Turf War: Battle for the SEC mounts

Benny Snell, Jr. USA Today

The battle for the Southeastern Conference (SEC) will likely be decided this weekend, with a most anticipated meeting Saturday between Alabama and Louisiana State University.

The skirmish in Death Valley between No. 1 Alabama and No. 4 LSU will directly impact the college football playoffs. While LSU is the 2-2, all-time favorite in this match-up, Alabama opens as the two-touchdown favorite on the road. In Lexington, No. 6 Georgia is also a double-digit road favorite over No. 11 Kentucky. It’s the biggest game in UK football history!

Alabama analyzed

Alabama finally has an efficient passing game to complement their run game and defense. The Tide’s been rolling with lopsided scores. They lead the nation in passing efficiency (226.29) and yards-per-pass attempt (13.11) ranked fifth with 2,779 yards.

The scariest part of their offense is the fact they rarely need to utilize the passing game at all. Heisman Trophy leader QB Tua Tagovailoa has played only minimally in the 4th quarter.  Tagovailoa has thrown 25 touchdown passes and zero interceptions.

That school called “DBU”

Alabama’s offense takes aim at “Defensive Back University” (a.k.a. Louisiana State University). DBU is so nicknamed due to the numerous NFL talent they produce from that position. Their current class is on par with the greats of the program. Cornerback Greedy Williams is projected to be a high first-round draft choice if he leaves DBU early to go pro after this season.

Safety Grant Delpit is arguably the best player on LSU’s defense this season. The biggest sidebar story is linebacker Devin White, who was suspended Oct. 20 following a questionable targeting call. He won’t be playing the first two quarters of Saturday’s game, but against this Alabama offense, LSU needs every advantage they can get.

A purrfect storm

In the most consequential football game ever played at Kroger Field, the University of Kentucky faces Georgia with SEC East Division title and a berth in the SEC Championship Game on the line.

UK has never won the East or played in the SEC title game. The Wildcats are looking to make what would be their first-ever trip to the Big Dance. Head Coach Mark Stoops has finally fulfilled the potential he believed the program could have when he signed the dotted line.

After a poor game (16-of-34, two interceptions, three sacks) in Georgia’s loss against LSU, quarterback Jake Fromm bounced back with 240 passing yards in what was described as the “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.”

LSU beat then No. 9 Florida last Saturday in Jacksonville. Fromm, a sophomore, is now 19-3 as Georgia’s starting QB.

UK’s main factor is Benny Snell, Jr. He leads the SEC in rushing (935 yards), but has been held below 100 yards in two of the past three games. From the Florida game and South Carolina in the first half, the UK offensive front controlled the line of scrimmage.

In the second half, Kentucky’s running attack has not been able to consistently open holes for Snell and the Cats offense has suffered. To upset Georgia, the UK offensive line must give Snell more room to run.

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