Ask somebody to list the 10 biggest names in Saturday's LSU-Alabama game, and odds are good that at least seven of them will be defensive players. Alabama has Rolando McClain, Javier Arenas, kick-blocking Terrence Cody and Mark Barron. LSU has Chad Jones, Kelvin Sheppard, and ball-hawking cornerbacks Patrick Peterson and Chris Hawkins.
The athleticism on these two defenses is almost unmatched in college football, and the numbers show it. Alabama ranks fourth in the nation in total defense and fifth in scoring defense, while LSU ranks 15th in total defense and seventh in scoring defense. In terms of Football Outsiders' S&P+ statistics, Alabama ranks first in overall defense, first against the run and second against the pass; LSU is 20th overall, 13th against the run and 27th against the pass.
With LSU's offense in a season-long funk and Alabama's offense fading, one question lingers over all others for Saturday: Will either team score?
Believe it or not, there are some advantages to be found for both offenses in this game. One just needs to know where to look.