It’s gameday and this date has been circled on the calendars of many people in Baton Rouge and Auburn for months since Demetrius Byrd caught a pass with one second on the clock to give LSU a 30-24 win against Auburn last season.

I see this meeting playing out very similarly to the past few games at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

I see both LSU and Auburn struggling to move the football on the ground thanks to a pair of dominant defensive front sevens. And I also see both teams being unable to throw the football because of inexperienced and heck, just untalented quarterbacks.

I said this earlier in the week and I think that the team who will win this game will be the team who wins special teams. If you start a drive deep inside of your own territory in this scene, the odds are overwhelming that you will not score. It’s hard enough to gain 20 yards on LSU or Auburn, much less 60-70 in one drive. So, I think the team who dominates field position will win the game.

With that being said, that race is close to call.

I think LSU has far better coverage teams. The LSU coverage teams, especially on the kickoff unit, is some of the fastest I’ve ever seen.

But with that being said, I think the coverage units are overlapped by poor kicking and punting, so I will say that is a wash.

Where I think LSU has an edge is in the actual return game. Trindon Holliday’s ability to take kicks and now punts to the house at any given moment I think gives him a strong edge over anyone on the Auburn sidelines. Keep a close eye on Auburn punt returner Robert Dunn. He is very solid and very explosive. But he is no Holliday.

I see LSU and Auburn both getting 6-10 points on offense. Whoever gets that extra 3-6 on teams will be the team who wins.

Official prediction:

LSU 10

Auburn 14

I will go with Auburn in this one, just because of history. There is too many question marks for LSU at this point in the season. Quarterback, defensive back and punting are three big areas to have sore thumbs. If JaMarcus Russell, Jason Campbell, Rohan Davey and others could not break this streak. I just don’t see how Jarrett Lee and Andrew Hatch will.

I think if the teams met later in the year, LSU would pounce them. But I think right now there are too many ‘ifs’ to fill in.

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Here are my picks for the rest of the SEC.

Miss State 17

Ga Tech 20

Alabama 31

Arkansas 7

Florida 42

Tennessee 20

Wofford 6

South Carolina 42

Vanderbilt 24

Ole Miss 17

Georgia 37

Zona State 17

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The Saints made a little tremor in the headline screen today signing Joey Harrington to a deal to be the team’s third quarterback.

I like the move. Harrington may not be spectacular, but find me a backup quarterback who is. The fact is that he is:

a. proven

b. talented

c. cheap

There are not too many teams who have third QBs who have played significantly in their careers and now the Saints have that. Good pickup. Saints fans just need to hope he won’t play until next preseason. Because let’s be real, an injury to Drew Brees spells the end for New Orleans regardless.

Either way, the Saints will be taking on the Broncos in the altitude this weekend. Here are my keys for each team and a prediction.

Keys for the Saints:

1. Ground and pound – A week after not being able to run the football . . . at all, the Saints worked heavily on their blocking schemes in practice this week. They’ll need it, not just this game, but for the rest of the season.

2. Cool Brees – Drew Brees has been solid throughout the first two games of the year. But he did make a few poor decisions at costly times against the Skins. Brees needs to be his usual self for the Saints to have a chance.

3. Time of possession – With a short-handed defense and playing in altitude, the Saints have no other choice, but to keep the football for as long as they can in this game. The longer the defense is sucking oxygen on the sidelines, the better chance they have to get stops when they are actually on the field.

Keys for Denver

1. Marshall Law – Brandon Marshall was a maniac in his season opener, catching well over 10 passes for well over 100 yards. No matter who for the Saints lines up opposite Marshall, it will be a mismatch, so look for Jay Cutler to attack and for Marshall to have another huge week.

2. Bush League – Whether it’s by returning punts, catching passes or sometimes running the ball, Reggie Bush has had an impact on both of the Saints’ games this year. If the Broncos take him out of the equation and force other Saints players to step up, it will be a long day for Black and Gold.

3. Pass rush – The easiest way to disrupt the Saints is to get a man in Brees’ face and to force him to make quick decisions.

Prediction: The Saints go stride for stride in the first half and then fade into the night in the second half.

Broncos 35

Saints 24

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Headlines:

US leads 5.5-2.5 at Cup – Great start for the Americans. And to think it could have been even better if Kenny Perry did not belly flop in the morning session and Boo Weekley and co. did not blow a lead with a handful of holes to go in the afternoon session. Should be a good weekend of golf. To clarify what I said yesterday about Tiger Woods, because I got an email from a reader. I was not implying anything negative against Tiger. Heck, he is my favorite golfer. All I meant is that in a Ryder Cup competition and one golfer only being in control of 5 matches, there is no such thing as a “one-man team,” and that no matter who you have on either roster, no one player should make a world of difference.

Reds hit 7 HRs and beat Brew Crew – The Brewers are a sunken ship. I warned months ago that getting Sabathia was risky. Sure, he has been great. No one ever doubted he would be. Just now that they seem to be done, they will lose Sabathia, Sheets and now have no prospects to turn to.

Zambrano hammered in Cubs loss – I think it’s time to worry about Zambrano. Yes, I know he pitched a no-no just a few days ago. But he has been very inconsistent in the past month and I wonder if he can be the horse that the Cubs will need in the playoffs.

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YouTube Video of the Day:

It’s show time.

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