Alabama Crimson Tide vs LSU Tigers Preview

Top-ranked Alabama is soaring toward the College Football Playoff and seeks its 21st consecutive victory when it visits No. 13 LSU on Saturday (Enter Contest). The Crimson Tide are also atop the first CFP poll of the season but will have to overcome the loss of senior star safety Eddie Jackson (broken leg) down the stretch. The team has scored a stunning 12 non-offensive touchdowns (nine on defense, three on punt returns) during its dominating campaign but is certainly wary of the Tigers, who are 3-0 since interim coach Ed Orgeron replaced Les Miles. It’s something that Nick Saban’s made clear his squad won’t be overlooking this weekend.

ABOUT ALABAMA (8-0, 5-0 SEC)

Jackson has scored three of the Crimson Tide’s 12 non-offensive touchdowns. Losing his 23.0 average on punt returns will cost the squad some of the field-position advantages it has enjoyed. The defense’s other major star are still around though. Senior defensive end Jonathan Allen has six sacks to raise his career total to 24, one behind second-place Kindal Moorehead (1998-2002) on Alabama’s all-time list. The Crimson Tide have forced 16 turnovers this season with nine resulting in defensive touchdowns.

Freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts has accounted for 20 touchdowns (11 passing, nine rushing) this season. Sophomore running back Damien Harris has a team-leading 697 rushing yards and sophomore wideout Calvin Ridley has 43 receptions for 504 yards and five scores. Alabama has won the past five meetings, holding a 50-25-2 series edge.

ABOUT LSU (5-2, 3-1)

LSU junior running back Leonard Fournette is back on his game after dealing with an ankle injury earlier this season. He’s set a school record with 284 rushing yards in a victory over Ole Miss on week 8. Fournette has rushed for 670 yards and five touchdowns despite a three-game absence. He hasn’t forgotten that his 2015 Heisman hopes were squashed against the Crimson Tide when he had just 31 yards on 19 carries. The Tigers are 15-4 when Fournette rushes for 100 yards and 5-0 when he tops 200.

Sophomore Derrius Grice is also running well with 621 yards and seven scores while junior quarterback Danny Etling has thrown for 1,129 yards and seven touchdowns against three interceptions. The Tigers are allowing 15 points per game, which ranks fifth nationally. Thanks in large part to sophomore outside linebacker Arden Key (team-high eight sacks) and senior middle linebacker Kendell Beckwith (team-leading 69 tackles) who are enjoying solid campaigns.

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Texas A&M (6-0) vs Alabama (7-0)

Even the tougher opponents are finding it hard to compete with top-ranked Alabama, which looks for its 12th straight victory over ranked programs when it hosts No. 6 Texas A&M in Saturday’s SEC showdown (Enter Games of the Week Contests). The Crimson Tide are looking for their 20th consecutive overall win and are coming off a complete dismantling of then-No. 11 Tennessee as they delivered a 49-10 shellacking. Alabama has scored an amazing 11 non-offensive touchdowns (eight on defense, three on punt returns). Unbeaten Texas A&M is Alabama’s lone remaining challenger in the SEC West.

ABOUT TEXAS A&M

The Aggies lead the SEC in total offense (532.8 yards per game) and rushing offense (274.3) and will be trying to penetrate an Alabama unit that leads the nation in rushing defense (69.2) and allows just 2.2 yards per carry. Standout freshman running back Trayveon Williams (SEC-leading 704 rushing yards, five touchdowns) has been superb with an 8.6 average per carry while senior quarterback Travis Knight has been effective as both a runner (502 yards, nine scores) and a passer (1,500 yards, nine touchdowns). Junior defensive end Myles Garrett (28 career sacks, team-leading four this season) is getting closer to full strength from an ankle injury and senior strong safety Justin Evans leads Texas A&M with 48 tackles and three interceptions. Aggies sophomore WR Christian Kirk leads the SEC with 40 receptions but is averaging just 8.8 yards per catch.

