Alabama football: LSU first of two game season to decide SEC West

Happy Monday everyone. Alabama needed a week of rest after a tough stretch that included a close loss on the road followed by a 30-6 win over Mississippi State that drove half the fan base crazy online. They now begin a two-game season to decide the West, opening Saturday as heavy favorites in Baton Rouge.

LSU moved from 20th to 17th in Sunday’s coaches poll after Saturday’s off. Ole Miss moved up from No. 12 in the same poll to No. 10 after escaping College Station with a three-point win over unranked Texas A&M on Saturday night.

Alabama, which had its traditional open week in late October, remained at No. 6 in the coaches poll after last week’s top four teams won and No. 5 Clemson did not play.

Win both and the West is secured. Lose one and your chances of making it to Atlanta are slim to none. It’s so simple.

One of the key questions for LSU is whether their pair of freshmen can hold up against Alabama’s pass rush.

That’s cheating, but both rookies will have to play equally well or LSU’s entire offensive operation will fall apart.

Alabama has the most talented edge rushers in college football with future top-5 NFL draft picks Will Anderson (37 pressures this season, per Pro Football Focus), Byron Young (16) and Dallas Turner (24).

To slow them down, Campbell and Jones will not only need chip help from the likes of Mason Taylor and running back Josh Williams, but they’ll also need to play the best games of their young careers to give the Tigers a chance to move the ball consistently.

QB Jaeden Daniels has a ton of athleticism that has helped tremendously, but these two weeks would be a good time for Will and Dallas to eat. Speaking of Will, he is mentioned on this list of the scariest SEC players of the last 20 years.

Let’s start with the man they call “The Terminator” in Tuscaloosa. Think of all the defensive superstars Nick Saban has coached at Alabama, but Anderson might be his best ever. The Georgia native terrorizes offensive lines and quarterbacks, even through double teams and game plans that surround him. Quick, strong and unblockable, the future first-round pick is as good as it gets and an absolute terror for offensive coordinators looking for answers.

The first playoff rankings come out tomorrow and most believe the Vawls will come out on top.

Yes, we think there’s a good chance the Vols open at No. 1 in the CFP rankings. In addition to this exciting win over Alabama, Tennessee also has easy wins over two other ranked opponents in LSU and Kentucky. Saturday night’s win over the Wildcats showed Tennessee isn’t looking ahead to next week’s potential epic at Georgia. This game will be for the SEC East title and a possible playoff spot, and may also cement Tennessee’s return to the top of the SEC.

Alabama is projected at No. 7 there, which is about right.

Of course, if that pennant stays in the pocket, the playoff landscape will change substantially, and Tennessee will enter the fight for its playoff life this week as an 8-point underdog in Athens.

Say what you will, but it was a damn good corner play to basically freeze the game and put the tide in the cat seat. Hopefully the failure will not be in vain.

As you know, Alabama basketball won an exhibition game over the weekend.

“We didn’t shoot it well,” Alabama head coach Nate Oats said. “I think we’re going to be a pretty good shooting team this year, but for some reason we didn’t shoot it well today. We’ll have to figure out why we don’t look better. We have a nice look, we have to make them. Some of that will come from playing together, our chemistry a little bit better.”

Let’s hope we’re still not talking about bad shooting in February. Nate has put together a roster that should allow for five players on the floor combined, all of whom can make threes if they so desire. Even Charles Bediako said he worked hard on his perimeter shot and got the go-ahead for his shooting.

Finally, the Jalen and Tua show goes on.

Tua threw for 382 yards and three scores as the Dolphins won in Detroit. There was a little Waddle mixed in as well.

Meanwhile, Jalen Hurts became the first QB in Philadelphia Eagles history to start 10-0. It was a quiet day for DeVonta Smith, but Hurts torched the Steelers with four TD passes, including three to AJ Brown. You just can’t throw the ball any better than this.

The work Hurts has put in shows in a big way. I congratulate him.

That’s about it for today. Have a great week.

Roll Tide.

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