Last year, these two teams gave us the two most anticipated games of the year, and this season isn't much different. Alabama and LSU boast two of the top defenses in the game, ranking first and third, respectively, in total defense. The Crimson Tide have a slight edge on offense, with quarterback A.J. McCarron leading the nation in pass efficiency. However, while Alabama has blown away the opposition by an average of over 37 points per game, they have played just one ranked team and aren't as battle-tested as an LSU squad that is playing its fourth consecutive ranked opponent and has had a bye week to prepare.
This week’s rankings will look very different when the new AP Poll comes out following a Saturday full of upsets. Four Top Ten teams fell this week and five ranked teams suffered their first losses of the season. Meanwhile, Collin Klein and Manti T’eo boosted their Heisman chances while Alabama, Oregon, Kansas State and Notre Dame continued to make their case for a shot in the national title game.
After steamrolling through its first seven opponents, the Crimson Tide now gets to the meat of its schedule with a three-game stretch vs. #13 Mississippi State, at #6 LSU and vs. #22 Texas A&M. Thus far, Alabama hasn’t really been challenged, outscoring its opponents by almost 33 points per game. The Tide defense has been as good as we’ve seen in years, ranking first in almost all defensive categories. But while the defense understandably gets the publicity, the Alabama offense has been no slouch either, scoring 40+ in five of seven games this year. Quarterback A.J. McCarron leads the nation in pass efficiency and the offense ranks 14th nationally in scoring.
Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron threw for a career-high 306 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Crimson Tide to their third straight win over Tennessee, the longest such streak in this series since 1992. Alabama’s defense continued its dominance, holding the Vols to just 79 rushing yards and limiting Tyler Bray, the SEC’s second-leading passer, to just 184 passing yards and two interceptions.
After rushing for just 71 total yards in the Tigers’ six previous games, freshman running back Jeremy Hill exploded for 124 yards and two touchdowns to lead LSU to its first home conference win of the year. South Carolina actually led 14-10 with less than 11 minutes to play in the game before LSU rattled off 13 unanswered points in the game's next six minutes.
While there aren't as many marquee games as last week, we have several intriguing matchups to look forward to this weekend. Saturday features four games between ranked opponents, including one top 10 game in the SEC. Additionally, 14 of the 22 ranked teams in action this weekend are playing road or neutral-site games. So this could be another weekend to be on upset alert.
Former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky will spend the rest of his life behind bars after being sentenced Tuesday to 30 to 60 years in prison for his role in the Penn State sex-abuse case. Sandusky was convicted in June on 45 counts of child sex abuse for molesting and raping 10 boys over a 15-year period, with some of the attacks taking place inside Penn State athletic facilities.
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images
For a week that was supposed to be lacking in big games or traditional rivalries, this week sure gave us a lot of excitement. West Virginia and Baylor showed us an offensive shootout for the ages. Stanford became the latest Top Ten team to bite the dust. And Texas and Nebraska both needed fourth quarter comebacks to keep their conference title hopes alive.
We've had our first round of big upsets, with Arkansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma State and Wisconsin all falling out of the Top 25. And with some big games on tap next Saturday (Clemson vs. Florida State, Kansas State vs. Oklahoma, Michigan vs. Notre Dame), a bunch of big names better not get caught looking ahead this week.
Here is what to watch for in college football this weekend.
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