Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Another Pivotal Game

With LSU's team taking the week off, I decided to do the same last week as there really wasn't much to report.  Heading into this weekend, LSU finds themselves at another fork in the road that is the 2009 season.  I jumped up and down screaming that LSU's game against Georgia was the biggest of the year, but with Auburn coming to town in a couple of days, this weekend's match up looks to be the most pivotal this year. 

Right now, LSU is right where everyone thought they would be.  After two of their toughest tests of the year, the Tigers sit at ninth in the BCS standings with a 5-1 record.  But with dysfunctional offensive performances all year and an alarmingly close win at Mississippi State, the fan base is uneasy over how the second half of the season may play out.  The second half of the season begins with Auburn on Saturday. 

With a win against Auburn, LSU's season sets up nicely.  They'll win a scrimmage against Tulane and then head to Tuscaloosa ranked around seventh in the nation.  While most don't give the Tigers much of a chance on the road against Alabama right now, we all know that anything can happen.  That game would hold a lot of meaning in terms of an SEC West Championship, and the players would be highly motivated.  LSU then finishes with Louisiana Tech and then two tough, but very winnable games against Ole Miss and Arkansas.   LSU would hand Auburn their third loss of the season.  Georgia already has three losses, and they still have to face Florida, Auburn, and Georgia Tech.  Ole Miss has two losses and some tough games remaining.  While it's too early to project these things, LSU would seem to be heading towards the Capital One Bowl, if not better. 

However, a loss to Auburn spells trouble.  LSU would essentially be out of the race for winning the West.  The team would really just be playing for positioning for a bowl game at that point.  The negativity level around the program would be substantial.  And you'd then have to worry about the coaching staff losing this team.  After the highly disappointing 2008 season, another poor season would start to indicate a trend rather than an anomaly. 

The Auburn game only counts for one win or one loss, just like any other.  But it's easy to see why this game falls at a critical point during this season...and during Les Miles' tenure at LSU.  I realize that may be a bit of a stretch, but that's the way I see it. 

In addition, LSU will be hosting a number of big-time recruits at the game this weekend.  Some of those recruits, namely Trovon Reed and Lache Seastrunk, are strongly considering Auburn as well as LSU.  That places even more importance on this game. 

LSU is coming off a bye week.  Auburn's defense is ranked 11th in the SEC and they've given up 22 touchdowns, most in the league.  It looks like a good week for LSU's offense to show considerable improvement.  The Tigers are playing at night, and they haven't lost consecutive night games since 1999.  LSU has plenty to play for with lots of things in their favor.  LSU and Auburn always play each other very close, but I see no reason why LSU shouldn't win this game. 

I hope to have a more detailed piece tomorrow focusing on the game itself. 


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