TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The big-time SEC showdown arrives when top-ranked Alabama hosts second-ranked LSU on Saturday. But the "Game of the Century" tag might need a little tweaking after Ohio State earned the No. 1 spot in the initial College Football Playoff poll with LSU second and Alabama third.
TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Alabama -6.5
The probability of Tua Tagovailoa (ankle) playing in the contest improved at midweek when Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said there was "a good chance" the junior quarterback, who underwent surgery on Oct. 19, will be on the field against LSU. "It's still day-to-day, and you don't know what's going to happen tomorrow or the next day, but he's moving around well and throwing the ball with confidence," Saban said of Tagovailoa, who has passed for 2,166 yards, 27 touchdowns and two interceptions. "His mobility will be the big question, but every day that's improved dramatically." LSU senior quarterback Joe Burrow also is a Heisman contender while passing for 2,805 yards, 30 touchdowns and four interceptions and energizing the team's attack. "We get the best players in space to the guy we want to put them against," Burrow told reporters. "We don't do a lot of things. But we do it out of a lot of different formations."
ABOUT LSU (8-0, 4-0 SEC)
Burrow is fueling an attack averaging 46.8 points per game and has completed more than 70 percent of his passes in each game and thrown four or more touchdown passes on five occasions. The Tigers have solid receivers with junior Justin Jefferson (55 receptions, 819 yards and nine scores), sophomore Ja’Marr Chase (43 for 749, nine TDs) and sophomore Terrace Marshall Jr. (22 for 333, seven) combining for 25 scoring catches. Freshman cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. has a team-best four interceptions and junior linebacker Jacob Phillips has recorded a team-high 64 tackles for a unit allowing 20 points per game.
ABOUT ALABAMA (8-0, 5-0)
Sophomore Mac Jones filled in for Tagovailoa two Saturdays ago against Arkansas and completed 18-of-22 passes for 235 yards and two touchdowns. The Crimson Tide continue to make good use of their three star junior wideouts -- Jerry Jeudy has 52 receptions for 682 yards and eight touchdowns, DeVonta Smith has 43 catches for 721 yards and nine scores, and Henry Ruggs III has 26 for 513 and six touchdowns. Junior safety Xavier McKinney (team-high 56 tackles), senior linebacker Anfernee Jennings (48 tackles, four sacks) and junior linebacker Terrell Lewis (team-best six sacks) are leading a defense allowing 15.3 points per game.
1. Alabama has won the past eight meetings.
2. LSU senior LB Michael Divinity Jr. (team-best three sacks) left the program for personal reasons earlier this week.
3. Crimson Tide junior RB Najee Harris (team-high 642 rushing yards) has topped 100 in three of the past five games.
PREDICTION: LSU 24, Alabama 20