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FINALLY the last college football game of the season is coming up, much less the last bowl game of the season. Obviously, there are arguments as to whether this is the best matchup possible, but this is what we are stuck with. The two teams playing are undoubtedly two really good teams, so it should be a good game anyway.
A look at the intangibles:
I shall get to the point: LSU will win. They play in the SEC and have gone against seven teams ranked in the top 17. Their two losses came in double overtime against schools that were playing well at the time. They have good speed along with their good talent, and Ohio State may not be able to keep up for the whole game. Furthermore, with the Michigan coaching search over with for a while, LSU has been able to concentrate more, not that they were not able to, as they won the SEC championship with that cloud of uncertainty hanging over them anyway. LSU is playing in their backyard as well in the Superdome.
That’s not to say Ohio State is not a worthy opponent. To be number one in the nation, you cannot be a bad team. Ohio State has talent, but is it enough to overcome the following? Sure, they made the national championship last year, but Troy Smith and Antonio Pittman are both gone. Ohio State scheduled Akron, Washington, and Youngstown State rather than putting in a typical strong team (#2 Texas the past two years) knowing that this year they would need some easy wins to get to where they are. The rest of the year they played nobody ranked higher than #21 in a weak Big Ten, and lost to an Illinois team that got creamed by USC in the Rose Bowl earlier this week. They had problems with Juice Williams and his mobility, and LSU’s quarterbacks can move around, which may pose some difficulties. Furthermore, they have not played since November 17 th, which contributed last year to their rustiness in a blowout loss to Florida. Who says it will not happen again this year?
Both teams are pretty even in terms of overall talent. On defense, James Laurinaitis was Big Ten defensive player of the year, and Glenn Dorsey is a consensus top ten pick in the NFL draft. Todd Boeckman and Matt Flynn/Ryan Perrilloux have great potential, but are both a bit raw. Beanie Wells and Jacob Hester have good speed and power. Jim Tressel is a proven coach, and Les Miles has done a good job replacing legend Nick Saban. The aforementioned intangibles push the favorite towards LSU, however, and thus they are my pick to win, 27-21.