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|LSU to win third title|
Back in August I predicted an undefeated season, SEC Championship and National Championship for LSU.
I also predicted the Tigers would be playing Michigan for the title.
The Tigers are playing for a championship after winning the SEC, but they didn't finish unbeaten. They certainly could of, just as they certainly could have finished 8-4.
It feels like it has been August since the Tigers last played a game, especially considering the weekly heart stress test Tiger fans went through in the latter part of the season.
I do believe if JaMarcus Russell had stayed one more year the Tigers would be the team ranked No. 1 for this contest. Russell had a way of playing his best when the game came down to the final minute. And we don't even need to go there any more.
Actually, if Adrian Peterson had returned to Oklahoma I believe the Sooners would be playing LSU again for the national championship.
Russell versus Peterson would have had college forecasters drooling all over their Teleprompters.
But getting back to here and now, it will be LSU against Ohio State for the right to be shown on Sports Illustrated commercials the next three months.
Not that they care what I think, but I'm glad this game is on Fox instead of ABC. I was very disappointed with ABC's coverage of the LSU-Oklahoma game in 2004 for the national title. They did not show replays on crucial plays, kept showing the Oklahoma band while rarely showing the LSU band and must have showed previews of future Desperate Housewives episodes over and over and over.
Sure, we'll get our fill of American Idol promos, but at least we won't have Brent Musburger to put up with for four quarters and more. Of course, getting Musburger away from Southern Cal would have been quite a chore. I think Pete Carroll is joined at his hip.
I would love to see CBS carrying the game. Verne Lundquist is the best play-by-play man in the business right now. And while Gary Danielson made a couple of comments about LSU during the season that made me go, "Huh?", I really enjoyed his commentary and insight during the season.
And I can't let a column go by without mentioning Lou Holtz. Doltz said Illinois has more talent than LSU and spent most of the time downgrading LSU's defense as Mark May sat by with his mouth agape. ESPN is losing a lot of credibility with comments Holtz has made this year. The man still thinks Notre Dame is a great team, for goodness sakes.
Getting back to the game, give LSU the edge in talent and Ohio State the advantage in motivation.
And, boy, has motivation been a problem for the Tigers this season.
You can bet OSU will come in with a major chip on its shoulder.
I believe special teams will play a major part in this contest, and I fear the big return or blocked punt as a big momentum swing for the Buckeyes.
Of course, LSU's biggest advantage will be team speed. I look for Trindon Holliday and Richard Murphy to get a lot of touches. Murphy is a pack of dynamite waiting to explode.
Brandon LaFell came on against Notre Dame in last year's Sugar Bowl and I expect him to have some big plays against the Buckeyes.
I would love to see Gary Crowton let Matt Flynn let one fly on LSU's first series to loosen up that Buckeye defense just a bit. Even if it is incomplete (how about putting Holliday in the slot and just wing that baby as far as you can), it will at least give Ohio State something to think about besides clogging up the middle for Jacob Hester.
Ohio State has some heavy hitters in the defensive backfield, so ol' reliable Early Doucet will be counted on to move the chains.
The good news on defense is that the Tigers will be the healthiest they have been since the first game of the season.
I look for Darry Beckwith and Ali Highsmith to be flying all over the place and Craig Steltz to have some major hits. As long as Danny McCray does not have to cover anyone one-on-one, the Tigers will be in good shape.
Judging by November, LSU will go into the locker room at halftime either up by three points or down by three points.
After Les Miles gives his halftime interview ("See ya"), the Tigers will come out more focused in the second half.
There will be a chance to pull away, but a silly mistake such as a receiver not lined up right or a holding call will make the Tigers work harder for the win.
But in the end, Jacob Hester comes through in the clutch one more time and the Tigers pull out a 28-24 win.
The Tigers are voted No. 1 in the AP poll as Carroll whines about how great his team is and Lee Corso has the Trojans playing New England in the Super Bowl.
Everyone talks about the need for a playoff because of how bad most of the bowls were, but nothing is done about it. Oh well, wait 'til next year.
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