Like the first matchup, this game may well hinge on special teams. Alabama kickers Cade Foster and Jeremy Shelley missed a combined four field goals against the Tigers. "Saban will punt and play field position rather than try long field goals," says one coach. "And no way in the world will he punt to that number 7 [Tyrann Mathieu]. He might be the best punt returner in years. Saban won't let him get his hands on the ball in the open field."
After spending hours breaking down these two teams, the three SEC coaches agree on three things about the BCS title game: Because of the strength of the defenses, the contest will again be low scoring. LSU will have more talent on the field, by a very small margin. And ... Alabama will win. Why? Nick Saban. "It's almost unfair to give Saban so much time to prepare," says one coach, echoing the other two. "Alabama generally outplayed LSU the first time, but the scoreboard didn't say that. I think they'll do it again, but this time the result will be different."
SI agrees: Alabama 13, LSU 10.