ABOUT ALABAMA

Freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts has become a big-time star and has accounted for 17 touchdowns (nine passing, eight rushing) while passing for 1,385 yards and rushing for 428. Sophomore running back Damien Harris (572 yards) averages an impressive 8.3 yards per carry while sophomore wideout Calvin Ridley has 39 receptions for 477 yards and four touchdowns. Senior defensive end Jonathan Allen has five sacks to raise his career total to 23, two behind second-place Kindal Moorehead (1998-2002) on the Crimson Tide’s all-time list while senior safety Eddie Jackson has a superb 25.8 punt-return average and has scored three total touchdowns (two on punt returns, one on an interception).

Alabama holds a 6-2 series edge after posting a 41-23 road victory last season. The Crimson Tide had three interception-return touchdowns in last year’s win over Texas A&M. Two of them came from now-sophomore cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick and the other one came from Jackson.

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Fanpicks.com College Football Bowl Game Preview

GOODYEAR COTTON BOWL

Michigan State vs. Alabama

 

Fanpicks.com is proud to bring you the Goodyear Cotton Bowl game preview featuring Michigan State against Alabama. I had to gaze into the crystal ball to predict the outcome of this bowl game… two of the best college football teams will square off; but my Spidey sense  tells me that Michigan State will take 27-23 over The Crimson Tide. Play the best fantasy college football contests at Fanpicks.com

 

Second-ranked Alabama is in the College Football Playoff semifinals for the second straight season as it faces third-ranked Michigan State in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl on Dec. 31 at Arlington, Texas. The Crimson Tide were ousted by Ohio State in last season’s semifinals and are again matched up against a Big Ten program. Only a one-point loss to Nebraska in early November prevented the Spartans from entering the playoffs with an unbeaten record while Alabama has won 10 straight games since losing to Ole Miss in mid-September.

Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook said his sprained throwing shoulder is improving and will be close to 100 percent New Year’s Eve. Cook has a 34-4 career mark as a starter, has thrown a school-record 71 career touchdown passes and ranks second in passing yards (8,984) behind Kirk Cousins (9,131 from 2008-11). “I’m pretty much doing everything in practice now,” Cook told reporters in mid-December. “I’m pretty confident.”

Alabama junior running back Derrick Henry topped 100 yards nine times – and 200 on four occasions – while rushing for an SEC-record 1,986 yards to go with 23 touchdowns en route to winning the Heisman Trophy. The Spartans know they will be seeing a lot of Henry with the football as he carried it a combined 90 times over the Crimson Tide’s last two games. “Whatever I have to do to help my team win,” Henry told reporters. “I don’t care how many carries it is. As long as it’s successful and we’ve got the ball, I’m all for it.”

 

MICHIGAN STATE Season Overview (12-1, 7-1 Big Ten): Cook has completed 56.9 percent of his passes and been intercepted only five times and has a big-time target to work with in senior Aaron Burbridge, who has 1,219 yards and seven touchdowns on a school-record 80 receptions. Freshman LJ Scott rushed for a team-high 691 yards and 11 touchdowns and his last score was the biggest as he kept his legs churning on third-and-goal to score the decisive 1-yard touchdown to beat Iowa in the Big Ten title game. The Spartans allow 20.5 points per game with senior defensive end Shilique Calhoun (10.5 sacks) leading the way while sophomore nose tackle Malik McDowell (12 tackles for losses) and junior middle linebacker Riley Bullough (team-most 95 tackles) are also standout players.

 

ALABAMA Season Overview (12-1, 7-1 SEC): Henry carries the offense and takes pressure off of senior quarterback Jake Coker, who has thrown for 2,489 yards and 17 touchdowns against eight interceptions. Freshman receiver Calvin Ridley emerged as a solid target with 75 receptions for 893 yards to help the Crimson Tide average 34.1 points and complement a defense that allows only 14.4 per game. Junior strong safety Eddie Jackson has a team-leading five interceptions – he has returned them for 230 yards and two touchdowns – while senior middle linebacker Reggie Ragland has recorded a team-high 90 tackles and junior defensive Jonathan Allen has a team-best 10 sacks.

 

 

 

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