Tide, Tigers loaded up front
October, 31, 2012
By Edward Aschoff | ESPN.com
If you're looking for the secret formula the SEC has used for the past six seasons to collect all those national championships, tune into Alabama-LSU on Saturday night.
You'll see exactly what separates the SEC men from college football's boys when you look at what these teams are hoarding up front.
Coaches outside the league cringe at the sight of the lines in the SEC, and two of the best face off when No. 1 Alabama (8-0, 5-0) takes on the fifth-ranked Tigers (7-1, 3-1) under the bright lights of menacing Tiger Stadium.
The Crimson Tide has arguably the nation's best offensive line, and LSU is equipped with the most well-rounded defensive front. Both are littered with NFL talent, as nine players could be drafted in the first three rounds of future NFL drafts. Eight might go in the first two rounds, including six next spring.
Watching these two fronts try to wear each other down will be like watching two sledgehammers try to beat each other into dust. The one with the least dents probably will deliver the winner Saturday night.
"Like any player, you love playing the best," said LSU defensive end Barkevious Mingo, who leads the Tigers with nine quarterback hurries. "For me, I like being challenged and going against great players. I look forward to it."
These lines certainly made strong statements in both games last season.
In Game 1, LSU's defensive line held the Tide to its only game with fewer than 100 yards rushing (96) and registered two sacks.
But in the Allstate BCS National Championship, Alabama's offensive line dominated. Alabama ran for 150 yards (the most given up by LSU last season) and quarterback AJ McCarron threw for 234 yards.
Both lines look almost identical to the ones that met twice last season, and both are out to dismantle the other.
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Intriguing SEC bowl games
1:00 PM ET Illinois Louisiana Tech 4:30 PM ET Rutgers North Carolina 8:00 PM ET North Carolina State UCF
Final Nevada 3 Louisiana-Lafayette 16 Final Utah State 21 UTEP 6 Final 22 Utah 45 Colorado State 10 Final Western Michigan 24 Air Force 38 Final South Alabama 28 Bowling Green 33
Final Marshall 52 Northern Illinois 23 Final Navy 17 San Diego State 16
Final Central Michigan 48 Western Kentucky 49 Final Fresno State 6 Rice 30
1:00 PM ET Cincinnati Virginia Tech 2:00 PM ET 15 Arizona State Duke 3:30 PM ET Miami (FL) South Carolina 4:30 PM ET Boston College Penn State 8:00 PM ET Nebraska 24 USC
2:00 PM ET Texas A&M West Virginia 5:30 PM ET Oklahoma 17 Clemson 9:00 PM ET Arkansas Texas
3:00 PM ET Notre Dame 23 LSU 6:30 PM ET 13 Georgia 21 Louisville 10:00 PM ET Maryland Stanford
12:30 PM ET 9 Ole Miss 6 TCU 4:00 PM ET 20 Boise State 10 Arizona 8:00 PM ET 7 Mississippi State 12 Georgia Tech
12:00 PM ET 19 Auburn 18 Wisconsin 12:30 PM ET 8 Michigan State 5 Baylor 1:00 PM ET 16 Missouri 25 Minnesota 5:00 PM ET 2 Oregon 3 Florida State 8:30 PM ET 1 Alabama 4 Ohio State
12:00 PM ET Houston Pittsburgh 3:20 PM ET Iowa Tennessee 6:45 PM ET 11 Kansas State 14 UCLA 10:15 PM ET Washington Oklahoma State