Coaches' keys to Alabama-LSU

Updated: October 31, 2012, 12:23 PM ET
By Travis Haney

Some of the shine came off Alabama-LSU, Part Trois: Battle in the Bayou, when the Tigers lost last month at Florida. Don't think for a second, however, that the national importance is diminished for a Crimson Tide team working to distance itself from the field and an LSU bunch seeking to climb back into the BCS picture. The Tigers are already to No. 5, and would it surprise anyone if Kansas State, Notre Dame or Oregon dropped a game? This game still has plenty of sizzle, as it is.

The rest of the SEC's head and assistant coaches, even if they'll be busy Saturday, will be keeping tabs on what's happening in Baton Rouge. That's the way it goes when the league's best get together. I asked several in the past few days what they expect this weekend at Tiger Stadium.

Here's a sampling of their thoughts, paired with some of my own, on the five biggest keys to the game.

1. Good luck beating Tide at their own game
LSU's strengths are defense and running the ball. So are Alabama's, and it has done it better than the Tigers. Lining up and going right at the Tide is a difficult proposition.

"It's kind of sad for the rest of us when LSU's lines have the best chance of competing with Alabama," one coach said, "and we're not even sure if they're that close."