For the 11th time in College Football history, the heated SEC West rivalry between the third-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide and the second-ranked LSU Tigers will be the main feature on ESPN’s College Gameday. This rivalry will be the biggest game of the 2019 College Football season. Not only will this game help determine who will likely win the SEC West, but it lengthens the line between the winner to the other playoff contending teams. This will be the third top-ten SEC matchup in as many weeks. So much of this game in past matchups primarily focused on the defensive performances. This year’s matchup may look to be different in many areas.
College Gameday history between LSU and Alabama
The Alabama Crimson Tide have a huge part of ESPN’s College Gameday football format since the first year the show came on campus in 1994. Alabama has been the focus, along with the team they are facing, for 45 total matchups including National Championship games. In that span, the Crimson Tide have won 30 of those 45 matchups. Of those matchups, the Crimson Tide and the LSU Tigers have met in 10 previous matchups. In those contests that College Gameday featured LSU vs Alabama, the Tide ended up on top in eight of those games. This will be the ninth matchup this Saturday where both teams will be meeting as top-ten ranked teams. Another interesting measure is the factor of home-field advantage. The home teams have accounted for a surprising record of 2-7 in those matchups.
The lone exception was in the 2012 National Championship matchup in New Orleans, Louisiana. Even though the game was a neutral site game, the location highly favored the Tigers. The biggest victory for the Tigers against the Tide overall and College Gameday was on November 5th, 2011. In that game, the Tigers defeated the Tide in Tuscaloosa with a 9-6 score in overtime. These matchups highlighted great, talented and aggressive defenses of the Tide and Tigers. There have only been two times in these 10 games where an offense has scored 30 points or more. Those games were in 2013 when Alabama beat LSU at home 38-17 and in 2015 when Alabama beat LSU at home 30-16.
Tide storylines going into College Gameday
Even though the Tigers are ranked higher at number two, the number three Crimson Tide are favored to win by 6.5 points. The total points predicted in this matchup is around 65 points, more than the past few huge matchups. This is due to the top offenses of both the Tide and the Tigers led by Heisman Trophy contending quarterbacks. This game will need all factors of each team on both offense and defense. There are some big storylines going into this game including the ranking of the teams. The Tigers were chosen at number two due to their ranked wins over Texas, Florida, and Auburn.
The Crimson Tide was voted in at #3 despite their impressive set of dominating wins. The most surprising factor of the first playoff rankings is the Ohio State Buckeyes at #1. Even though if the Tide wins and they found themselves still in control of their destiny, they’ll still feel a lack of respect due to their drop in the rankings. Teams who started out at number three in the College Football Playoff rankings have never made the playoffs. Another key storyline of the game is the injury to Tide quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. He will be a game-time decision for the matchup against the Tigers because of the surgery for his high-ankle sprain. Some surprising news of the week, so far, is the absence of Tigers starting outside linebacker Michael Divinity Jr. due to personal reasons.