In normal situations, controversy will help stir up interest and draw viewers. But that's not the case with the season-opening showdown between the Oregon Ducks and LSU Tigers at Cowboy Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The game is heavily-anticipated based on its own merits, and remains so in spite of the chaos that has surrounded both teams.
These supremely talented football teams have been in the news for all the wrong reasons. LSU has two players suspended indefinitely, including starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson, for their involvement in a recent bar brawl in Baton Rouge.
The Ducks, meanwhile, have their own issues in the wake of revelations of their involvement with alleged street agent Willie Lyles. As Bud Withers of The Seattle Times summed it up, "the only thing more breathtaking than the Oregon offense is (head coach Chip) Kelly's plea to Lyles last winter, begging him to ship scouting materials, when he knew media outlets were onto the $25,000 payment (that Oregon had made to him)."
Maybe that's why the media as dubbed this the "Wille Lyles Bowl".
Lyles himself predicts that Oregon will win 31-21. "And that's if LSU gets to 21," he says.
Let's take a look at the keys to the game.