Thursday, November 29, 2007

SEC Championship Game

LSU and Tennessee head to Atlanta this weekend for the 2007 edition of the SEC Championship game. LSU watched its national title hopes go out the window last week, while the Vols continued their winning ways with yet another gutty victory, this time over Kentucky.

SEC Championship Game
(#14, #15) Tennessee(9-3, 6-2) vs (#5, #7) LSU(10-2, 6-2)
3:00 PM, CBS
Thursday’s Line: LSU -7.5

This game will be all about LSU’s focus, as in whether or not they have any. At all. After sleepwalking through the Ole Miss game, the Tigers tried that same tactic against a fired up Arkansas team, and watched as Darren McFadden and Peyton Hillis ran out of Tiger Stadium with their national title aspirations. This LSU team has been something of an enigma since the 5th week of the season when they played Tulane. They struggled mightily in the first half against the Green Wave and then never played like they did in the first 4 weeks that saw them outscore opponents 165-23, including wins over 2 Top-10 opponents. They teetered on the brink of disaster in the Florida, Auburn, and Alabama games but because of superior talent (and a little bit of luck) were able to pull those games out. Les Miles’ Magic 8 Ball ran out of luck against Kentucky and the Tigers were just flat-out outplayed and outcoached by Arkansas.

For Tennessee, 4 games into the season, many Vol fans were ready to run Fulmer out of town. UT had been embarrassed on national TV by both Florida and California, and their defense struggled to stop lightweights in Southern Mississippi and Arkansas State. Since that week, UT is 7-1, with the one a loss a big egg laid in Tuscaloosa. The Vols’ 3 losses have been by a combined 67 points, and all 3 have been away from Neyland Stadium.

Even if the LSU coaching staff isn’t entirely focused on this game, the seniors will be. Guys like Matt Flynn, Glenn Dorsey, and Early Doucet will get the rest of the team up and ready for it. Tennessee has certainly been the better team the last 8 weeks of the season, but LSU has the talent advantage at nearly every position on the field. Look for Miles’ Magic 8 Ball to come up Aces this weekend, as the Tigers wrap up a Sugar Bowl berth.

Now they’ll just need to figure out who’s going to coach them in the Bowl…

LSU 34
UT 27

Straight Up Winner: LSU
Against the Spread: Tennessee

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