Pit Fight! LSU vs. Florida
LSU has shared the SEC spotlight for a few years now, bumping the challenging Gators from a throne they held prior. Well the Gators are pissed, and second year coach Will Muschamp has his team looking like the Florida of old. The defensive minded coach has borrowed philosophy from his former destination, Texas, but also aimed to mirror the dominant defenses of the SEC – and in steps LSU. Behind Les Miles LSU has played an intensely physical brand of football that makes opponents bow out. But neither myself or Rachel would bow out of this weeks Pit Fight!
LSU at Florida, Saturday 3:30 pm.
image courtesy of koshersouthernpigskin.com
Ian = Florida
Rachel = LSU
Ian: Alright Rachel, no. 4 at no. 10, the Gators looking to get back into the nations elite, tell me why LSU is still King of the Mountain.
Rachel: One word: DEFENSE!
Ian: Now when I’m looking at Defense, I know LSU has a the NFL studs along the defensive front, but I want to know what Tiger defense is traveling to The Swamp. Is it the LSU defense that held Washington to 3 points? Or the defense that allowed 22 points to Towson. Like, not even Division 1-A Towson.
Rachel: Lets not put down Towson, they are a physical football team. They gave LSU their best shot. They were more successful than most people thought they were going to be. I will be honest, LSU’s defense did not take the Towson offense seriously. The defense that held Washington to 3 points will show up in the swamp. They have something to prove.
Ian: Oh, I don’t mean to put down Towson, but when we’re talking SEC favorite, Top-10 ranked LSU, we have to downgrade Towson. I’m from the Northeast and if you’re a major college football player, like the ones that should be playing LSU, you are using Towson recruiting letters as kindling for fall fires. I would agree, they have something to prove. How has LSU rebounded from losing The Honey Badger? At this point, you know the Swamp powers the Gators. Last weekend they shut out Kentucky and made them look, well, like Towson.
Rachel: Kentucky has been a Towson for the last several years. LSU has no choice but to rebound from the loss of the Honey Badger. Tyrann Matheiu is NOT the team. He is a player with a lot of talent and has “skills that cannot be taught” as quoted by Les Miles. He is a player that all of tigernation misses, but once again he is not the team. There is still talent. I think his leadership is being missed more than anything at this point in the season.
Ian: I agree with your earlier statement that this game will be won with Defense, but I’m not sure it’s the defense you were referring to. Florida stacked back-to-back top recruiting classes in 2009, and 2010, and those players are currently experienced on the defensive side of the ball. They are 10th in the nation in points against, and that’s with a visit to Knoxville already under their belt. Sharrif Floyd and Dominique Easley push the pocket as well as anybody in the SEC and LSU’s quarterback is a statue. The LSU offense hasn’t proven it could move the ball against quality defenses, why will that be different Saturday?
Ian:Florida is also coming off a bye, so the coaching staff and players have been able to focus on Miles and LSU for two weeks now – and get completely healthy for whats likely to be a physical battle.
Rachel: I cannot disagree with your statement. It will be a physical battle. It has always has been between these two teams. This will be a close game. And with Florida having a bye right before this game could either be good or bad for them. The good will come from the extra rest and the time to get healthy and prepared. The bad might be not playing last week, there is always the chance that they will come out a little “flat.”
Ian: Having 90’000 screaming Gator fans as an alarm clock will do the trick.
Rachel: LSU will come “hungry.”
Ian: Who should we watch out for from the LSU offense?
Rachel: LSU lives in a swamp of their own. Its called death valley!
Ian: Death Valley will only be populated by fans in bars watching the game, that won’t affect this outcome much.
Rachel: Watch out for LSU’s deep running game the return of JC Copeland will have the backfield nice and deep. The noise level is something LSU is use to.
Ian: Offensively Florida has improved behind quarterback Jeff Driskel. He won’t wow you in any area of the game, but he can hurt you with his arm and his feet. His passing game has steadily improved, especially to Frankie Hammond and Jordan Reed. And of course Mike Gillislee is one of the best backs in the SEC. He already has 402 yards and five touchdowns on the season on only 69 attempts.
Ian: Oh, and one more thing, Trey Burton is back, and one of the best all-around weapons in the nation. Burton can lineup at quarterback, running back, h-back, or wide receiver. No matter where he is, he needs to be accounted for. And when you are accounting for him, Reed or Hammond or Gillislee is going unchecked. Florida has the weapons this year, something they’ve lacked since Tebow took his talents to the league.
Rachel: Jeff Driskel will be facing a physical defense. Way more physical than tennessee or kentucky.
Rachel: I agree with you.
Ian: This is true, who should people watch on the LSU defense?
Rachel: Barkevious “keke” Mingo and Sam Montgomery among the nations best defensive ends. Watch out for Tharold Simon and Jalen collins in the secondary.
Ian: Well, we’ve set the stage, what is your prediction for the game?
Rachel: 24-23 LSU no more than a 3 point spread. A lot of defense and special teams.
Ian: Wouldn’t Les Miles love a defensive and special teams battle? I love the Mad Hatter! I’m saying 26-17 Florida – Chomp Chomp!
Rachel: We love Gator. TigerBait!
Ian Gold is kind of a professional sports writer. Professional enough to run a fantasy football sports blog, and become a credentialed writer at the Newark Star-Ledger. Unprofessional enough enter into a full-fledged argument on twitter with a 15-year-old - but once again, professional enough to win said argument. Also, unless you're Matt Stafford, he can throw a spiral better than you.