LSU vs. TCU: Why Tigers Won't Break a Sweat Against Horned Frogs
One of the marquee matchups of Week 1 is when LSU and TCU clash at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Saturday. In what is supposed to be a measuring stick for both teams will be the usual SEC blowout against a non-SEC opponent that thinks it can hang with the big boys.
Forget about it.
Flip over to ABC and watch Georgia-Clemson if you prefer less lopsidedness.
Hasn't anybody learned anything over the years? The SEC reigns supreme in college football, and very few opponents can even keep the contest competitive.
Remember the LSU-Oregon game that was over hyped in 2011? LSU won 40-27. The Alabama-Michigan game last season? The Tide rolled 41-14. There was also last year's National Championship Game between Alabama and Notre Dame. Most people were asleep before the second quarter, as Nick Saban's squad thrashed the Irish 42-14.
People are searching for any team to quiet down SEC fans and the conferences dominance. Because TCU has shown potential over the years, is now a member of the Big 12 and enters the game ranked in the polls, the Horned Frogs are the latest team that SEC haters are backing.
Don't hold your breath.
TCU still has a ways to go before it can be mentioned in the same category as LSU. Last year, it lost 37-23 to Iowa State and lost five of its last seven games. While TCU's 7-6 record was considered a minor success in its first season in the Big 12, LSU's 10-3 year was considered a disappointment, even though it included victories over three ranked programs.
These schools are living on different planets.
Who will win the game?
The Horned Frogs should feel good about themselves with nine starters returning from the best defense in the Big 12. However, having the best defense in a conference that doesn't play any is like having the healthiest fast food restaurant. It's still fast food and will eventually clog your arteries. Allowing 323 yards a game was the best in the Big 12, but it was 16th in the country, which was just ahead of lousy Pittsburgh.
The status of defensive end Devonte Fields also remains in question. He was originally suspended for the first two games due to violation of team policy, but is expected to suit up and could play, according to Stefan Stevenson of the Star-Telegram.
Will he play?
It'd help. After all, Fields led the team with 10 sacks and 18.5 tackles for loss as a freshman. His athleticism and pass-rushing ability would make a world of difference in this game. As will quarterback Casey Pachall, but head coach Gary Patterson isn't revealing the starter. However, even with their presence, LSU is too powerful for the Horned Frogs. It will take more than mind games to defeat this SEC power.
LSU returns eight starters from an offense that averaged 173 rushing yards per game. Those yards aren't picked up the same way as Baylor or Oklahoma State produce video game numbers. The Tigers run the ball between the tackles and wear down a defense over time. Massive offensive linemen who carry 300-plus pounds and a backfield four-deep get the best of defenses that are used to seeing this style of play.
TCU doesn't see old school, buckle-your-chinstrap style of play with all of the spread offenses in the Big 12. It will be a complete culture shock to the Horned Frogs and will prove to be overwhelming, like it has to so many other teams that have played against SEC teams.
Oh, but the LSU defense that must replace six starters isn't going to be the same? Wide receiver Brandon Carter and running back B.J. Catalon will be able to take advantage? Nonsense.
LSU has produced 302 NFL draft picks, which are the 14th most in college football. Players graduate and leave school early for the next level each season. Still, the defense has finished within the top three of the SEC in three straight seasons and is expected to continue that streak under legendary defensive coordinator John Chavis.
Good luck blocking Ego Ferguson and Anthony Johnson.
For whatever reason, the Tigers are grossly underrated heading into the college football season. That should change with a convincing victory over TCU.
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