The college football season is only four weeks old, but the general feeling from most of the nation is there is a clear No. 1 team - Alabama. A lot will happen and plenty can change between now and the end of the season, but is LSU the biggest obstacle to another title by the Crimson Tide?
Is LSU Alabama's Biggest Threat to a National Title?
David Fox (@DavidFox615):
Although LSU did not look great in a 12-10 win over Auburn on Saturday, the Tigers still appear to be the biggest threat to another Alabama national title. Any team that’s going to defeat Alabama needs to have an elite defense, and that’s still the Tigers. The road trip to LSU may be the only threat to Alabama during the regular season, but Georgia or South Carolina could be problematic as well in a potential SEC championship game. Either way, Alabama’s biggest threat would seem to come from the SEC rather than any potential foe in the title game -- assuming that opponent isn’t an SEC team again.
Braden Gall (@BradenGall):
A road trip to LSU on Nov. 3 is the toughest current game left on the schedule, but I am not ready to say that it will be the toughest challenge. Georgia, Florida and South Carolina all have defensive lines that match-up well Bama in a potential SEC title game with the Bulldogs also offering an offense that could put the Tide defense to the test as well. Florida State could provide an equally tricky match-ups should they all get to the national title game. But my pick for the national title game was Alabama and Oregon this summer, so the Ducks are in the mix as well. If I had to rank "biggest threats" to Alabama's third national title in four years: 1) Georgia in SEC title game 2) Oregon or Florida State in the BCS title game 3) LSU.
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven):
LSU was unimpressive in a 12-10 win against Auburn, but I still believe the Tigers are Alabama’s toughest obstacle to a national championship. Outside of LSU, Florida State and Oregon seem to be the most likely candidates for the No. 2 spot in the polls. The Seminoles’ defense is one of the best in the nation, and quarterback EJ Manuel appears to be peaking at the right time. However, is the offensive line up to the task? Oregon has the offense to win a title, but how well would its defense matchup against a physical team like Alabama in the trenches? LSU gets a shot against Alabama in Baton Rouge, and it has defeated the Crimson Tide the last two times during the regular season. The Tigers are a perfect match for Alabama in the trenches, and their offense should be better by early November. I still think the Crimson Tide wins the national championship, but LSU will be their toughest test in 2012.
Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch):
LSU hasn’t looked quite as dominant as we expected — though the Tigers are 4–0 with an average margin of victory of 29 points — but I’d still call the Tigers the biggest threat to Alabama’s quest for a second straight national title. The reason? Alabama must beat LSU in Baton Rouge to continue its perfect season. (And yes, I realize that Bama could lose this game and still play in the national title game). There might be some teams who have looked better to date — Oregon, Georgia and Florida State come to mind — but Alabama won’t have to play any of those teams on their home field. That’s a big difference.
Not if they play the same LSU team that eked out a two-point victory at Auburn last Saturday. That said, the Tigers are the biggest threat to Alabama's repeat national title hopes in that the two will meet on Nov. 3 in Tuscaloosa, Ala., in a game that will more than likely determine who wins the SEC West. It's still early, but I don't see a repeat of last season happening, meaning the best way for either the Crimson Tide or the Tigers to be in the best position to earn a berth in the BCS Championship Game is by winning the SEC Championship Game. So in my mind, that first Saturday in November is essentially an elimination game. Lose and your title dreams, both SEC and national, are pretty much dashed. But getting into the SEC title game is just the first step, winning it is the second. To that end, I think Alabama's biggest threat, assuming they win the West, to a national title is whoever makes it out of the East. Right now I give the edge to Georgia, but South Carolina is just as capable, and who knows, Florida could be there in the end if the offense continues to develop and can complement an already stout defense. It may not seem like it at this point, but I think that either the Bulldogs or the Gamecocks can match up pretty well against the Crimson Tide, provided they are healthy and clicking on all cylinders come Dec. 1. So while it does seem highly likely at this point that the SEC will be represented in the BCS title game for the seventh straight season, don't be surprised if the team that plays in Miami Gardens, Fla., on Jan. 13, 2013, comes from the East and not the West.
Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman):
Absolutely. I would not discount LSU chances of beating Alabama once again in the regular season just because the Tigers had to win a 12-10 slugfest at Auburn. Wild things happen in SEC night games, and coming into last Saturday the visitor in the LSU-Auburn series had gone 1-11 in the last 12 matchups. Plus, Les Miles’ crew has battled multiple injuries (Alfred Blue, Spencer Ware, P.J. Lonergan and Josh Dworaczyk) to key players. Alabama looks like the better team, but LSU has proven it can play in a defensive battle with the Tide. Additionally, this year’s much-anticipated contest is in Baton Rouge. If the Tide makes it to Atlanta, there will a tough and tested East opponent to beat. But a talented LSU bunch is still the biggest obstacle to the Tide repeating as national champions.
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