Friday, September 07, 2007

College Football Preview: Virginia Tech vs. LSU!

Virginia Tech at LSU: Why is this the biggest college football game of the year, not just of the first two weeks, but potentially of the entire season?

If favored LSU wins, they will have notched the "best" win of the season. And with their next-toughest game being a home grudge-match against Florida – not to mention top-dog status in the SEC – the Tigers would have the inside track on one of the two precious BCS title-game invites.

Now, if Virginia Tech wins (as I have predicted they will as the most important part of my "Why Virginia Tech will win the national title" argument), they will instantly rack up the single-best win of the season in the nation, with any other potential outcomes the rest of the season running second. They will have a straight shot at running the table. And they will instantly have a national bandwagon.

The bottom line why this game is so huge? The winner can be (and SHOULD be) the No. 1 team in the country on Monday, with the inside track on a spot in the national-title game.

Because I think this game is so big (and because I cannot possibly do it enough justice myself), I brought in two guest-posters from each side. Representing Virginia Tech, the immensely talented Nick Dallamora of The Dugout. And representing LSU, the immensely talented Josh Levin of Slate.

From Nick Dallamora:

The first week of college football produces what is arguably the messiest display of arguments and number swapping this side of a mathematical proofs class. We're given our first chance to dig into some teams and see how their new lineups shaped out, but these games can be quite deceiving, as was the case with Virginia Tech. Playing a weak ECU team was an almost guaranteed win, but a mere 17-7 from #9? As usual, there's more going into this Saturday. Here are 5 reasons why Tech can beat LSU Saturday night:

5. Anyone can win in a low scoring game
I don't think anyone is expecting to see more than 21 points on the board, so either team should be within striking distance at any point in the game.

4. VT's defense is just as likely to score as their offense
The ability strike on D keeps the game within reach on both sides of the ball. LSU's spread offense will have to be contained to force Matt Flynn into making rushed passes.

3. Sean Glennon didn't suck as bad as usual
Sure, first pass for a pick Saturday, but that was his only one and he completed 2/3 of his passes. Potential upswing here.

2. A great receiving core
LSU's defense is not going to give up much, but when they do it's going to cost them. Royal, Morgan, and Hyman are big deep threats.

1. Beamer and Bud
I'm convinced Frank Beamer and Bud Foster have a terrific game plan saved up for this game. Didn't it seem like Eddie Royal had the day off last week?

****

From Josh Levin:

Dan has asked me to say a few words about why the Tigers are going to stomp the Hokies on Saturday night. Since I'm an extremely neurotic sports fan, the best I can do is explain why LSU should win if they don't screw up.

First off, the defense is really really good. The linebackers are a bit overrated, but they're all speedy and they're all returning starters. The defensive line is as good as everyone says, with both stars (DT Glenn Dorsey, DE Tyson Jackson) and depth.

And even though the line gets all the publicity, the secondary is LSU's greatest strength—Jonathan Zenon and Chevis Jackson can man up on anyone and Craig Steltz and Danny McCray are both (forgive the blasphemy) way better than insta-legend LaRon Landry in pass coverage. Virginia Tech QB Sean Glennon has gotten rattled in big games before. If he gets 1/10 as discombobulated as Mississippi State 's Michael Henig, he should set the LSU offense up for some easy scores.

Matt Flynn, on the other hand, has shown the ability (albeit in a brief career) to run his way out of trouble and avoid stupid mistakes. For LSU to win, Flynn has to keep up the stupidity-avoidance. More important, the right side of the Tigers' o-line—particularly Carnell Stewart, who got abused by MSU's Titus Brown last week—must play tougher this week and give Flynn some time to operate.

But LSU's biggest question mark this year is this: Against a top defense like Virginia Tech's (and in the absence of first rounders Dwayne Bowe and Craig Davis), who's going to take the pressure off Early Doucet? If Terrance Tolliver, Brandon LaFell, or some other untested receiver doesn't have a big day, the Tigers might struggle to move the ball.

And now I'm out of space. But don't forget about Keiland Williams. And don't sleep on Richard Murphy ... Final score: LSU 20, Virginia Tech 9

****

Shanoff's pick: VT 12, LSU 10

-- D.S.

19 comments:

pv845 said...

We all give you a lot of crap, but that predicted score is awesome. LSU 24 - VT 21

Sean said...

hahahaha 12-10. That's awesome.

I'll take LSU (home team) 20-10

kway34 said...

LSU 17 - VT 13

By the way, it looks like the biggest game of the year right now, but if the loser finishes 8-4 then it won't really be now will it?

GuyInTheCorner said...

So LSU, who scored 45 on the road at Miss. St, is going to score only 10 points at home against Virginia Tech who last week gave up 7 to East Carolina at home and could only score 17.

So the difference in VT's score from home vs. East Carolina and away at LSU is only a loss of 5 points?

And the difference in LSU's score from away at Miss St. to home vs. VT is a loss of 35?

Interesting.

Brian in Oxford said...

How about 8-3, LSU?

ToddTheJackass said...

I can't wait for the Quickie jinx to reemerge, and LSU drops 40+ to VTech's 28.

I'm going to the BC/NC State tomorrow. Can't wait to boo the shit out of Tom O'Brien for what he did in not medically redshirting Ryan Glasper. What an asshole.

GuyInTheCorner said...

About that whole "Brohm #1 in Heisman no matter what else happens", what if Colt Brennan throws 7/20 for 360 yards and 3 TDs, no INTs, and rushes 4 times for 3 yards and a TD?

That's what he has to do to equal Brohm. I think that you and we all know that he will put up way more than that.

