Hello Tiger Nation! Once again, we have an early top three match up between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the LSU Tigers. For the second time in four years, college football gets to see the SEC unfold in a much-anticipated showdown. This year it’s in Death Valley.

This is the best anyone has felt in a long time going into the Alabama contest. We have just as much potential, just as much respect, and, most importantly, as big of a chance as them. This is our opportunity.

It will be a much different game then we’re are used to seeing unfold on the first Saturday of November. This is no longer the war that’s won on the line of scrimmage with angry running backs and powerful offensive-lines like it used to be.

Alabama will walk into Death Valley on the shoulders of their perfect passer; Tua Taigovailoa. He is the reason they average 54 points per game and 350 passing yards per game. He is the secret weapon to their explosive offense. Which means that our only job is to take him out of the game. Just like we did against Nick Fitzgerald and Jake Fromm. We need to bring the pass rush to make him uncomfortable and run stride for stride with his receivers to make it unusual. Alabama thrives off their tremendous receivers like Jerry Jeudy beating off the opponents’ top corner backs. With a guy like Tua under center, all you need is a step. If our defensive backs were trying to prove anything with five interceptions (one was called back) against Mississippi state, it was that they were ready for Tua.

After watching Alabama play against some decent teams and some not-so-decent teams, I came out with a few big takeaways.

First, the “ain’t-played-nobody” story line will have little to no effect on the outcome besides the fact that it was a more intensive practice for us. That’s not what you would want or expect to hear because you want to have that intangible edge that you’re tougher and more prepared, but they are a well-coached team. They could be playing Arkansas State and give it the same effort they would to the national championship. When I see them throwing passes downfield all game and trying to score on every drive no matter the situation, or when I see their receivers fight for those extra three yards even though they are way passed the first down, or when I see a fumble happen after a long catch and run, but the other receivers have the focus and pursuit to run it down and recover it in the end-zone before the opponent, I have to think that’s a championship mentality.

Second, our defense is stronger than theirs is. In years past, this has always been a defensive battle but this year it is obvious that LSU has the stonewall, elite defense. This year, we are the ones to beat. Even with Alabama’s lack of a schedule, we have more turnovers and fewer points allowed. Just to give you an idea, Alabama let up 31 points against Arkansas. The most (offensive) points we’ve let on to the scoreboard all year were 20 against Florida. Our defense will still have to step up against the best offense in the nation to prove these words right.

The last time LSU came out on top, we only needed 9 points. We need to make this a defensive game, because if it’s a slow low-scoring battle, won through the defensive line we can get those 9 points.

This is going to be a physical game. I’m expecting to see some pads popping for four quarters. Let’s prove we are the stronger team!