Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; General view of the line of scrimmage between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the LSU Tigers during the second quarter at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

No. 3 Alabama vs. No. 2 LSU Preview

Alabama and LSU will face off on Saturday in the biggest game in college football this year.

The two SEC West heavyweights are playing for more than just bragging rights this time around. SEC and College Football Playoff seeding is on the line.

Both teams are on the inside of the playoff race coming into this weekend’s 3:30 p.m. matchup in Tuscaloosa. The Tide are ranked No. 3 and the Tigers are locked in at No. 2 after the CFP committee released its first playoff rankings on Tuesday.

Alabama and LSU have consistently been ranked in the top 25 over the past decade.

Since LSU’s 9-6 win against Alabama in 2011, the Tide have completely dominated the series. Alabama went on to defeat LSU in the National Championship the same year and have won every game against the Tigers since.

Here’s what to look out for as Alabama looks to extend its streak and as LSU tries to break it.

Like many games these days, it comes down to the quarterbacks.

Tua Returns

Football is a quarterback-driven game.

Most of the time, good quarterbacks find ways to win games.

Bad quarterbacks find ways to lose them.

Alabama and LSU have arguably the two best quarterbacks in college football.

Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa is both the x-factor and the question mark for the Tide.

The junior quarterback has been out since Oct. 19 after surgery on a high ankle sprain. Normal recovery time for such a procedure is about two to three months.

Tagovailoa is attempting to return after just three.

The presumed first-overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft has thrown for 2,166 yards and 27 touchdowns in seven games.

Burrow’s League

The SEC (and college football for that matter) has belonged to LSU quarterback Joe Burrow in 2019.

The senior signal caller’s stat sheet is stacked. Burrow has thrown for 2,805 yards and 30 touchdowns this season.

Some of his best performances have been against SEC opponents, as well. He threw for a combined 13 touchdowns in wins over Florida, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt.

Thanks to Burrow’s dominant play this season, LSU is riding high with the SEC’s highest-ranked offense with 535.9 yards per contest. The Tigers have gained the fourth-most yards in the country, as well.

In short, Burrow has been phenomenal for the Tigers. He’s one of the main reasons LSU is No.2 in the country and competing for its first CFP birth ever.

Looking Ahead

The winner of this matchup will have a good chance of getting the top spot going into the second week of CFP rankings.

A win will also place either Alabama or LSU in the driver’s spot to win the SEC West.

After Saturday’s matchup, Alabama will travel to play Mississippi State on Nov. 16 at noon.

LSU will also hit the road. The Tigers will face off against Ole Miss on Nov. 16 at 7 p.m.

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