Fiu, Cirminiello, Mitchell on TV - Campus Insiders | Buy College Football Tickets

2012 BCS Champ Preview Part 2 Players & More
Posted Jan 9, 2012

The CFN 2012 BCS Championship Preview, Part 2. Players, What Each Team Needs To Do & Prediction

2012 BCS Championship

Alabama vs. LSU

- BCS Championship Preview
- BCS Champ. Preview Part 2 - Top Players & Picks

- Final Thoughts on the BCS Championship - Fiu & Rich
- Final Thoughts on the BCS Championships 2

- Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Receivers | Offensive Lines
- Def Lines | Linebackers | Secondaries | Spec Teams | Coaches

- Cirminiello: Speed Kills
- Harrison: AJ McCarron's Time  
- Zemek: These Two Teams Will Do It Right 
- Johnson: This Should Be Memorable

Why Alabama Might Win: It’s not like the LSU offense is moving the ball, and against this Alabama D, the meltdown isn’t going to come.

Don’t expect anything tricky from the LSU offense; there are no wrinkles that can be added to the mix. The popular belief is that the Tigers will run more option, but Alabama knows that and will certainly be ready. The linebackers can take a few more chances on the outside, because the Tigers aren’t going to do anything between the hashmarks.

LSU’s offense produces by beating up opposing defenses and dominating in the second half. Blast away for a few quarters, and then wait for the tired defensive fronts to lose their legs as the rout is on. Alabama’s 3-4 defensive front is a rock with three NFL-sized defensive tackles working the front, and future pro starting linebackers Dont’a Hightower and Courtney Upshaw able to clean everything up. Throw in safety Mark Barron – a peerless defender against the run – and the very smart, very savvy defense that isn’t going to wear down like LSU needs it to.

Offensively, Alabama has no problems running with a little bit of power. The front line is big, tough, and extremely talented, holding its own well the first time around and generating a little bit of an opening for Trent Richardson. No, it’s not going to beat up the Tiger defensive front, but when it gets big and goes exclusively to the ground game and doesn’t try to get too quirky, it should be able to control the clock. LSU isn’t going to go on any long, time-killing drives, and Alabama has to take advantage by doing some pounding of its own.

But LSU has a defense, too, and there’s going to be little margin for error, meaning the little things could count for everything.

In the first game, LSU committed more penalties (7 to 6), lost the time of possession battle (but barely), and had a harder time converting on third downs. Bama averaged more yards per punt, averaged more yards per kickoff return, and did just about everything a little bit better except kick field goals.

In a game this even, it might come down to all the little things, and this time, Alabama isn’t going to take many chances on deep shot field goal attempts again.

The Tide should be able to do most everything right, but …

Why LSU Might Win: The Tigers lead the nation in turnover margin. It’s not like they needed a ton of help in most games, but the blowouts started to come thanks to a timely punt return or the big turnover.

LSU doesn’t screw up.

Alabama doesn’t turn the ball over – giving it up just 12 times all year –but the defense doesn’t come up with a slew of takeaways. The Tide has come up with just one fumble recovery in the last four games and just one pick in the last three. It might be the No. 1 defense in the nation in all the key categories, but coming up with a few turnovers will be a must. Jarrett Lee threw two of the team’s four picks in the win over Alabama, and the team has given up just four fumbles on the year and just two in the last ten games. If one team is going to make the critical error or the game-changing mistake, it’s not likely going to be LSU.

Possibly the biggest advantage LSU has over Alabama is in the secondary. The Tiger passing game is worse than the Tide’s but for what it does and what it has to do when the chances are there, it’s probably going to be more efficient and effective. LSU has Rueben Randle, one of the nation’s unsung receiving stars, but Alabama’s Marquis Maze can be slowed down. The Tigers have three first-round talents in Morris Claiborne, Tyrann Mathieu, and Eric Reid in the defensive backfield, and they’re not going to give up much of anything. They’ll allow a few yards, but there’s not likely to give up any big plays, and Alabama is going to need a few big passing plays.

