MIAMI (CBSMiami) – When former Miami Dolphins head coach Nick Saban walks onto the field for the BCS National Championship Game Monday night; it’s probably safe to say that every sports bar in South Florida will instantly become LSU supporters.
The BCS National Championship Game is set for an 8:30 p.m. kickoff on ESPN and will feature a rematch of arguably the toughest game of the season, the LSU Tigers versus the Alabama Crimson Tide.
It was roughly two months ago that LSU, ranked number one in the country then and now, rolled into Bryant-Denney Stadium and upset the number two ranked Alabama Crimson Tide. The game came down to two elements: a controversial interception call; and several missed field goals by Bama’s kicker.
The game will feature arguably the two best defenses in college football, again.
Alabama is ranked number one in scoring defense, allowing just 8.8 points per game, according to cfbstats.com. LSU is ranked number two in scoring defense, giving up just 10.5 points per game.
Alabama’s rush defense has been absurdly good this season, ranking number one in the country, allowing just 75 yards rushing per game on 2.5 yards per carry. LSU’s rush defense is ranked third as the Tigers give up just 86 yards per game on 2.6 yards per carry.
Alabama also has the stingiest pass defense in the country, giving up just 116 yards per game. The Tide have also only allowed six touchdown passes this season compared to 12 interceptions. LSU gives up roughly 50 yards per game more, but has 18 interceptions on the season.
Offensively, LSU and Alabama both average more than 35 points per game, according to cfbstats.com. But when it comes to overall offensive production, Alabama is far and away the better of the two teams, averaging 438 yards per game.
For LSU to win the game, they will have to get the running game early to take some pressure off the always unpredictable Jordan Jefferson. Speaking of the quarterback, he will have to play his game and get out of the pocket and on the run for LSU to have a chance.
For Alabama to win the game, they need to establish the running game with Trent Richardson. If the running game can get going, it will open up the play action passing game and allow quarterback A.J. McCarron more time to find his targets.
But McCarron will have to be very careful if he throws the ball downfield; because LSU’s superbly talented secondary will make him pay for any errant throws. Alabama will also have to keep things easy for McCarron to start as he will be playing in a very hostile environment in New Orleans.
As for the head coaches, it will be a matchup of South Florida’s most hated coach, Saban, and the Mad Hatter, Les Miles.
In the five matchup between the two coaches, LSU currently holds a 3-2 advantage over Saban’s Crimson Tide. Miles is the only coach to beat Saban more than once. Additionally, in the three victories over Alabama, the Crimson Tide led after three quarters, according to ESPN.com.
Overall, Saban has a better winning percentage against top-five teams and has never lost a BCS Championship game. Saban won one championship with LSU and one with the Crimson Tide.
The BCS National Championship game kicks off at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN.