• LSUBEAT.com • Schedules • Depth Chart • Recruits • LSU in NFL • LSU Gear

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Looking ahead

If you want to look ahead to 2007, LSU should be in decent shape even if JaMarcus Russell leaves school a year early for the NFL.

The schedule is much more to the Tigers' liking in 2007. Both Auburn and Florida will come to Baton Rouge.

And the tentative nonconference schedule looks like it should be manageable as well. Virginia Tech is the toughest out-of-conference opponent. Middle Tennessee is the Sun Belt foe for the coming year.

Louisiana Tech is set to move up from 2008 to 2007. And Tulane remains.

With that kind of schedule, 9-3 or 10-2 should be the expectation again.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Recruiting update

While the number isn't great, this could be a big - emphasis on big - recruiting weekend for LSU football in Baton Rouge.

Three top defensive line prospects are among those scheduled to visit campus this week.

Joseph Barksdale, considered by some to be the top prospect in Michigan, is set to visit LSU. Barksdale, a 6-foot-5, 315 pound defensive tackle has already visited Notre Dame and Ohio State. He is set to visit Florida State next week. He has cancelled a visit to USC. Barksdale is something of a long shot with Ohio State expected to get his signature.

Cameron Heyward, son of the late Ironhead Heyward, is also visiting LSU this weekend. He is a 6-foot-6, 280-pound defensive tackle from Peachtree Ridge High School in Suwanee, Ga. Heyward is also considering trips to Georgia, Florida and Ohio State.

Both Heyward and Barksdale are considered four-star recruits by Scout.com.

The final defensive line prospect set to visit this weekend is West Monroe's Luther Davis. The 6-4, 255-pound defensive end has taken one visit thus far to Louisville.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Rumor mill

LSU has survived the first round of coaching hires without losing offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher or defensive coordinator Bo Pelini.

The Tigers may not be so fortunate in the future.

Fisher had already been mentioned as a possible offensive coordinator at Florida State where Bobby Bowden is looking to replace his son, Jeff. But Fisher has been mentioned also at N.C. State where fans dream of Bill Cowher coaching the team. And the Cincinnati Post has Fisher mentioned as a candidate for vacancy at Cincinnati.

Pelini was passed over at Michigan State. And he insists he never talked to the folks at Iowa State. But you've got to figure his name will resurface in the next batch of rumors.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Saban's shot

Nick Saban put the ridiculous rumors about his return to coaching colllege football to rest today. The rumors had Saban linked to the Alabama job.

"When I was in college it was always about coming to the pros,'' Saban told reporters today. "This is the challenge I wanted. I had a good college job. Why would I have left that if I was going to be interested in other college jobs?

"I took this as a challenge. We certainly haven’t seen this through and gotten where we want to go and finished the job here, so why would I be interested in something else?"

Why indeed? And by the way, LSU fans should be flattered over Saban's feelings toward the school and the program he built into a power.

Say what?

Driving into the office today, I listened to Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt on Fox Sports Radio. The conversation got around to the BCS.

Wannstedt's biggest beef isn't USC jumping Michigan into the No. 2 spot. His biggest beef was LSU jumping Louisville into No. 5.

Say what?

Louisville's "big'' wins all came at home (Kentucky, Miami, West Virginia). LSU's "big'' wins (Tennessee and Arkansas) came on the road.

Is it a slap at the Big East? Probably.

But anybody that has watched those two teams (LSU and Louisville) would probably disagree with Wannstedt's assessment.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

It's About Time

How great is LSU’s tradition?

How great is LSU’s winning tradition if it’s 2006 and the Tigers just now put together back-to-back, double digit-win seasons for the first time in their so called “illustrious” history?

LSU’s 31-26 win over Arkansas Friday made the Tigers 10-2. The Tigers were 11-2 last season.

“I think it’s the first time in school history that they won two back-to-back, 10-win seasons,” LSU coach Les Miles said after the game. “Am I right there?”

Yes he is. But it is clearly not the first time a Southeastern Conference team has done it. Seven others have done it. Only four have not - Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, South Carolina and Kentucky.

Do you know when Ole Miss turned that trick for the first time? Try 1959 and 1960, and that was back when teams played just 10 regular season games. It has not happened since, however, even in this day of 12- and 13-game seasons..

Tennessee has done it six times – the first time in 1938 and 1939 and the last time in 2003 and 2004. Now, that’s a winning tradition. The Volunteers also won 10 games or more in four straight seasons from 1995-98.

Alabama has also done it six times – the first time in 1961 and 1962 and the last time in 1993 and 1994. Alabama also won 10 games or more in five straight seasons from 1971-75 and in four straight seasons from 1977-80.

Florida has done it four times. From 1993-98, it won 10 or more games an SEC record six straight seasons.

Georgia has done it four times and currently is on a run of four straight 10-or-more win seasons, but it won’t repeat this season.

Arkansas beat LSU to this category as it was 10-2 in 1988 and in 1989, but it has not done it since. Auburn also beat LSU to this status in 1988 and 1989 as it also went 10-2 in each of those two seasons but has not repeated it.

These statistics are somewhat misleading, because former LSU coach Charles McClendon posted nine wins six times from 1962 through 1973, including five straight nine-win campaigns from 1969-73. He never won 10, but he lost more than four only three times.

What these numbers reveal is the tremendous impact coach Nick Saban continues to have on the LSU program. Saban was the first LSU coach in history to put up double digit wins twice over three seasons when he went 10-3 in 2001 and 13-1 in 2003 around an 8-5 season in 2002. He left after going 9-3 in 2004, but many of his players will still be at LSU through the 2007 season and some will still be around in 2008.

