There is now officially one day until LSU kicks off its college football season and the Tigers have been shielded from the outside world’s Gustav Doom and Gloom and have focused solely on Appalachian State this week.

I just said it like that to clear up any excuses that will potentially be said if LSU does not play up to par Saturday.

This team is focused on the task at hand and Appalachian State is the only thing on their mind. They will be ready to play Saturday and if not, it has nothing to do with Gustav. More on him later.

But I gave keys to victory for every SEC school in their respective Week 1 matchups earlier in the week. But today, I shall hop into this matchup.

Keys for LSU:

1. Control the trenches – LSU can very easily lose this game if they do not pound the football down the Mountaineers’ throats every chance they get. If LSU is unable to run it, they may be unable to win it.

2. Manage depth – LSU has more than 85 scholarship players. And each and every one of them may be needed in the 105+ heat indexes forecast for kickoff. LSU is deeper than the Mountaineers at every position. They have to utilize that.

Keys for ASU:

1. Early success – LSU is not a team equipped to play from behind this season. If the Mountaineers can jump on LSU and throw them on their heels early, they have a real chance. If not, they will have their starters out of the game by the third quarter.

2. Second Threat – Armanti Edwards will probably get his. But will anyone else get theirs? The LSU defense is too good and too talented to lose a 11-1 matchup, so the Mountaineers have to get some other production elsewhere.

I will give you my official predictions about it all tomorrow.
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The thing everyone wants to know is if there will even be a game at all on Saturday and as best I can tell you guys, it still is. I think that both teams do not want the headache of pushing back their opener, so I do not think under any circumstances the opener will be cancelled. If anything, I think it may be pushed up to say a noon or 1 p.m. opener. Either way, just keep your eyes open so you all can be prepared if something is announced.
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I am going to begin a new Top 10 list today after completing my last one yesterday. This one will be a little different.

Top 10 Most Overrated Professional Athletes

No. 10 Most Overrated Professional Athlete – Jake Delhomme

All you ever hear about is “man, the Saints messed up getting rid Jake and going long-term with Aaron.” And while yes, the contract extension for Brooks may have in hindsight been a mistake, Jake was not the answer either. Despite taking a defense-oriented team to the Superbowl in 2003, Delhomme has done a whole lot of nothing since, spending more time in the trainer’s room than on the field.

Delhomme is definitely a starting quarterback in the NFL. But he is nowhere near the higher-end level player ESPN makes us believe. He is probably outside of the Top 20 in the list of NFL starters and is definitely outside of the Top 15.

No. 9 tomorrow.
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NFL game:

NFC South:
Carolina Panthers – 7-9 – The Panthers will be better. Just not back to their Superbowl form of years past. Definitely not with Steve Smith out for the first four weeks.

Atlanta Falcons – 3-13- Matt Ryan. Seriously? Matt Ryan?
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NFC North:
Chicago Bears – 6-10 – Kyle Orton? Really? If the Bears had anyone legit at QB, they would be a 10-12 win team, but not Kyle Orton.
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NFC East:
Philadelphia Eagles – 7-9 – When Donovan McNabb gets injured this season, where will the Eagles turn? Kevin Kolb maybe? I just don’t see it with this team. Westbrook is good, but how much can he do all by himself?
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NFC West:
Seattle Seahawks – 10-6 – The Seahawks are getting to be an old, stagnant, stale team. They remind me of the Cowboys before Troy Aikman retired in that they have enough talent to be decent, but not enough talent to win the big one. Expect the usual winning season, then early exit for the Hawks in Holmgren’s last season.

Arizona Cardinals – 10-6 – Yes, the Cardinals will be 10-6. They got better significantly in the trenches in the draft and I think Early Doucet will be the sleeper of the entire NFL Draft, sneaking into slot alongside Boldin and Fitzgerald. I see the Cardinals raking in easy four easy wins against the 49ers and Rams.
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AFC North:
Pittsburgh Steelers – 11-5 – Willie Parker is the most underrated player in the NFL. And the Steelers also have a more seasoned Ben Roethlisberger under center for what is quietly one of the best offenses in the NFL. If the Steelers get more defense than they project, they are a sleeper Superbowl team.
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AFC South:
Tennessee Titans – 7-9 – How the Titans have been winning the past few years is beyond me as they have done absolutely nothing to help Vince Young. With even shoddier receivers this year, lady luck will not be as kind to Tennessee and they will drop out of the playoff chase.
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AFC East:
Miami Dolphins – 4-12 – I like some of the things Bill Parcells has done. But signing Chad Pennington was not one of those things. With a roster full of 20-somethings, why hinder their development with a veteran when the team will stink anyway?

New York Jets – 9-7 – Brett Favre makes this team a threat. But they are a hair short of championship caliber this season.

New England Patriots – 12-4 – The Patriots went 16-0 this year and they could darn well make another run at perfection again. But I think last year taught them that it’s most important to peak in January and not in October, so I think they will be more conservative during the season.

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AFC West:

Denver Broncos – 8-8 – Jay Cutler has made strides, despite my player hating. But the Broncos just do not have the talent they used to have. Losing Brandon Marshall, probably their only NFL-worthy receiver for a few games, doesn’t help matters much.
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More blanks removed tomorrow.

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I told you all we’d do our football pick’em game. Well here were our staff’s picks for this week.

1. Vanderbilt +4 (underdog) at. Miami (OH)

Casey, Cody, Richard and Scotty: Vanderbilt

2. S. Carolina -13.5 vs. NC State

Casey, Cody, Richard and Scotty: S. Carolina

3. Michigan -3.5 vs. Utah

Cody and Scotty: Michigan Casey and Richard: Utah

4. Mississippi -7.5 vs. Memphis

Casey, Cody, Richard and Scotty: Ole Miss

5. Mississippi State -8 at Louisiana Tech

Casey, Cody, Richard and Scotty: Mississippi State

6. Oklahoma State -7 at Washington State

Cody, Richard and Scotty: Washington State Casey: Oklahoma State

7. Florida -35.5 vs. Hawaii

Casey, Cody and Richard: Florida Scotty: Hawaii

8. USC -19.5 at Virginia

Casey, Cody and Richard: USC Scotty: UVA

9. Alabama +5 at Clemson

Casey and Cody: Bama Richard and Scotty: Clemson

10. Kentucky +3.5 at Louisville

Casey, Richard and Scotty: Louisville Cody: Kentucky

11. Tennessee -7.5 at UCLA

Casey and Cody: Tennessee Richard and Scotty: UCLA

12. Colorado -11 at Colorado State

Cody and Scotty: CSU Casey and Richard: CU

13. Texas -24 vs. Florida Atlantic

Casey, Cody, Richard and Scotty: Texas

14. Auburn -26.5 vs. UL-Monroe

Cody: Auburn Casey, Richard and Scotty: ULM

15. LSU -25.5 vs. Appalachian State

Scotty: LSU Casey, Cody and Richard: App State

DAY 1 STANDINGS:

Casey 2-0

Cody: 2-0

Richard: 2-0

Scotty 2-0

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Headlines:

NFL reinstates Pac Man Jones – It’s about time when you take into account that he should have never been suspended in the first place.

Top-seeded Ivanovic ousted in Open – Women’s tennis is at a weird crossroads. Does anyone really think Ivanovic is the best player in the world? Of course she isn’t. The Williams sisters are the best. They just do not play often enough to earn the ranking.

Beckett to be examined by Andrews – It could be bye bye Bo-Sox if something is wrong with their ace.

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