The rematch has been set for some time and finally the BCS National Championship is upon us. No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama will play for the right to be called the nation's best on Monday night. The game is scheduled for an 8:30 p.m. kickoff and will be televised nationally on ESPN. Currently the odds have Alabama favored in this matchup by two points at several books. LSU opened as a 1-point favorite across the board but isn't favored anymore. The total for the contest is currently sitting at 40.5 points.
Free Analysis: For the first time in a national championship game, we have two schools from the same conference. In the first meeting earlier this season between the two clubs, LSU out-kicked Alabama to a 9-6 victory in Tuscaloosa. This time around, experts and the coaches themselves are expecting more touchdowns to be scored in the game. While it's a very controversial rematch between two high profile teams, both teams have admitted they wanted to face the other again. Playing on a national stage for the trophy is a big deal and LSU is playing very close to home in this matchup. While many consider this to be a huge defensive matchup because of the first game, the Tigers team ended up averaging 38.5 points per game for the season. Outside of scoring only nine points against Alabama, LSU outscored opponents 491-131 this season. However, both defenses really are for real. The Tide gave up just 191.3 yards per game to opponents this season, best in the country. LSU wasn't far behind, giving up just 252.1 to teams this season. The question usually with clubs that have two QBs is which one does the team start. However, LSU quarterbacks Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee split time this year and combined for nearly 2,000 passing yards and 20 TDs. LSU also ran up 215-plus yards per game on the ground this season. The Tigers have two 700-yard rushers on the team in Michael Ford (755) and Spencer Ware (700). Defensively, the Tigers became the first school ever with two first-team All-American cornerbacks in Tyrann Mathieu and Morris Claiborne. Mathieu put himself in the Heisman Trophy consideration for a long time and he also is dynamic in the punt return game. What sets the LSU defense apart from Alabama is the ability to cause teams to turn the football over. The Tigers finished at +22 in the turnover margin this season. The two cornerbacks definitely were helped by a powerful pass rush that recorded 37 sacks, led by ends Sam Montgomery (9 sacks) and Barkevious Mingo (8 sacks). Crimson Tide running back Trent Richardson is going to have to have a much better game than he did the last time around. He did, however, pace the Tide in their final three games, rushing for over 500 yards, helping his team outscore opponents 111-42. On the season Richardson finished with 1,583 rushing yards and was fifth nationally with 20 TDs. Defensively for the Tide, Courtney Upshaw is a beast, recording 8.5 sacks and 17 stops behind the line of scrimmage while Dont'a Hightower had more than 80 tackles, and 9.5 tackles for loss. If Alabama is to win this game, they have to get a big game from quarterback A.J. McCarron. He was sacked twice and threw a pick in the Crimson Tide's loss earlier this season. I think the balance on both sides of the ball are going to benefit LSU in this contest. They've already won in Tuscaloosa without giving up a touchdown. I'm expecting another big game from the defense of the Tigers tonight.
Free Pick: I like LSU getting 2 points, especially when they've already proven that they are the better team on the field. If the Tigers defense can come ready to play against the great balance of Alabama, we could have another great game. Richardson is a beast, but the LSU defense was able to keep him at bay, rushing for less than 90 yards in their previous matchup. It was close the first time around and there's really no reason to suspect it being any different this time. LSU's ability to force teams to turn the football over will be a huge advantage in this game. It's not going to be a field goal barrage again, but we're not expecting a game with each team in the 40s either.
Free Picks: LSU vs Alabama Betting
Lowest total in BCS title game history and Oddsmakers opened LSU favorite, betters say otherwise plus other factors college football bettors need to know about LSU vs Alabama (Monday, January 9, 2012) from Pregame.com - Including predictions from Vegas Runner and analysis from host RJ Bell.