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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2014 SEC STANDINGS
6:00 PM ET 21 Texas A&M 9 South Carolina 8:00 PM ET Boise State 18 Ole Miss 9:15 PM ET Temple Vanderbilt
12:00 PM ET Tennessee-Martin Kentucky 3:30 PM ET South Dakota State 24 Missouri 3:30 PM ET West Virginia 2 Alabama 4:00 PM ET Arkansas 6 Auburn 5:30 PM ET 16 Clemson 12 Georgia 7:00 PM ET Idaho Florida 7:30 PM ET Southern Miss Mississippi State 9:00 PM ET 14 Wisconsin 13 LSU