LSU will need lots of great players to beat ‘Bama

It is a case of Louisiana fatalism at its best, and it didn’t even take four quarters of football against Alabama for it to rear its ugly head, again.

Will LSU ever beat Alabama again with Nick Saban as head coach?

Those same questions were being asked 10 years ago. Coming off a national championship season, LSU slumped to 3-5 in the Southeastern Conference. LSU would lose to Alabama in overtime in Baton Rouge in 2008, and then again in Tuscaloosa in 2009.

The conspiracy theorists were out again that year, too. Patrick Peterson intercepted a pass on the sideline at a critical juncture, only to be called out of bounds. Alabama scored 14 points in the final quarter on the way to a 24-15 win.

One year later, LSU beat Alabama in Baton Rouge and did so again in November of 2011 in Tuscaloosa.

So, what happened in Baton Rouge, last Saturday, in a 29-0 loss? The Tigers were dominated on the line of scrimmage, and Alabama was quarterbacked by one of the best opposing signal callers ever to play in Tiger Stadium.

Tua Tagavailoa is that good. Even for a place like Alabama, he is an unusual talent. Yes, his younger brother is a Bama commit, but is he as talented as his brother? Let’s see.

The LSU defense actually did a very solid job against the best offense that Nick Saban has rolled out in 12 seasons. Offensively, the Tigers were completely shut down.

An average offensive line and solid running backs playing around a solid quarterback doesn’t cut it against elite defensive players.

However: LSU has a commitment from one of the nation’s best runners, Southern Lab’s Tyrion Davis. LSU is very much in the hunt for Destrehan running back John Emery, who renounced his commitment to Georgia. And, Ed Orgeron has a commitment from five-star offensive lineman Kardell Thomas of Southern Lab.

Thomas went on social media Saturday night, predicting that LSU would defeat Alabama every year he was at LSU: “Good game Alabama, but enjoy this last win against us.”

It is amazing what we can all learn from youngsters, especially those who are very talented and weigh 356 pounds. In 2010, LSU went 11-2. Those losses were both on the road. The first was to eventual national champion Auburn and Cam Newton. The other was to a 10-win Arkansas team in Little Rock. One year later, LSU won the SEC championship.

Three first-round picks – safety Eric Reid, cornerback Morris Claiborne and defensive tackle Michael Brockers – were linchpins on that 2011 team.

So was wide receiver Rueben Randle and cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, one of five finalists for the Heisman Trophy.

Great players beat Alabama, and the evidence is Orgeron is accumulating some of those.

LSU’s Alabama issue wasn’t created overnight. And, neither will it be solved quickly.

But, in Louisiana, pigskin paranoia reigns. We can only be so good. Please.

Ed Daniels is sports director of ABC26. He can be reached at

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