentin Thomas at least have seen the practice field. And then there's the rest of the loaded freshman class: Greg Gilmore, Frank Herron, TaShawn Bower, Lewis Neal and M.J. Patterson. Some of them are going to have to step up, so which ones will?

The problem for LSU in 2013 isn't talent but uncertainty. Yep, ATVS once again-

We have one safety (Loston), one DT (Freak), two lbs (Barrow and Jones) and one corner (Mills) set. The rest of the spots are kinda up for grabs. Of course, Jalen Collins, Kwon Alexander, Jermauria Rasco and Ego Ferguson all have a good amount of playing time, so that should help ease the burden. So what about the rest?

Will all these question marks spell doom for LSU in 2013? I hardly think so. This is still an immensely talented team that could easily string together 10-11 wins. Outside the regular SEC West "gauntlet", the schedule isn't easy with tough games @TCU and SEC East opponents @UGA and UF.

Summing up LSU in 2013: If you are looking past this team you obviously haven't been watching college football for the last 13 years.

How LSU Might Win

Simple — the same way they almost won in 2012. Play solid defense, especially against the pass, run the ball effectively, dink and dunk Alabama's defense down the field and on offense continue to convert easy 3rd downs (they were 50% on 3rd down in 2012).

How Alabama Might Win:

Alabama will have to be Alabama. There are enough question marks on defense for LSU that 'Bama should be able to take advantage in the passing game. Alabama has struggled to stretch the field against LSU but this may be the year all that changes.

If 'Bama's WR's can get loose down field, running lanes should open up for the 18 Alabama running backs to churn out yards.

Honestly, the game will likely come down to the Alabama defense being able to hold the LSU running game to under 130-150 yards. (Note: LSU rushed for 139 yards in 2012.)

What I Think Will Happen:

Shockingly, I believe Alabama to be the better team but this is still LSU we are talking about. The game will once again be a physical contest that is decided in the trenches. For Alabama, there is no A&M waiting in the wings. Beat LSU and a second straight trip to Atlanta is likely and a chance for a 3rd straight BCS National Championship is firmly in sight. Lose and the hope for a three peat is all but gone.

Hope for the best.

08/31/13 vs Virginia Tech Atlanta, GA
09/14/13 at Texas A&M * TV College Station, Texas ?
09/21/13 vs. Colorado State Tuscaloosa, Ala. ?
09/28/13 vs. Ole Miss * Tuscaloosa, Ala. ?
10/05/13 vs. Georgia State Tuscaloosa, Ala. WIN
10/12/13 at Kentucky * Lexington, Ky. ?
10/19/13 vs. Arkansas * Tuscaloosa, Ala. ?
10/26/13 vs. Tennessee * Tuscaloosa, Ala. ?
11/09/13 vs. LSU * Tuscaloosa, Ala. WIN
11/16/13 at Mississippi State * Starkville, Miss. WIN
11/23/13 vs. Chattanooga Tuscaloosa, Ala. WIN
11/30/13 at Auburn * Auburn, Ala. WIN
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