The LSU Tigers have looked unstoppable since their opening victory against the Oregon Ducks. They actually managed to limit Oregon's fast paced offense that so few could stop last season and got them into the National Championship Game. But now, LSU is the team to beat.
The key concept about LSU is not what their offense can do, but what their defense has done in shutting down every one of their eight opponents, especially through the air, where they have arguably the best secondary in college football, led by Tyrone Mathieu. While LSU does not have a playmaker at quarterback, they have enough at their skill positions to hide this glaring weakness, and use their defense to keep opposing offenses off the field. But, as good as the Tigers are, what teams could possibly hope to match up against them?
Teams with top notch offenses, that's who. After all, besides Oregon, they have faced no real offenses, and Oregon took them down to the wire. There are others, however, that could match up with LSU very well and contend against their playmaking secondary.
Boasting one of the best offenses in the nation, the Oklahoma State Cowboys are perhaps the best team that could contend with the LSU Tigers.
The Cowboys have something that the Alabama offense has little of besides Marquis Maze and Trent Richardson: weapons. They have a more reliable quarterback in Branden Weeden, an underrated running back in Joseph Randle and a huge weapon in the passing game that poses a bigger threat than Maze ever would: Justin Blackmon. A big target at 6'1" and 211 pounds, Blackmon is a mismatch against any corner back and against safeties. His athleticism can match any of LSU's defensive backs, including corner-back Tyrann Mathieu.
While Oklahoma State has a suspect defense, LSU would have difficulty winning in a shootout game against this team. Oklahoma's defense knows how to take the ball away in its "bend don't break" defense despite giving up a lot of yards.
The nation's favorite quarterback would love a shot at one of college football's best defenses.
Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck is a game changing quarterback, something that LSU has been short of facing. Luck would have the capability to read and pick apart a strong LSU secondary. He also provides an underrated running threat and is very mobile in the pocket. He knows the Stanford offense like the back of his hand, and the LSU defense will find it hard to keep up with Luck's ability to make all of the throws.
On top of Luck, Stanford has an underrated defense that can stop opposing offenses and get the ball back into their playmakers' hands. Luck is a leader of the Cardinals. You can be sure the team will look to him to win games, and their faith is not misguided by any means.
The LSU Tigers would be hard pressed to win against the Cardinals, even with their solid defense.
A surprise candidate on this list are the Clemson Tigers.
Yes, the Clemson Tigers are one of the nation's biggest surprises. In their first year under offensive coordinator Chad Morris, Clemson has managed an 8-1, with their first loss coming in Week 9 against the option attack of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. They have also shocked the world with a team full of first year players and freshmen, including freshman sensation receiver Sammy Watkins.
The Clemson offense, like Oklahoma State, has weapons in the passing game that LSU would be hard pressed to match. The Tigers have receivers Deandre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins, along with an NFL-caliber tight end in Dwayne Allen, who would provide match up problems for the secondary with his 6'4", 255 pound frame that makes it difficult for both safeties and corners to cover him. Clemson also has a very capable quarterback in first year starter Tajh Boyd, who provides an arm and a running threat in Clemson's new and improved spread offense.
Yet another team with leadership and playmaking ability at the quarterback position is in fact the Boise State Broncos, who always step up to the competition in the spotlight.
While Boise State has been stuck in a mediocre conference and is in Idaho, they manage to somehow develop lower level talent, win BCS Bowls and put up numbers against the best in college football, dating all the way back to the famous Tostitos Fiesta Bowl when the Broncos upset the Oklahoma Sooners on the renowned "Statue of Liberty" play.
Led by quarterback Kellen Moore and an underrated cast behind him, the Broncos have shown time and time again they can stand up to the competition thrown at them in big bowl games year in and year out. They have a very underrated front seven that is more disruptive than they're given credit for, and could give the LSU offense fits, especially for both quarterbacks Jarrett Lee and the more athletic Jordan Jefferson. And if there are two things Kellen Moore knows how to do, it's throw touchdowns and pick apart a secondary.
The forgotten power of the SEC West division, the Razorbacks go unmentioned because of the Alabama Crimson Tide and the LSU Tigers. And the Razorbacks could stand against BOTH of these teams.
Bobby Petrino is one of the best in college football at running his pro-style offense in Arkansas. It worked wonders enough to get them into a BCS Bowl last season against the Ohio State Buckeyes. This year, it has them at 8-1, and in quiet contention for a BCS Bowl should LSU or Alabama falter in their games.
Razorback quarterback Tyler Wilson is more than a game manager. He knows how to get his receivers the ball, and has an explosive running back behind him in Dennis Green, who is also a dangerous threat in the return game. With receivers like Jarius Wright and Brandon Childs, it also makes the Arkansas Pro-style offense tough for any defense to stop, and against a good quarterback like this, LSU would be hard pressed to win.