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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, November 6, 2015 at 7:00 AM

Though the official college football championship playoffs is a four-team showcase that’s several weeks away…the whole month of November is a virtual playoffs where top teams will be playing elimination games to determine who survives for the Final Four.

The most important of those may already be coming up Saturday night when LSU visits Alabama. Both of those teams are currently in the top four of the selection committee’s rankings (Clemson, LSU, Ohio State, Alabama, and Notre Dame are the initial top five). It’s fully expected that the LSU/Bama winner will make it to the Final Four. It’s possible that BOTH teams could get there with one-loss records if other teams start to fall by the wayside (Clemson, Ohio State and Notre Dame all have testers left…and those Big 12 teams on the fence may take turns knocking each other off!).

It’s the game everyone’s been waiting for…kicking off the month everyone’s been waiting for. Let’s see what JIM HURLEY’S key indicators stats have to say about the matchup…


Won-Lost Records

LSU: 7-0 (4-0 in the SEC, quality win over Florida)

Alabama: 7-1 (4-1 in the SEC, with a home loss to Ole Miss)

LSU has an unblemished record, but Alabama’s played the much tougher schedule. Note that LSU still has Ole Miss coming up. And, whoever wins the SEC West will have to beat Florida in the SEC Championship game to secure a spot in the Final Four. That’s why both of these teams might qualify. Their schedules are so much tougher than elites in the other leagues are playing.


2014 Yards-Per-Play

LSU: 7.2 on offense, 4.8 on defense

Alabama: 5.7 on offense, 4.2 on defense

LSU has the better differential, but it’s come against the easier schedule. Frankly, that +1.5 for Alabama is exceptional considering who they’ve been playing. Now, it’s possible that the SEC is weaker than expected…and some of those wins won’t look so great after the bowls. For now…we have to assume these are legitimately elite teams. Those differentials may merge closer together after these two have played each other.


2014 Turnover Differential

LSU: +7

Alabama: +3

Alabama’s defense is doing a better job of forcing turnovers this season…but the offense is still way too mistake-prone because Lane Kiffin is an aggressive play-caller. That could bite him here against a good defense, and may ultimately be the issue that keeps ‘Bama out of the Final Four if they stub their toe somewhere else. This collection of talent should be better than +3 in turnover differential this deep into the season. LSU runs a very safe offense that hasn’t yet been turning the ball over. Only two giveaways ALL SEASON for the Tigers thanks to Leonard Fournette’s dominance at the running back position.


2014 Market Performance

LSU: 4-3 ATS

Alabama: 3-5 ATS

Important to remember that, no matter how good Alabama looks when things are clicking, they’ve been overrated since Kiffin was brought in to run the offense. Those mistakes are killers. You probably watched ‘Bama blow bully Georgia and Texas A&M. They’re 1-5 ATS in their other six games! LSU has been slightly underrated this season…though the world can change quickly when a one-dimensional team has to step up in class.



LSU: Brandon Harris (75-128-0-1098 with 9 TDs)

Alabama: Jake Coker (143-224-7-1623 with 11 TDs)

We’re very deep into the season for a major quarterback to have thrown only 128 passes! Alabama is fairly run heavy…and they’ve thrown 224 passes. LSU only throws when they have to…or to occasionally keep defenses honest. Can they complete passes if Alabama stacks the line? Answer that question and you’ve probably got your pointspread pick. Note that Coker has seven interceptions this season…compared to none for Harris.

Current Line: Alabama by 6.5, total of 48

The fact that the game hasn’t been bet up to seven through the week tells you at least that the Wise Guys are looking at the dog. They would have hit ‘Bama already if that was destined to happen. Is LSU really the “right” side? Or, will the team be exposed as a road pretender by a defense that can slow down Fournette?

JIM HURLEY has been working very closely with his full team of experts to make sure NETWORK customers make the right move in the biggest TV game so far this season. You can purchase the final word for Saturday’s full college slate right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about extended football service, please call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155. Remember to check on bonus NBA when you call!

Back to the NFL for a few days once LSU/Alabama kicks off. Here’s what’s on tap in the NOTEBOOK…

Sunday: NFL TV Preview… Philadelphia at Dallas

Monday: NFL TV Preview… Chicago at San Diego

Midweek: NFL TV Preview…Buffalo at the NY Jets

Friday-Saturday: College Football TV Preview…choosing between Oklahoma at Baylor and Alabama at Mississippi State

You’ve been waiting months for COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAMES THAT MATTER to finally be played. LSU/Alabama makes it clear that the time is NOW for the fun to begin. Make sure you GET ALL THE MONEY this month and beyond with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!


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Jim Hurley on twitter @vsm_hurley

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