Nick Saban returns to Baton Rouge on Saturday to resume what has become the biggest rivalry in college football.
A year after LSU stunned Alabama in Tuscaloosa en route to an SEC championship, and nine months after the Crimson Tide returned the favor in the BCS national title, the two SEC West rivals meet on Saturday in what could be not just the biggest game of their season, but that of the entire college football season.
The biggest difference in 2012 may be the play of the QBs. AJ McCarron has taken a dramatic step forward this season and has become a Heisman candidate, completing 68.9% of his passes for 1,684 yards, 18 TDs and 0 INTs. Zach Mettenberger, on the other hand, has not been able to add a passing dimension to LSU's offense, completing only 56.6% of his passes for 1,419 yards, 7 TDs and 4 INTs.
As a result, Alabama comes into the game a whopping 9.5-point favorite, a huge margin considering how difficult it has been to win night road games in Baton Rouge against Les Miles.
And while the LSU defense is still as fearsome as ever in 2012, Mettenberger is going to have to play better for the Bayou Bengals to pull off what would be a stunning upset.
The game, which is scheduled to kick off at 8:00 p.m. EST, will be broadcast nationally on CBS.