After watching and enduring so many ‘two-hand-touch’ style football games that nearly need an IBM Super Computer to tabulate all the offensive statistics and records, we finally get a ‘tackle’ style of football game. 

 

Granted, I like the ‘over’ as detailed in Tuesday's article, but even a game of 50 points total with solid defensive play and fundamentally strong tackling and execution will be a welcomed relief. One thing is for certain, the SEC will make it six straight BCS Championships and one of these teams will have two of those six wins. 

Since these are the two best teams in the nation, as measured by the BCS, let’s take a look at the team comparison; each unto its own. 

Jordan JeffersonOffensive team comparison 

The biggest difference between the two teams is that the Alabama Crimson Tide has a more balanced offensive scheme. Alabama runs the ball 57% and throws 43% of all plays run this season. By comparison, LSU runs the ball 67% and throws just 33% of all plays run this season. 

Both teams will need to have a more balanced attack, which obviously means that the quarterbacks will have to execute far Better than in the first meeting. ‘Bama running back Richardson averaged 15.3 rushing yards on the three carries he had out of the ‘bunches’ formation, which served to spread the field and get the excellent LSU linebackers positioned away from the middle of the field. 'Bama will use this formation again, but will throw more pass plays from it than in the first meeting, serving to keep the LSU defense honest and having to respect Richardson gashing the middle of the LSU defense. 

The bunch formation will feature two wide receivers and a tight end on the strong side of the offensive formation. Based on what I saw in the first game, ‘Bama quarterback McCarron and offensive line must be aware of the backside of the LSU defense getting out of position when they run the ‘bunches’ formation. If LSU Tiger Mathieu cannot track Richardson in this formation Alabama puts WR Marquis Maze in motion. This movement will force Mathieu to respect the possible reverse to Maze, who will be circling behind for the reverse handoff. In an option type of play, McCarron must know if Mathieu is overcommitted to the run and if so he must then pitch it to Maze for the reverse that will have big play potential. 

There are two areas that make LSU not only one of the best defenses in the nation, but one of the best all-time. Their defensive front and the back-end are tremendous with all players possessing elite speed, quickness, size, and most importantly gap discipline. They also rotate players along the defensive front and these ‘subs’ would be starters on 95% of the other teams in the FBS. 

The ability to substitute players will have to be negated by the ‘Bama offense scheme with periodic no-huddle series of plays, once they have the matchups they want on the field. 

Completion percentage 

Alabama has the advantage in this category with a completion rate of 66% as compared to LSU’s completion rate of just 60%. However, in the first game it appeared that McCarron was overwhelmed by the speed of the LSU defense and pass rush and was forced into poor decisions. This statement is partly true as it was more that he was intimidated and panicked too may times, when he actually had more time to make the correct read and throw. 

No play stands out more in my mind than the one he completely missed in a wheel route to Richardson in Alabama’s second-to-last offensive play in overtime. Richardson was wide open and McCarron failed to deliver the ball to Richardson in what may have been a game winning touchdown. Of course we will never know if that would have have given them the win, but it certainly would have changed the flow of the overtime period. 

So, McCarron will have had all of this time to study the game films of every LSU regular season game and will know that it was more his failure to execute than the LSU ferocity that lost Alabama the first game. These are all reasons why I see this game being an ‘over’ play where the adjustments can be made to exploit the defenses. 

LSU has two solid quarterbacks that have picked each other up during the bad times in games this season. The Alabama defense was not good defending the option in the first game. In the first game, the LSU option running plays gained 4.2 more rushing yards per attempt than the power-O formations that were run. 

Since Jefferson has become the full-time starter, LSU has run about 22% more option plays and from a number of different formations. Alabama’s stud defenders Hightower and Johnson are tenacious defenders against the run but lack athleticism, moving laterally and getting through offensive line traffic to make tackles in space. Moreover, I point to the game against option running Georgia Southern, who carved up Alabama for 302 rushing yards earlier this season. 

I will be releasing a 20* play on the side as part of my college football picks for this BCS Championship game and it will be found on the NCAA Football with John Ryan thread Monday and with complete research backing the play featuring the simulator projections, proven money making and time-tested systems and game situations.