Alabama might have the No. 1 run defense in college football, but considering the opposition played, LSU’s is better. The Tigers stuffed Oregon for 95 yards and allowed two rushing touchdowns, giving up just four the rest of the way. No one ran for more than 150 yards, and only four teams passed the 100-yard mark – with Alabama coming up with a mere 96. On the other side, Alabama allowed over 300 yards to Georgia Southern’s option attack, struggling enough to force LSU to at least try to do a little of the same. Alabama’s defensive back eight are smart and tough, but can the inside defenders get to the outside fast enough? That the Tide has had to work on this is a big plus for LSU when it comes to options of what it can do offensively.

What To Watch Out For: It’s this simple. If Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron isn’t better, Alabama won’t win. It’s not that the sophomore was awful the first time around – completing 16-of-28 passes for 199 yards with a pick – but he had to eat the ball a bit too much and he seemed to struggle to come up with the right reads in critical times. The chances were there to change the game around, and he failed to do it time and again.

On the year, McCarron completed 67% of his throws for 2,400 yards and 16 touchdowns with just five picks – throwing two of those in the opener against Kent State – and he picked a great time to be hot with six touchdown passes on 32-of-42 throws in his last two games. He’s going to have to make better decisions, push the ball down the field more, take more chances, and all the while making sure he doesn’t give the ball away.

After missing the first four games of the season after off-the-field issues involving a bar fight, LSU senior quarterback Jordan Jefferson slowly got back into the mix. He got a few plays here and there once the SEC schedule kicked in, but he was clearly the backup. Jarrett Lee threw two picks against Alabama, Jefferson stepped in, and the that was it for the rest of the season.

Jefferson isn’t going to wing the ball all over the yard, but he’s able to connect on the deep balls when needed to take advantage of single coverage, and he’s able to operate the offense with peak efficiency. He has only thrown one pick on the year with six touchdown passes, and while he might have struggled early on in a few games, he ended up leading the team to win after win. Alabama will be fully focused on keeping Jefferson in check and not letting him run the ball effectively, and watch out for him to come out throwing. He’s careful enough with the ball to not force any throws that aren’t there, and he’s accurate enough to be sharp on the midrange passes to keep the Tide linebackers from selling out to stop the run early on.

While the Alabama offensive line struggled in the first game, it wasn’t bad at giving Trent Richardson a little bit of room to move. The Doak Walker winner caught five passes for 80 yards, and he was open for what might have been the game-deciding play in overtime, but McCarron missed him. Richardson also ran for 1,583 yards and 20 touchdowns on the year as the team’s main, and sometime only, weapon who could carry the offense.

Alabama might come up with a slew of difference schemes and ideas on defense, but the offense should be Richardson, Richardson, and more Richardson, daring LSU to stop him. He’s going to have to be patient and he’s going to have to take a slew of one-yard gains as positive, but he has the ability to bust open the game any time he touches the ball. However, he has never done too much against the Tigers, running for just 28 yards and catching a one-yard score in the loss two years ago, and running six times for 27 yards in the 2009 win.

What Will Happen: Nick Saban and his coaching staff will come up with something special for the LSU offense, but it still won’t be enough. The Tigers will shut down the Alabama passing game – picking of McCarron three times – and while Richardson will come up with close to 150 yards of total offense, he’s not going to make any big dashes to turn the game around.

It’ll be another dead even game and It’ll be another defensive slugfest, but this time, LSU’s offensive line will make more of a difference. It won’t flatten the Alabama defense, but it’ll come up with two great drives that lead to – shock of shocks – a touchdown.

Field position will be everything. Both teams will play to try to tilt the field to the other side, with Alabama taking a few more risks at midfield rather than try a long field goal. LSU won’t get any chances to make big plays on special teams – no way, no how Bama lets Tyrann Mathieu return a kick – but it’ll come up with two key turnovers on defense to help offset the lousy starting field position.

Alabama’s offense will rely more on tight end Brad Smelley, who’ll be a true safety valve for McCarron. The problem for the Tide is that the LSU linebacking corps is faster and more athletic, and it’ll take it chances with Alabama throwing over the middle of the field. That will work for a while, and then it’ll lead to interceptions.

And those will lead to LSU’s third national championship in the BCS era.

