LSU-Alabama predictions

SCOTT RABALAIS:

The margins of difference between these two teams in so many areas are as thin as a sheet of newsprint. Give the nod to Alabama in places like running back, overall defense (especially linebackers) and, of course, a home-field advantage that has often meant little in this series. But give the edge to LSU in three critical areas: experience at quarterback, special teams and playmakers. The Tigers have just a couple more of the latter than does the Crimson Tide, and in a tight fourth quarter, they will make the difference.

LSU 19, ALABAMA 16

SCOTT HOTARD:

LSU has been terrific away from home playing for high stakes under bright lights. The stakes are highest now. The lights are brightest.

It sounds simple enough, but the Tigers just need to keep doing what they have. Two or three big plays by Jarrett Lee and the offense, even if they don’t always result in touchdowns, will be enough to support LSU’s stellar defense and special teams.

LSU 23, ALABAMA 21

LES EAST:

This matchup will be as even on the field as it is on paper. LSU will score first for the ninth straight game and enjoy the advantage of playing from ahead. Brad Wing, Drew Alleman and James Hairston help the Tigers win the field-position game.

LSU’s defense rattles AJ McCarron more than the Tide rattles Jarrett Lee or Jordan Jefferson after a big pass to Rueben Randle helps to create running room for Spencer Ware.

LSU 20, ALABAMA 17