With a 3:30 start for today's contest against Les Miles' Institute of Testicular Fortitude, there's precious little time for previewing. You've already been treated to Too Much Information, but there are still 5 more things you'll see this afternoon:
A first half to remember: Frequent, high quality commenter LSU Jonno took issue with this prediction yesterday before I'd even fully presented it. I can't say I blame him. Based on the Bayou Bengals' performances this season, you'd think that the halftime score is irrelevant. But there's a difference between an Auburn team that's demonstrated that it can't hold a lead on St. Gertrude's Nunnery (and a South Carolina squad with no discernible depth, a fact which will hamper them for the remainder of the year, as it does every year) and a Georgia team that has been playing 50+ players on a weekly basis and has a demonstrated penchant for long, clock-killing drives.
30 Matt Stafford Passes (or more): I think that Stafford will find success against this defense. Again, I suspect LSU Jonno justifiably disagrees with me. But I don't think "The Express" has been tested against any single pass blocker as effective as Knowshon Moreno, Brannen Southerland or Shaun Chapas. I also don't think that those four defenders are that much quicker than South Carolina's front four, based on what I saw of both last week and during our game against the Gamecocks last month. We can't run the ball into the teeth of the LSU defense, and with their secondary, there's no reason to. Coach Bobo will use the pass to set up the run. Expect Stafford to air it out early and often, for better or for worse).
Charles Scott in the 4th quarter: LSU has shown a tendency to run the ball late behind their huge offensive line with their bowling ball tailback. As the old saying goes, "quick guys get tired, but big guys don't shrink." I'm a little worried about our thin defensive line corps if we need to get a stop late to get the ball back. Even if we have the lead late, LSU has shown an ability to get the ball down the field fairly quickly on the ground.
The "Smash" route: If LSU is vulnerable anywhere on defense, it's at the corners. They also like to play a lot of two deep zone coverage, and will want to bring at least one linebacker to pressure Stafford. Against these looks one of the best pass routes available is the "smash" route. The smash is a combination requiring two receivers. The outside receiver attacks the corner with a short curl route or "in" route while the inside receiver runs a corner route behind the defender. You can find a visual explanation plus a lot more at Chris Brown's excellent blog Smart Football. For purposes of this game, you'll know it when you see it. Bonus prediction: While A.J. Green and MoMass will get plenty of chances, look for at least three other wideouts to get a catch (I'm thinking principally of Mike Moore, Tavarres King and Kris Durham).
UGA 27, LSU 20. I strongly considered doing something here that I almost never do, namely, to predict a Bulldog loss. Admittedly, this Bulldog team has some problems. But as Kyle wisely pointed out in his prediction, LSU has its own flaws. The Tigers beat South Carolina by the same margin that we did. They looked just as bad (or worse) against Florida than we did against Alabama. They struggled before pulling one out against Tulane, and they're coming off a physical night road game in Columbia. If the score were reversed I wouldn't be a bit surprised. This prediction is far, far from a lock. But I think that we have enough weapons to win, and LSU just enough warts to lose. Also, I like where our team has been headed mentally. They feel disrespected and have keyed on this as a chance to make a statement about where they stand in the national pecking order. Let's see if they can do it. I'll talk to you in the open comment thread. Until then . . .