Tide Takes: SEC West is on the Line This Week

(Photo via Alabama Athletics/SEC Media Portal)

Every Monday right here you can read Tide Takes, where we’ll get into a different topic on the Crimson Tide, break down the previous game, preview the upcoming game, and everything in between.

In this week’s edition, the biggest game of the season has arrived for the Crimson Tide, and with both Alabama and LSU coming off a bye, the SEC West is on the line in Tuscaloosa under the lights at Bryant-Denny on Saturday night:

The LSU Tigers entered 2023 as a team looking to take the next step in year two of the Brian Kelly era. After defeating Alabama and winning the SEC West in year one, the Tigers ultimately fell short of the College Football Playoff with three losses in the regular season as well as being dominated by Georgia in the SEC championship.

Entering this year, LSU was the pick of many to win the West once again and even seen as a national championship contender. The Tigers were destroyed in week one by Florida State and took a second loss in Oxford to Ole Miss, likely taking them out of the playoff race even if they were to run the table.

Even so, LSU is very much alive in the SEC West, and a win over Alabama would place them securely in control with just two conference games remaining, both of them at home.

The Tigers are an interesting matchup for Alabama. They have struggled tremendously defending the pass, and it remains to be seen how true of an indicator good performances against Auburn and Army in the last two games are.

For their struggles, LSU boasts the best offense in the entire nation, leading the country in both yards and points per game (552,9 yards, 47.4 points). Jayden Daniels has been nothing short of phenomenal for the Tigers, winning LSU games where the defense did everything it could to lose.

Daniels is the reason the Tigers are still in a position to win the SEC and very well may be the best quarterback in all of college football right now.

When evaluating this matchup for Alabama, it’s going to come down to being able to limit the Tigers offense. Completely shutting it down is out of the question, but Alabama must avoid a shootout here. The gap between the defenses is greater than the gap between the offenses, but this Alabama team is not built to win a game in the 40s.

A fast start will be essential for an Alabama team that has not specialized in fast starts this season.

The point spread opened up around a touchdown in favor of Alabama, but has gotten all the way down to 3 points already.

With the stakes as high as they have been all season, we could be in for an instant-classic in Tuscaloosa.