[Ed. Note - Corey Andry is another new addition to the team. Even though he grew up in B1G country, his allegiance has been with LSU ever since one of his cousins played for the Tigers. Try to be somewhat nice! Corey's joining the team to provide a national perspective on sports as well as enhance our coverage of X's and O's thanks to his long history with football.
Saturday at 8 P.M. I’ll find myself (an LSU fan) deep in the same conundrum that Buckeye fans are facing with the first top 10 showdown of the college football season. That is to cheer for SEC supremacy or against our most hated rival and Nick Satan himself.
Generally, I reach a solution in such conundrums by logically laying out the pros and cons for my LSU Tigers in the event that either team wins.
This time it’s not so cut and dry. Each scenario has its own benefits for the Bayou
Generally I would be cheering for Alabama. SEC football is like a brotherhood. As with my four brothers, we can pick on each other all we want, but no outsiders are allowed to join in.
I cheer for SEC supremacy almost religiously in non-conference games, and there’s no conference I love to beat like the B1G. I recognize the value of our conference foe’s winning big non-conference games. It was those big wins that (and some fortunate circumstances) that allowed a two loss LSU team a spot in the National Title game in 2007. And it was those big wins that allowed two SEC teams to play for the National Title last year, although that doesn’t seem like such a good thing from my perspective. However, it’s clear that the respect the SEC gains from winning these big games can benefit anyone in the conference.
Usually I would hardly consider the other side of the argument, but in light of what happened last year, it has a more logical appeal. Last year my Tigers lost in their chance at a third National Championship in nine years because Alabama’s only loss was to LSU. Had Alabama lost in any other game, my Tigers would have been crowned champs after demolishing the Oklahoma State track team.
Needless to say, the biggest contest of my weekend may not be between Alabama and Michigan but rather between my SEC pride and my hatred for all things crimson.
My thoughts and predictions
Honestly, I believe a breakdown by matchups reveals an edge in almost every category for the Tide. Rather than speak on each of those, I’ll give you just a couple to watch.
First, the Alabama front line is a massive battering ram. Averaging 314 pounds and possessing better than average speed, they are a force. With a stable of good running backs running behind them, Alabama could easily rush for 200 yards.
However, in the first game of the season, there could be cause for concern with this O-line. Although Barrett Jones is a fourth-year starter and the defending Outland Trophy winner, this is his first go at center. The center is the quarterback of the line. Barrett will have more to think about and execute before the snap than ever before. Maybe that could be a bigger factor than anticipated.
Jones’ old position at left tackle has been filled by uber-talented sophomore, Cyrus Kouandjio. He’s big and very talented but less experienced than the rest of the group. However, Michigan will have to force Alabama to throw it before they can really test Cyrus because most of the Tide’s rushing will be to the right side behind big D.J. Fluker.
Second, the biggest question for Alabama going into the season is their young secondary. Denard won’t be able to do enough with his feet against this fast Alabama defense to win, but if his O-line can keep those Bama blitzes of him, he could expose that young secondary through the air.
In the end I just don't think Michigan has enough athletes to handle the Tide.
My prediction: Bama 28 - Michigan 13