CFN Prediction: LSU 23 … Alabama 20
- Click For Latest Line From ATS: LSU -1  O/U: 39

Confidence Picks
Fiu Rich Matt Russ Barrett Terry Phil Clucko PICK
LS (24) LS (35) LS (25) LS (21) LS (12) LS (10) AL (1) AL (27) LS (99)

E-mail Pete Fiutak
#CFBnews & #ColFootballNews
There's NO buzz whatsoever for what's going to be the lowest-rated title game since the BCS began. Part of it will be the rematch factor, and part of it will be the pay TV problem. Oh sure, the four-letter types will come up with some stat saying the game set some sort of record, but it's going to take a whale of a sales job to get the sports world interested with the NFL playoffs coming up in a few days. It's a pity, because it'll be a phenomenal game, and yes, the first time around was gripping even if there weren't any touchdowns. Alabama really is a national title-caliber team, but LSU has something charmed and special about its campaign. It's almost like the Tigers are glad to have this rematch if only to show that the first time around wasn't a fluke. However, the Tide has the talent to win this walking away if the LSU offense plays like it did in the first half against Georgia.

By Richard Cirminiello 
Yeah, it doesn’t matter in the world of the BCS, but if ‘Bama wins a close one, would the AP dare give its national championship to LSU?

By Matt Zemek
Call it the BCS National Exhibition Game instead. The LSU Tigers are my 2011 national champion, case closed. No, Alabama, you don’t get a do-over. Not in this sport. Not in the absence of a plus-one (at the very least). You can and should be allowed to WIN or EARN your way into a rematch – that would be great, in fact. However, the current system places teams into politically-arranged rematches. That’s not cool. Not ever. Mind you, all of this would be said with just as much consistency had Alabama beaten LSU. The Tigers would not have deserved a rematch under these same circumstances. It’s all a point of principle. No do-overs in college football. Period.

By: Barrett Sallee
Follow me on Twitter: @BarrettSallee  
Here we go again. For all of the criticism and vitriol spewed by the fans and media, everyone will still watch it because it’ll once again be college football theatre at its best. Alabama will be better prepared this time.

By Russ Mitchell
Really, what's changed since a month ago? LSU could have left points on the field in Tuscaloosa too, if its coach had forced his kicker to try FGs from outside of his range. Instead, Miles punted. LSU's D held Bama to under 100 yards rushing in Tuscaloosa. LSU's special teams were better. LSU's coaching was better. All of those players from both sides return. I suppose four things have changed - LSU has discovered another bruising RB since that game, Bama's Eddie Lacey should be healthy, LSU has moved to more of a one QB system, and the Tigers have more confidence.

By Terry Johnson
Whether or not you oppose the idea of a rematch, LSU will play Alabama for the national title game. Even though the regular season contest ended in a 9-6 game, I have no doubts that both offensive coordinators started preparing for this game the minute after the last game concluded. While it will not be a 39-36 game (as Mike Gundy alluded to), expect both LSU and Alabama to have a much better showing on offense this time around.

By Phil Harrison
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHarrisonCFN
Here we go again. For all of the criticism and vitriol spewed by the fans and media, everyone will still watch it because it’ll once again be college football theatre at its best. Alabama will be better prepared this time.

Best Bowl Moments

Best Crimson Tide Bowl Moment: With an NCAA-record 57 invites and 31 victories, you can make a credible argument for about a dozen different games. By a sliver, the nod here goes to the 1979 Sugar Bowl over the 1993 Sugar Bowl. Both produced national championships, but the 14-7 win over top-ranked Penn State more than 30 years ago featured an epic, game-saving goal line stand from the ‘Bama defense that is etched in the memory of everyone that witnessed it.

Best Tiger Bowl Moment: Look no further than the 2004 Sugar Bowl, a more-dominant-than-the-score-indicated 21-14 win over Oklahoma, which gave LSU a share of its first national championship in 45 years. The Tigers harassed Heisman winner Jason White from the opening drive, getting just enough of an offensive spark from freshman running back Justin Vincent to lift the championship crystal in the Superdome.

BCS Championship Game History
2011 Auburn 22, Oregon 19
2010 Alabama 37, Texas 21
2009 Florida 24, Oklahoma 14
2008 LSU 38, Ohio State 24
2007 Florida 41, Ohio State 14

- Get Tickets For This Game