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Guys and gals,
As you all probably know by now, LSU decided yesterday to cancel their game with Troy scheduled for Saturday and have pushed the game back to a common open date the two share later in the fall.
As I reported for you here yesterday, this was really a battle between Les Miles and LSU AD Joe Alleva, and it looks like Miles got the win and the game got postponed.
I been getting asked all day long in emails and with phone calls whether this is good or bad for the team. And the truth is . . . that the outcome of this bye week is really up to the players.
I think the good of the situation is that LSU will be able to maintain anonymity and that Auburn and other SEC elites really will not own “the book” on them by being able to see Andrew Hatch and Jarrett Lee’s strengths and weaknesses in detail.
The bad of the situation is that LSU may not be quite as sharp in tackling and some of the “little things” compared to Auburn.
But both LSU and Auburn have no real challenges until they face one another and in my opinion, you can play 100 cupcakes in a row. But you will never know if you are ready for the SEC grind until you actually get out and play.
I do think it will be good for the soul of the LSU football team down the road to be able to take a deep breathe and relax here. I think the adrenaline rush of playing for the state in the midst of a hurricane is good, but I also think it is tiring (see also: LSU vs. UGA 2005 SECCG), so I think LSU will be better off in the long-run taking a much-needed break now, instead of having the pressure pile on them this early in the season.
With the LSU game on the shelf, I will turn more attention to the Saints game now as that game is still on against Tampa Bay on Sunday in the Dome.
These two are big-time divisional rivals, so as we know anything happens when they lock horns.
I actually like the Saints chances in this game (assuming Sean Payton stays away from reverses at the end of the game).
Here are my keys for both teams and I will have more on this game later in the week.
Keys for the Saints:
1. Drew-who, where are you? – Brees started this past season with 1 TD and 9 INTs and the team following, going 0-4. If Brees gets out of the gates hot, so will the Saints. If not, look for not much better than an 0-4 start.
2. Slow down Joey – Joey Galloway owns the Saints with a capital O. The Saints have a secondary that was horrible this past season and has only been patched up with used bubble gum in the offseason, so we will see how they fare in containing their yearly nemesis.
Keys for Tampa Bay:
1. Protection – If Jeff Garcia has time, someone WILL be open eventually. The Saints changed their scheme this offseason and almost acknowledged that their DB’s are a sore spot. So to counter that, they do a lot more blitzing and things to prevent the QB from throwing the football at all.
2. Mike Clayton, anyone? – Clayton always seems to make a big play against the Saints. Will it come this year? And if so, will it tilt the game in Tampa’s direction?
Prediction: Later in the week.
Ole Miss at Wake Forest 2:30 CDT Saturday
Keys for Ole Miss:
1. Play with an early lead – Wake Forest is not a high-powered, explosive offensive team. If Ole Miss can get a few points early, they can throw Wake and their crowd out of the game and have a chance.
2. Limit the big plays – Ole Miss did rout Memphis. But they also gave up nearly 500 yards on defense. They have to make Wake’s offense drive on them, and not give up touchdowns on 3-4 play drives.
Keys for Wake:
1. Cripple the run – If the Deacons can force Ole Miss into 3rd and 9′s a lot in this game, they will pounce the Rebels. Wake wins first and second downs, they win the game.
2. Ball Control – The Wake Forest way is playing ball control, smash-mouth football. The best way to guarantee your opponent does not score is to not let them have the ball.
Prediction: Later in the week
Central Michigan at Georgia 2:30 CDT Saturday
Keys for C. Michigan:
1. Win the guessing game – Whether it be by trick plays, balanced offense, etc…, whatever it will take, Central Michigan has to keep Georgia on its heels and win the guessing game. Because just playing straight-up 11-11 smash-mouth ball will result in a blowout.
2. Win quarters – Central Michigan probably deep-down will not go into this game looking to win, but rather more so looking to test itself against one of the nation’s elite teams in the country. Instead of setting your goals high, set them low and try to win possessions and quarters. If those can add up, that’s how upsets occur.
Keys for UGA:
1. Improvement – UGA looked . . . flat-out bad in their opener against Georgia Southern. They can probably sleep-walk to a win again this week. But they can not do that the following week against S. Carolina, so Coach Richt will want to see some solutions, rather than seeing more problems.
2. Knowshon knows all – He only got 8 carries (3 went to the house) in the opener. But I expect to see Moreno get a far heavier work load in the second week of the season.
Prediction: Later in the week
Serena bests Venus at US Open - It is sort of ridiculous that these two had to meet this early. They are hands-down the two best in the sport when they are in the field. Sad to see one of them go so early.
MLB rules against Sabathia no-no - Let me first start by saying I think the play in question was an error. But a no-hitter is all about the drama in the 7th, 8th and 9th innings and this game had none of that, so even had they changed it, it still would lose luster to me.
Coach expects Brady to be ready Sunday – Was their ever any doubt. The Patriots are the same team who list Brady and really everyone else on the injury report every, single week.