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Sunday, September 10, 2006

Game of the Century Again

Remember when the Florida State-Miami game was the biggest early season matchup of the season? Remember when it was Florida-Tennessee? Remember when it was Texas-Ohio State?
Move aside. Those pairings are just not as good as they used to be.

The big one is Saturday. Auburn versus LSU at 2:30 p.m. on CBS from Auburn. Both are in the top 10. Both are undefeated.

There has not been a better pairing this season between two teams who are as talented and at the top of their games. Neither may be as good as Ohio State, but both together are better than Ohio State and Texas together. Auburn and LSU will definitely provide a better game than Ohio State and Texas, which fell 24-7 to the Buckeyes.

Neither LSU nor Auburn has played a very good team yet, but each have played about as well as a team can play this early in the season. Each team has a very good defense. Each team has very good quarterbacks. Each team has speed.

Each team has dismissed a Pac-10 team like it was a Sun Belt team. Combined LSU and Auburn beat Arizona and Washington State 95-17. Both games were a day on a California beach.

Each team will venture into Saturday healthy and refreshed. Each has barely broken up a sweat while gaining a combined 1,802 yards (930 by LSU, 872 by Auburn) and holding opponents to 763 yards (328 by LSU and 435 by Auburn).

Five of the last six of these games has decided the SEC West winner. The last two games have been decided by four points. LSU won in 2003 and won the national championship. Auburn won in 2004, finished undefeated and should have played for the national championship. LSU won last year, but everyone said Auburn was better. LSU lucked out when John Vaughn missed 5-of-6 field goals, but Auburn lucked out the year before on a cheap call that allowed it to get another chance to kick the winning extra point.

It will come down to a couple of points this year, too. This is only the second time beginning in 1990 that this game is the CBS national game, but it is also the second LSU-Auburn game on CBS in three years. It needs to be an annual thing.

LSU and Auburn are the two best teams in the SEC this year and long term they probably have the best two programs.


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