Posted 11/05/2009 at 02:02 AM
This weekís college previews are on what are clearly the two biggest battles on the agenda, as LSU visits Alabama and Ohio State collides with Penn State.
LSU has put together a pair of outstanding efforts the last weeks, smashing Auburn and blanking Tulane. Granted, stuffing the hapless Green Wave doesnít indicate a whole lot, but the Bayou Bengals looked tremendous against Auburn. Things get much tougher here for LSU, though, as they have to try and generate an attack against a stellar Alabama defense. The Crimson Tide are second in the land defensing the run and #4 in total defense. The Tigers were shut down at home by Florida and I just donít see them being able to put together consistent drives against Alabama. But itís not like the Tide are rolling on offense these days. Their red zone attack has been seriously deficient and QB Greg McElroy is really struggling. Last yearís game was a classic, with Alabama capturing a thrilling 27-21 OT win. The number on this game has dropped a couple of points from the opening line, but I just canít feel comfortable giving more than a TD with Alabama in what figures to be a low scoring contest. Alabama is at home, theyíre off a bye week and theyíre simply the better team. But the number is going to keep me away, so call it a lean and no more on the Alabama side.
Brett Favre was pretty heavily booed in his return to Green Bay this past weekend. Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor is about to experience the same thing as he goes back to his native state for a huge duel with Penn State. Pryor had some rather unflattering comments about the school he spurned a couple of years ago, and I donít think thereís much question the Nittany Lions faithful are going to let him have it on Saturday afternoon. This is going to be a very physical game as the strength of both entries are the defenses. Penn State has the better offense and QB Daryll Clark has been sharp. Ohio State owns the special teams edge. But the Buckeyes lost their kicker to a knee injury last week, and that could nullify much of the advantage. Ohio State can still get to the Rose Bowl by winning here and defeating Iowa next week. The Nittany Lions need to take care of business here and then hope Ohio State can knock off the Hawkeyes. In other words, the winner of this game has a great shot at a BCS bowl, the loser is out of the mix completely. Ohio State has a big revenge motive after getting shut down in Columbus last year before a record home crowd. I see Penn State getting the win. Ohio State has had some very uneven performances this season. They were flat out lucky to beat Wisconsin in what may have been the most misleading score of the entire season and they were dominated by a very ordinary Purdue team. And itís not like they rolled over Navy back in the season opener. I donít see this as anything resembling a cinch winner, as Ohio State is certainly capable of getting the win. But Penn State impresses me as the slightly superior team and I can see Pryor making a critical error at some point in a very tense setting. I have not yet made up my mind whether or not to play this game, but Iím considering Penn State minus the points.