It’s 2011, number one Alabama played number two LSU, where terms like game of the century were thrown around.
The Tigers beat the Crimson Tide in the regular season, then Bama returned the favor in the BCS National Championship. This brings me to my first point, whatever happens Saturday in Tuscaloosa, it is still likely that both of these powerhouses will be playing in the CFB Playoffs. The winner of this game will win the SEC, if both Heisman candidates stay healthy.
I want to take a deep dive into both Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa and their teams as a whole. Joe Burrow has thrown for 30 touchdowns while only throwing four interceptions and has a QBR of 91.5. The Tigers’ offense is a top three offense in the NCAA compared to the Tide being eighth overall.
Depending on how Burrow performs against Bama, this could very well put him as a front-runner for the Heisman Trophy. Depending on which team has the number one pick, Burrow can easily go first overall. Burrow’s draft stock has rose drastically this year because of his performance.
I think Joe Burrow is the better quarterback prospect and has the tools in his arsenal to succeed. Burrow has played top teams and defenses, like sixth ranked Florida, 11th ranked Auburn, and Texas. With the help of passing coordinator Joe Brady, Burrow has looked like an unstoppable quarterback this season.
This LSU team is scary all around and will cause a lot of problems for the man who leads the offense for the Crimson Tide. Tua Tagovailoa had one of the best comeback wins in the national championship against Georgia that cemented his legacy forever. This year he has thrown for 2,166 yards, 27 touchdowns and two interceptions with a NCAA best 95.6 QBR.
Tagovailoa has destroyed opposing defenses in his two-year tenure and has accomplished many things in his collegiate career. Unfortunately, when Tua has played top-30 defenses, his stats decline significantly. In the 2018 season against top 30 defenses, Tua threw for six touchdowns and six interceptions and had a completion percentage of 58.
Against non-top 30 defenses, he threw 37 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Don’t get me wrong, Tua is an elite college quarterback, but it raises the question is he as good as we think he is? I am in the club of people who believe Tua should have won the Heisman last year, but these stats are very alarming to me.
Tua has had some nice wins on his resume, but against teams like Clemson, Georgia, and LSU not so much. In the SEC championship game, Tua was injured and was bailed out by Jalen Hurts. Clemson exposed Tua by disguising coverages and sending blitz that caused him to make bad reads and throw picks.
With weapons like: Jerry Juedy, Henry Ruggs, Jalen Waddle and DeVonta Smith, it is hard not to succeed. These wide receivers, not to mention the running backs, are explosive playmakers that can score with ease. This can sometimes hinder Tua’s patience with drives, and instead of making the easy check down, he slings it to a playmaker like Juedy on the outside.
Alabama’s closest game this year was Tennessee and really hasn’t been put in situations to come from behind and in game winning drive scenarios. LSU will be a true test for Bama and Tua as a whole, and the nation will see who Bama truly is this year. I am not hating on Tua and I think he can get the job done.
Tua’s injury in big games have cost Bama in some situations, and that terrifies me. I am only merely stating facts, and sadly statistics do not lie. I am truly intrigued to see what happens this Saturday in Tuscaloosa. I think it will be a tough, gritty, and competitive game that will live up to the hype.
This game has to be a do or die game for Alabama because there is no clear path to the playoffs. If LSU loses to Bama in a close game, there is a big chance they can still make the playoffs. Alabama was ranked number three in the first college football rankings and three does not have the best history behind it.
No teams ranked number three in the initial rankings have made the playoffs, and that is why it is so crucial for Bama to win.
By Bailey Biddle, Mocs News, Beyond the Bench Podcast