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College football Week 11 viewing guide: LSU-Alabama is here

Bill Clinton once took a nap on Nick Saban’s couch. No, really.
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow (9) passes in the first half against Florida in Baton Rouge, La., on Oct. 12, 2019. [BILL FEIG | AP]
Published Nov. 8

Lamest time window: Late. The first sets of games are great, so it’s a perfect night for a dinner out.

Noon: We’ll finally learn how good undefeated Minnesota really is when the No. 13 Golden Gophers host No. 5 Penn State.

3:30: No. 1 LSU vs. No. 2 Alabama, of course.

4: If you need a secondary option behind this year’s Game of the Century, No. 18 Iowa at No. 16 Wisconsin will be the perfect defensive slug fest to counter the high-scoring SEC shootout. What a weird thing to write.

7: I’d say South Carolina should be on upset watch against Appalachian State, but the Mountaineers should be favored in this one…

7:30: Weird things happen at North Carolina State, so watch out, No. 4 Clemson.

8: Iowa State can hang with No. 9 Oklahoma.

Eye on the NFL draft

Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy (4) catches a touchdown pass against Arkansas on Oct. 26 in Tuscaloosa, Ala. [VASHA HUNT | AP]

Five first-round, non-quarterback prospects to watch in LSU-Alabama:

Alabama receiver Jerry Jeudy: His 24 career touchdown catches are the second most in program history, behind Amari Cooper (31).

Alabama receiver Henry Ruggs: He’s only one behind Jeudy in that category, and his average touchdown covers a ridiculous 40.2 yards.

LSU safety Grant Delpit: One of the most versatile defenders in the country has been nursing an ankle injury but is still expected to play.

RELATED: Why Grant Delpit is the next LSU defender Bucs fans should know

LSU outside linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson: He, too, has been injury-plagued but has elite pass rushing potential at the next level.

Alabama offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood: The Pensacola native shined as a freshman in the national title win over Georgia and has started all 23 games since then.

GameDay breakdown

The last LSU-Alabama Game of the Century (2011) was a 9-6 slug fest. This one will be more like a 49-46 shootout. Both teams have great passing attacks, so it might come down to the run game. Alabama is more consistent with Najee Harris, but LSU is more explosive with Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Can the Tigers crack Nick Saban’s defense with a big run or two?

Presidential visit

With President Donald Trump expected to attend the LSU-Alabama game, Saban was asked about his previous encounters with presidents. His best story was when Bill Clinton set up at Michigan State’s football building before a speaking engagement when Saban still coached there. “The Secret Service guys came and got my couch and asked if they could take it to his office so he could take a nap,” Saban said. Saban’s response: “Certainly.”

Tua vs. Burrow

The LSU-Alabama matchup pits two of the nation’s top passers against each other (assuming Tua Tagovailoa’s ankle has recovered well enough for him to play):

Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa

In this Sept. 7, 2019, photo, Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (13) looks to throw during the first half against New Mexico State. [VASHA HUNT | AP]

Passing efficiency: 212.40 (No. 2 nationally)

Yards per attempt: 11.2 (No. 2)

Completion percentage: 74.7 (No. 2)

TD passes: 27 (No. 3)

Notable school records held: Career passing TDs (81), career TDs responsible for (90)

LSU’s Joe Burrow

In this Oct. 12, 2019, photo, LSU quarterback Joe Burrow (9) passes in the second half against Florida, in Baton Rouge, La. [GERALD HERBERT | AP]

Passing efficiency: 204.47 (No. 3 nationally)

Yards per attempt: 10.8 (No. 3)

Completion percentage: 78.8 (No. 1)

TD passes: 30 (No. 2)

Notable school records held: Passing TDs in a season (30), consecutive games with at least 20 completions (11)

The other big game

For the first time since 1904, undefeated Minnesota has opened its season by scoring at least 28 points in its first eight games. Can the No. 13 Golden Gophers continue the trend against No. 5 Penn State? Probably not, but there’s a chance P.J. Fleck’s Gophers keep the game close, which is remarkable enough.

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