BY LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
Well...here it is....inside the fiery cauldron of Death Valley, #15 LSU (6-2) will take on top 10 Alabama (7-1) this Saturday with a trip to Atlanta & the SEC West on the line.
For the first time since Burrow vs Tua's 46-41 "Game of the Century" shootout, this storied rivalry will be a game of maximum consequence...
These are the games, this is the reason Brian Kelly accepted the LSU job: to beat Nick Saban....and in year one, it looks like Kelly may have a decent chance of pulling that off:
With Saban's Alabama already catching their first loss in an epic, last second 52-49 defeat to Hendon Hooker's Tennessee, as off field issues arose concerning Jermaine Burton and Eli Ricks, the Tide limp into Tigers Stadium in a rare "win or go home" position.
Facing an LSU defense led by veterans who controlled Bama & Bryce Young last season (20 points, 308 total yards and 6 rushing yards), a solid running back trio, high potential receivers, and another top tier dual threat quarterback in Jayden Daniels, Brian Kelly's Tigers should feel confident but maintain a sense of realism.
Despite a rollercoaster season full of double digit comebacks, winning road games at Auburn & Florida, taking down #7 Ole Miss and Mississippi State, while losing to Florida State and #2 Tennessee, Brian Kelly's squad have endured a wild 2022, though they're improving by the game in various phases.
Deploying youth at tackle, tight end, linebacker and defensive line, Kelly's staff are trusting in their future to win games now....thus far, that gamble has paid off, both Will Campbell and Emery Jones named SEC Offensive linemen of the week (Campbell x2), Harold Perkins receiving SEC Freshman of the Week, as Mason Taylor celebrated his best game vs Ole Miss.
Also relying on notable transfers, not only to shore up roster holes but to become difference makers, Mekhi Wingo, Miles Frazier, Greg Brooks Jr, Joe Foucha and Mekhi Garner have all proven to be invaluable.
Where are the weaknesses for LSU???
Are Alabama as undisciplined as their penalty record indicates?
Could this end in a shootout between Bryce Young and Jayden Daniels or a Mano e Mano dance with death between the LSU QB and Alabama LB Will Anderson???
Will LSU have Jack Bech back for the game, a player who consistently beat Alabama's secondary last season?
Can LSU stop or limit Jahymr Gibbs' dual threat playmaking out of the backfield???
Will Eli Ricks shrink or grow during this massive psychological test, returning back to Death Valley only a year after his transfer departure.....dawning the #7 he never wore at LSU....
Is John Emery Jr ready to play?
Is Garrett Dellinger back and rearing to go?
So many questions....and we will answer every single one.
The atmosphere is already building to a fever pitch, many licking their chops in anticipation for what should be an engrossing 4 quarters of SEC football.
LSU are hungry.....
Alabama are desperate....
The Tigers are playing with house money, without expectation hindering their path to pure competitive drive....
Alabama have the target on their backs...
With 2021's history, 2022's dysfunction at Alabama and LSU building each week, it all builds up to a tasty bout...the perfect birthday treat.
This is just the preamble....this is just the start....
Buckle Up as we'll have way more action this week for you!
BY LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
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