The speculation is over.

The guessing games are complete.

After about a month-long spree of rumors, speculation and the works, ESPN broke the story today that LSU coach Les Miles will hire former Tennessee coordinator John Chavis to be his new defensive coordinator.

Good hire?

I think so. I think it is the safest hire, too.

Chavis is the only of the potential candidates who’s actually done it in the SEC and he’s done it quite well.

Here are a look at Tennessee’s defensive numbers this season and where they rank nationally and in the SEC.

TOTAL DEFENSE:

263 yards allowed per game (2nd in the SEC, 4th in the nation)

RUSH DEFENSE:

103 yards allowed per game (3rd in the SEC, 12th in the nation)

PASS DEFENSE:

160 yards allowed per game (1st in the SEC, 4th in the nation)

So how do these numbers translate where it matters the most — points allowed?

Here is how Chavis’s defenses have fared in scoring defense in the past 5 seasons.

SCORING DEFENSE:

2008: 16.8 points allowed per game (10th nationally)

2007: 27.3 points allowed per game (61st nationally)

2006: 19.5 points allowed per game (33rd nationally)

2005: 18.6 points allowed per game (16th nationally)

2004: 22.7 points allowed per game (37th nationally)

So as you all can see, Mr. Chavis brings a lot of experience and a lot of good coaching to the table.

Here’s to hoping he can continue that trend at LSU!

Welcome aboard.

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It’s that time. The Peach Bowl (sorry, I’ll always call it that) is just a few days away. Here are three keys for each team heading toward this matchup.

1. Quarterback play – It’s the obvious bullet point and it’s the bullet point that’s been the sore thumb all year. We know Jefferson will start and if he plays well, he’ll have the ball all game. But whether it’s Jefferson, Lee, Hatch, or whoever else, the Tigers need to be able to stretch the field in the passing game — because Georgia Tech has a very, very good front 4 and it will be difficult to be one-dimensional toward the run.

2. Big play stoppers – Most people think Georgia Tech’s triple option attack is a clock-control offense. WRONG! The Yellow Jackets live and die by the big plays and the quick strikes. If LSU limits the Jackets to small gains, they’ll win the game.

3. Attitude – LSU has been one of the disappointments of the 2008 college football season. So how will the Tigers approach this game mentally? Will we see a team with a “We have nothing to lose”, attitude show up, or a team with a “Let’s get this season over with”, attitude take the field? Bowl games can give teams huge momentum swings to take into the spring (see LSU’s win against Notre Dame prior to the national title season), so it’ll be interesting to monitor the Tigers’ frame of mind going into the game.

1. Passing attack – Georgia Tech will get 250 at the bare minimum on the ground. That’s just how they play. But what will turn a good offensive team into a great offensive team is if they can fake the option and hit a pass or two down the field on LSU’s weak secondary. If they hit 2-3 cheapies, the Jackets can hang crooked numbers on LSU.

2. Win first and second down – On offense, the Jackets want to push forward on first and second down to avoid passing situations. On defense, the Jackets want to make Jordan Jefferson beat them, so they want to stuff Charles Scott on the run-down situations.

3. Strike early – For a few reasons. First, it allows the team to feed off the crowd in what will be a home game for the Jackets. Second, it allows them to stay away from must-pass situations.

I’ll make my pick tomorrow.

Have a great Tuesday!

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