The rest of the picks, power poll, and other parts of this dog and pony show will be up tomorrow. But, in the name of accountability, our picks for tonight's LSU/Mississippi State game.
DOUBLE YOUR PAYCHECK*
Season: 11-8-1 (.575)
LSU (-4) at Mississippi State
I'm having trouble getting motivated to write something here. Feel like I'm stuck in a rut. Is there anyone out there who can get my ass in gear?
Well say, Coach Croom, well say.
With the loss to Auburn last week, Mississippi State continues to build evidence, dating back to last season, that they are a team that beats bad teams easily, needs a few breaks to get by average teams, and loses to good teams. I attribute that to two factors: One, while talent is sprinkled here and there, it's not a team with a heavy amount of talented players. Two, they are a one-dimensional offense.
Against bad teams, neither of those things matter, as long as you don't turn the ball over or do other dumb things to keep you from winning. Against teams like yourself, the difference in talent becomes almost nothing, which means you have to make a few more plays than the other team, or have them make the dumb mistakes. The other team isn't good enough to fully exploit your weaknesses, nor you theirs, so it comes down to being the least dumb and most efficient team.
The story changes against good teams. They have the ability to take away what you love to do and make you do what you don't want to do. In this case, LSU has the ability to keep State's running game (meaning: their offense) from putting up the yards and points we've seen so far. Their focus will be on making Chris Relf throw deeper and more often than he or Dan Mullen wants.
A full season and some change as a starter says he can't do it, but for State to win, he has to do it. It won't have to be many, but four or five big passing plays would probably change LSU's entire approach on defense, and would open more opportunities for State's offense. I'm betting he won't be able to, and, in combination with State's defensive front seven that looked awful against Auburn, I'm taking the Tigers to cover.
*You will NOT double your paycheck.
MAN AGAINST BEAST
Season: 16-6 (.727)
Season: 13-9 (.590)
LSU - Immediately inhaled the slice of beef on top of the LSU index card.
POE VERSUS LOW
Season: 19-3 (.863)
The hype for this game has diminished considerably since Mississippi State shit the bed and lost to Auburn. Granted, they were going up against the will of God, but teams that have been running their mouth about winning the West should be able to beat average teams on the road. The team coming to Starkville today is not an average team. They will stop State's run, which amounts to shutting down State's entire offense.
One dimensional offenses do not move the ball against defenses like LSU. State's biggest scoring threat is a Jarrett Lee TAINT (touchdown after INT). Mr. Lee has been TAINT-less so far, but we all know the next TAINT is right around the corner. The problem for State is they need multiple TAINTS and their crappy defense is only capable of producing one TAINT. One TAINT is not enough TAINTS to win this game. I like saying TAINT. Dan Mullen goes to 0-9 in the West against teams not coached by Houston Nutt. (24-14 LSU)
Season: 19-3 (.863)
The middle of that Mississippi State defense looked vulnerable last week in the loss to Auburn. There’s nothing vulnerable about LSU’s defense, which looks faster and more menacing by the week. The Bulldogs will make a few plays on offense, but the Tigers will make a few more on defense. … LSU 27, Mississippi State 21