LSU vs Georgia, Prediction Pick, 2009
By McD Rumors and Rants
Is No. 4 LSU the worst top ten team at the moment? It certainly seems that they’re the most vulnerable. The Tigers haven’t played a complete offensive and defensive game yet in 2009. They’ve had spots, but every one of their flaws has come to light, then kept showing up repeatedly.
The facts are these: LSU is a pretty good defensive team. Not great, not overly-talented, but pretty good. The offense? That’s another issue. They have every tool an offense would hypothetically need. Dual-threat quarterback? Check. Athletic, speedy wide receivers? Check. A stable of amazing runners? Check. An offensive line full of studs? Check. And yet they haven’t blown out any of the mediocre-to-bad teams on their schedule so far: Washington, Vanderbilt, Louisiana-Lafayette, and Mississippi State. Three of those four games were in doubt in the second half, even.
So what gives?
Against No. 14 Georgia, the offense needs to find a way to stay on the field and be efficient. LSU knows how to access its playmakers, but it’s clear the offensive coaches don’t trust quarterback Jordan Jefferson to carry them with all the safe, short passes he throws. That’s why his statistics look decent and he hasn’t thrown many interceptions. The problem is, the passing game isn’t exactly scary either.
That means LSU’s running game ought to be the focus of the playcalling, but it isn’t. It is unforgivable that a team with Keiland Williams and Charles Scott would fail to get them 40-45 combined carries, especially in games the team is winning. The Tigers have been getting that dynamic duo about 20-28 combined carries per game. Speedster Trindon Holliday only has seven total offensive touches in four games!
Against Mississippi State, LSU only ran for 30 yards (!) on 31 attempts. The Tigers never trailed after the first quarter, but they averaged 1 yard per carry for the game, and did not have a running back with double-digit carries. That’s on head coach Les Miles and offensive coordinator Gary Crowton. I have strong feelings about Les Miles, but someone needs to buy FireGaryCrowton.com and fast.
Georgia’s offense is going to tear LSU up if the Tigers are sloppy and inefficient again on offensive side of the ball – like they were against Mississippi State. LSU’s secondary already has an unfavorable (to say the very least) matchup with AJ Green, and if that unit is on the field for an extended amount of time because Crowton just hates running the ball, it’s curtains for LSU.
I don’t think too highly of Georgia’s offense or defense. The Bulldogs’ defense is soft and can be beaten like a drum (119 points allowed in four games) while their offense is overly conservative and doesn’t have any playmakers other than Green. Georgia would be outscored by their opponents on the season if not for the shoot out against Arkansas’ horrible defense. At it’s core, Georgia is a very mediocre team. LSU is going to rush/blitz the hell out of quarterback Joe Cox and try to add to the five interceptions he’s already thrown in four games. The Bulldogs’ overall blah-ness the only reason I’m not 100% sure Georgia is going to win on Saturday. Plus Mark Richt is their head coach. Enough said.
Georgia is favored by 2.5 right now, and I really, really hate picking the Bulldogs. They’re really unpredictable, conservative, and not what you’d call “clutch.” But I have to go with track records for 2009 so far, and that tells me LSU isn’t going to do enough to win. They just haven’t been consistent. My head tells me it’s so obvious they should use their huge offensive line and pound Scott and Williams down Georgia’s throat, but they haven’t done that yet, even when beating lesser teams. At least Georgia has an identity. I just don’t think LSU will score enough points. I’m sad to say it, but take Georgia by a figgie even though LSU really is the vastly superior team.