#3 Oregon Ducks vs. #4 LSU Tigers: Brutally Honest Game Preview

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The Oregon Ducks open up against the LSU Tigers at Cowboys Stadium Saturday night at 7pm CT. Talk about starting fast out of the gate! Two top 5 teams with national title aspirations, and one will go home with those championship hopes severely impaired. Forget warm-up cream puff scheduling in the non-conference. Let’s get right to it!

I’m adding a new wrinkle to the brutally honest game previews this year. I’ll still do two previews each week; only this time It’s going to be a nationally significant/sometimes out of region game in addition to the regional game I’ll be at the press box for. Not only is this the game of the week by miles and miles, it’s also the last two teams I previewed in my 77 in 77. That’s 77 college football teams in 77 days.

So let’s kick 2011 off!

LSU synopsis: So we have a major player on both sides of the ball suspended for this one because Jordan Jefferson is terrible at playing football, just like he’s terrible at not committing assault and battery. Maybe he isn’t such a loss anyway.

Jefferson is the winningest active SEC QB, but it seems like the Tigers won in spite of him. He only threw 4 TDs vs 9 INTs. So with Zach Mettenberger under the helm, it might not the “game manager” philosophy. But then Friday Coach decided to take a different run, naming senior Jarrett Lee the starter. He was a complete afterthought just a few weeks ago.

Is this is when it all caves in for the Mad Hatter? Les Miles has skated by with special teams flukes and capitalizing on fluky, bone-headed mistakes by his opponents for quite awhile. We all love his sometimes ballsy play-calling, will it backfire this time?

The national title game is at their second home, New Orleans’ Superdome this year. Will LSU make the trip? It’s possible, but at this point I wouldn’t bet on it. They’ll be in contention though.

For the Full LSU season preview go here

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Oregon synopsis: The Ducks will play this game without star cornerback Cliff Harris who is just as fast when driving in his rizide as he is in the 40-yard dash. Harris was caught doing 118 mph on a suspended license. He was suspended “indefinitely,” which equals one game amazingly. “Hey, did someone step on a duck?”

QB Darron Thomas, RB LaMichael James are back to kick ass and take names once again, but the Ducks will have to replace some departed senior leadership, and break in new starters on the OL. The WR corps doesn’t have a lot of depth either- any of these could be potential roadblocks.

If they can do it again: up-tempo spread-option 49.3 ppg, 537.5 ypg in the regular season, you can possibly see them back in the national title game. The defense is skilled and fast too. The whole team is a blur to most opponents and if they can keep up that velocity this fall, it will wear down opposing teams.

we present to you…..the Definitive Collection of Hot Oregon Cheerleader pics Click on the pictures to see a larger version….

And since we’re talking about the hottest cheerleaders in football, here’s the NFL answer- our photos from inside the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders locker room and since this game is in Cowboys stadium, you have to click that link. I got to tour the entire house that Jerry built when I was at the Nike football media summit, and the DCC locker room was the highlight.

For the full Ducks season preview go here

One team commences this season under the dark cloud of an NCAA investigation. The other is just in the aftermath of a huge black eye for the program. I guess it’s fitting that college football’s marquee game on the opening weekend has so much bad press attached to it- given how badly broken the system is in college athletics.

This will come down to who establishes the tempo, and I think that’ll be Oregon. I like how they match up very well at many key battles in this one. Plus I think their turmoil isn’t as bad as the Tigers issues right now. Also, I know nothing about Lee, as do most college football fans. Uncertainty at qb can be trouble for the opponent; but usually it’s bad news for the offense.

Prediction: Oregon 28, LSU 24 (2010 prediction record 20-8)

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site that generates millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports 

He does regular weekly radio spots in Chicago and Cleveland and has appeared on live shows all across the world from Houston to New Zealand. You can follow him on Twitter

 

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