Most top-tier collegiate football programs start their seasons by playing games against lower level in-state schools or even Division II schools to get big scores in front of the media and get the hype necessary to earn good BCS rankings.
This is common practice, and I am not knocking any particular school for doing so.
Very few top BCS schools play tough September schedules, so when they do have a signature September win, it typically stands out and gets a lot of attention.
LSU, who would normally open their season with the likes of UL-Lafayette or Louisiana Tech, has arguably one of the toughest September schedules in the country in 2010.
The Tigers open the season with a neutral site game in the Georgia Dome against a rising team in North Carolina in the Chick-fil-A College Kickoff.
The Tar Heels, while still not an elite program, are building and definitely have a defense that is worthy of attention and praise.
I do believe that the Tigers will eventually open up the game and win by more than a touchdown, but it wouldn’t surprise me if UNC plays tough in the first half and possibly goes into halftime with a small lead.
The Tar Heel defense will have to carry the team if they have any chance of upsetting LSU, but with a young quarterback and unproven running game, the Tigers make for a favorable matchup against a veteran UNC defense.
LSU follows the Chick-fil-A College Kickoff with conference games at Vanderbilt and against Mississippi State, followed by another tough non-conference game at home against West Virginia.
The Mountaineers come into Baton Rouge with nothing to lose and everything to gain. The Tigers, on the other hand, must win this game to keep credibility and maintain championship hopes.
Losing to a non-conference team is never good, but for an SEC team to lose at home to a Big East team would be devastating.
West Virginia will come into Tiger Stadium with reckless abandon and throw a wide variety of spread offense gadget plays at LSU. It will be up to the Tiger defense to play under control and disciplined and make the Mountaineers pay.
If the Tiger defense plays well this should be a big win against a national media darling and score big points for LSU in the BCS rankings.
September will be a tough and very telling month for LSU. It will either quiet the Les Miles bashers or make them louder.
Unfortunately, one loss in September will raise a lot of doubters in Baton Rouge, even though the schedule is very tough.
However, if the Tigers can go 4-0 in September, they will go into the heart of their conference schedule with momentum and high hopes.
As anyone who follows the Tigers knows, if the crowd gets behind this team, Tiger Stadium becomes one of the toughest places to play in college football.
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