Tuesday, November 27, 2007

5 Reasons Why Tennessee Will Be No CakeWalk For LSU

1. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION: The game is basically in Tennessee. With Atlanta, Ga., a mere 1.5 hours from the Rocky Top border, there will be a sea of orange in hotlanta this Saturday. LSU's fans travel well, but they will simply be outnumbered in region so friendly to Volunteer country. The crowd advantage may play havoc with LSU's gameplans as the offense puts more wrinkles in an already more complicated set.

2. COACHING CAROUSEL DISTRACTIONS: The rumors are growing more deafening by the day: Les Miles to Michigan, and Bo Pelini to Nebraska. The seniors on LSU's squad have enough going through their heads with last week's devastating loss to Arkansas, but add to the mix the volatility of the coaching situation in Baton Rouge. The behind-the-scenes script doesn't bode well for the Tigers; on the other end of the ball, Tennessee's Philip Fulmer is riding on a crest of stability, even with a 3- to 4-loss season.

3. ONE WORD: FOSTER. Tennessee's starting running back is more than decent, better than average, and he's got the stats to back him up. He'll be a hard horse for the Tigers to tame, with LSU's struggles against marquee tailbacks. His 1100 yards have come against the tough SEC, with a whopping 7-yards-a-carry against Alabama. Will LSU be able to contain him?

4. MATT FLYNN: LSU's starting quarterback has had an uneven season and has been hurt by the loss of Ryan Perrilloux (or should we say, refusal to play?) Opposing teams have gotten wise to LSU's sets and schemes, and even commentators have called out the trends of LSU's running plays with Jacob Hester.

5. ERIC AINGE: Tennessee's battle-tested quarterback shines in these kinds of games. He is not a dynamic thoroughbred, but the Volunteers don't need him to be: He simply throws the danged ball pretty danged well. It's been enough to win the SEC East. LSU has had trouble with quarterbacks that believe in themselves, giving waaay more yards than necessary to the likes of Brandon Cox and John Parker Wilson. Look for Ainge to get hit, but not rattled. And that will be interesting.

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