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
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
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