1 Same teams, only different: This is the third time these teams have played in 12 months, but they aren’t the same teams. Of the 22 each started on offense and defense in the BCS title game, most will not be in this one. Alabama has eight starters who started the BCS game, counting C Barrett Jones, who started at left tackle then, and weakside LB Nico Johnson, who started the title game and now shares his position with C.J. Mosley. LSU has seven who opened the title game, assuming RG Josh Williford (concussion) doesn’t start as he did in the title game.
2 Crimson zone: The Crimson Tide has the SEC’s best offense and defense in the red zone. Bama has scored on 97 percent of its trips into the red zone (34-of-35), including 26 touchdowns. The Tigers rank ninth at 79 percent (27-of-34). Bama has allowed opponents to score on just 53 percent of their trips into the red zone (8-of-15), including six touchdowns, and LSU is 13th in red-zone defense. The Tigers have allowed opponents to score 94 percent (16-of-17) of the time, including eight touchdowns.
3 Out of the blocks: LSU has started fairly well this season, outscoring its opponents 64-19 in the first quarter, but that’s nothing like Alabama’s 104-3 dominance in the first quarter. The Tide doesn’t let up either, having outscored the opposition 104-28 in the second quarter. The Tigers have just a 57-43 scoring edge in the second quarter.