And I didn't factor in that he didn't play the 2nd half last week.

Lawdog1214 said...

College football truly starts with this game.

As for a winner, I can't decide for the following reasons.

I hate the SEC and anything associated with it and Dan's pick to win the NC is VT.

Is it possible that they both lose?

PatriotsNation said...

Simmon's down to his wife already!!

Preview Part 2


VTech 24 LSU 21

Natsfan74 said...

Dan -- strangely, I am going to agree with you that this is the biggest game of the college football season. Kway is also right, if one of these teams ends up stinking, it will quickly lose its strength (but I don't see that happening).

This game is going to be the highest ranked match-up of non-conference opponents all season. For a team to take this kind of a game early in the season says a lot about both programs (even though this contract was probably signed 10 years ago before LSU came back to prominence). Last year, before the OSU/ Texas game, the Buckeyes AD said he wants a top 5 opponent every year as a non-conference game. The Texas AD said he would never sign a deal like that again, but was constrained by a 10 year old contract.
Even bigger, a lot of SEC teams are finally playing top non-conference opponents. If they can win some of these bigger match-ups, it will earn respect from the doubters (like me). Georgia played well last week, but Auburn got very lucky to win and Tennessee...well..... Now it's up to LSU and Alabama (against FSU) to put up some early season wins to make their match-ups with Florida and Arkansas et al seem much better.
Remember, before the BCS championship game last year, the SEC had a poor bowl record and no big non-conference wins (unless you count ND). This year, they have a chance to fix that early on.

Taylor said...

LSU 34 - 17. LSU will dominate the game on all fronts. LSU has been the best team in the country for the past 1 - 2 years. Yes, I know they didn't win it all last year, but the are certainly capable and if there was such a thing as a playoff system, they would have proven that week in, week out they have been the most solid team for a while. By the way, no I am not an LSU fan.

jhawkjjm said...

This game is even bigger than the BCS national championship! I mean Ohio St vs Michigan was the biggest game last year and the winner of that game was of course the favorite for the national championship and should have no problems winning it. Right?

Matt T said...

I'm torn. I like seeing the SEC win nonconference games, but Les Miles never wins a big game.

Oh and congrats on the Fanhouse move to Nick and The Dugout.

chipp said...

If the loser winds up 8-4, this game doesn't mean much, but if LSU wins and loses 2 down the road, it still doesn't mean much, right? The biggest advantage/disadvantage that the SEC and the PAC-10 have is the strength of the conference: there are always 4-6 teams in both conferences that have the ability to knock off the top team. If a team from either conference sweeps, they should vie for the BCS title (as long as there are no major non-con gaffs).

Until things change, the SEC and the PAC-10 should be the BCS Conferences and the others should have to "play-in".

Going to BSU @ UW Saturday: should be fun!

Natsfan74 said...

Chipp -- I thought you were crazy saying the Pac 10 was your other team, until you said you were going to the UW game, so I will assume you are a Pac 10 fan.

I'd say last year was the anomoly where USC had real competition (and 2 losses). That's a one horse conference like the ACC used to be (FSU). The hardest thing about a one horse conference is that horse plays every game with a bullseye on its chest. Everyone wants to beat USC (or OSU, Michigan, Tex, etc.), but USC may not bring their A game to every match-up.

And I'm still gonna disagree about the SEC even. I know Florida won big in the championship game. I respect that. But if tOSU wins that game, then the Big 10 goes 3-0 against the SEC in bowls, and USC (the Rose Bowl champ) beats Arkansas (the SEC West Champ) by 30 in the regular season. Florida winning made it easy to forget the other games, but it didn't make those teams better.

CycleDan said...

Personally, I don't see the VTech offense moving the ball against LSU. VTech will score one TD on defense of special teams and LSU will win comfortably by at least a TD.

Couldn't we already say a game like California - USC is also just as big?

hansenm said...

Dan, I really like the idea of having informed commenters make predictions for "their" team in big games. Make this a regular feature for any "big game of the week".

WedgeMcWedgy said...

Funny story about scheduling; I live in Baton Rouge now but went to Southern Miss and have been awaiting the LSU - USM matchup for over 7 years now and will keep waiting I guess. USM is no juggernaut, but we're not a pushover 9 bowls in 10 years and 13 winning seasons in a row and going, actually more known for upsets and big defense.

When I first attended USM in 2001 they had just confirmed a 1 game in B.R. 2002 matchup with LSU.

2002 came around and LSU asked to move the game to 2004 for whatever reason. In its place we scheduled I-AA Jackson State as everyone filled up their schedules already.

After 2003's natnl championship LSU asked that we move the game again to 2005. In its place we got a 1 game only contract with Auburn (who we already had contracted to play in 2008 & 2009).

1 week before schedules were announced Auburn reniged on the game and said they're playing someone else and they'd play us in 2010 instead (which is funny cause we're now slated to play Auburn AT Auburn in '08, '09 and '10...fun)
Again cause it happened so close to season we were left with Nicholl's State.

Come this season USM was flaunting one of the best schedules for a non-BCS team with games @ LSU, Boise state, and Tennessee.

For anyone who has CSTV knows as they said LSU has again reniged on the game and said they'll play us in either 2009 or 2011. In its place we got I-AA Tennessee-Martin.

Its gotten so bad that USM fans have actually started a hall of shame collection of teams that refuse to play us:
http://goldeneaglefans.homestead.com/shame.html

I know this isn't specific to only Southern Miss but I just find college amusing in this manner. Maybe We'll play LSU some day...

Barnett said...

Wow, I bet you wish you could have this one over. Hahahaha.