LSU has had only eight double digit-win seasons in its history. Paul Dietzel had two – 11-0 in 1958 and 10-1 in 1961. Mike Archer had one – 10-1-1 in 1987. Gerry DiNardo had one – 10-2 in 1996. Saban had two, and Miles is the first to have two back-to-back with a chance for a third.

Friday, November 24, 2006


I'll be the first to admit to not being a huge Les Miles fan. But you've got to give the man his due. He's got back-to-back 10-win seasons. I don't care if it is Nick Saban's players. You've still got to win football games.

While we're on people who are unappreciated, I think JaMarcus Russell isn't going to be truly appreciated until he's gone.

If you watch a lot of college football, you'll see there are only a handful of quarterbacks out there who are better than Russell. Do you want to go into a game with anyone else in the SEC? Brent Schaeffer? Brandon Cox? John Parker Wilson? Chris Leak?

I didn't think so.

But once Russell is gone, then he'll be truly appreciated.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Southern Nevada respect

I don't want to hear any LSU fans complaing about lack of respect in football for awhile.

LSU will go into Friday's game at Little Rock, Ark., as a 1-point favorite over Arkansas.

The Tigers are favored 1) on the road, 2) against a top-five team, 3) against a team with a 10-game winning streak, 4) the SEC West champions and 5) a team that has lost once in Little Rock under Houston Nutt.

I'd say the oddsmakers in Las Vegas have quite a bit of respect for the Tigers.

In fact, the same thing happened earlier in the year when LSU played at Tennessee.

Rail at ESPN and AP voters all you want, but in Vegas, they like the Tigers' chances.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Wait one cotton pick'n minute

As LSUBeat.com's Glenn Guilbeau has reported, LSU does not seem all too interested in playing in the Cotton Bowl. Any bowl game residing within the borders of Florida would do the Tigers just fine. However, reports from the north say otherwise.

According to Tom Shatel of the Omaha World-Herald, Nebraska and LSU are the likely combatants in Dallas. The OWH has been picking this game for weeks.

"The Cotton wants Nebraska. The opponent, according to a source in the Cotton Bowl office, would be LSU."

ESPN has also pegged LSU as Cotton-bound a number of times depending upon the results of the previous week.

Having covered the Huskers during their run of three titles in four years, I suspect the corn-fed Red may be licking their chops for another shot at LSU. Nebraska has a perfect record facing LSU in bowl games (4-0 & 12-3 vs. the SEC). However, having watched LSU up close now for three seasons, the Cornhuskers should want no part of LSU in this or any other bowl game this season.

(Although Bo Pelini would probably want this just as much as his first head coaching job. NU Coach Bill Callahan showed Pelini the door in Lincoln once Callahan was selected over Pelini to take over the program.)

Tiger fans may want to avoid a Cotton bowl game as much as the LSU administration if only because this wouldn't be much of a game.

Prediction: LSU 42, Nebraska 17.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Perception vs. reality

While watching a Shreveports sportscast the other night, the difference between perception and reality was hammered home.

The two anchors at the sports desk were talking about LSU football. Both agreed the Tigers are a one-dimensional team.

One-dimensional team? Huh?

In the time that it takes to click on secsports.com. (and it's less than a minute) you can find stats that prove just how wrong that perception is.

LSU ranks second in the SEC in rushing offense (only Arkansas is better). The Tigers are third in passing offense.

That's hardly a one-dimensional team.

However, because LSU struggled to run the ball early in the season, particularly at Auburn, there is this perception that LSU can't run the football.

The reality is LSU's running game has improved because of better line play and because JaMarcus Russell has made some plays with his feet as well. It doesn't hurt that Keiland Williams gave the team a boost as well.

So the next time someone tries to tell you LSU is one-dimensional, show them the facts.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

For what it's worth

The college basketball previews are rolling out and some have interesting insight.

Take The Sporting News for example. The magazine picks LSU to win the SEC West and No. 6 overall in the rankings. The magazine tab's LSU's Tasmin Mitchell as its most underrated player in the SEC. I don't know about underrated, maybe overshadowed by Big Baby. But Mitchell could be poised for a breakout year.

As for fatal flaws, the magazine points to LSU's point guard situation. I would concur. Tack Minor could scare anyone at the point.

One interesting sidenote from TSN, Washington's Jon Brockman tells the magazine the one player he is most looking forward to playing is LSU's Glen Davis. "I'm looking forward to banging with Big Baby. He's a pretty heralded player and I've been watching him. It's always fun playing against high-profile athletes like that.''

Sports Illustrated picks the Tigers No. 4 in the nation. However, the same magazine picked Kansas No. 1 and the Jayhawks didn't make it out of November unbeaten. Kansas lost to Oral Roberts at home earlier this month.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

A win is a win

As poorly as LSU played tonight against Ole Miss, you have to give the Tigers credit for winning the football game.

Sometimes fans and media alike forget how hard it is to win a football game in the SEC.

Think Auburn would like that Georgia game back?

How about Alabama and the Mississippi State game?

LSU almost became another victim. But the Tigers were fortunate. The SEC is getting more like the NFL in some of the crazy results.

At least for this week, LSU was able to skate by and win.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Is this a compliment?

Dave Kindred writes in The Sporting News this week about the need for a playoff in college football.

In his column, he quotes ESPN's Lee Corso extensively. Corso defends, to a degree, the BCS and the fact that a Big East team won't be playing in the national title game.

How does this pertain to LSU you ask? Simple, Corso rattles off 10 teams that could beat the Big East champion. Among those 10, you guessed it, LSU.

"Have you seen LSU? They are the best-looking physical specimens in the history of college football who ever lost two games?'' Corso says.

Which leads to my original question - is this a compliment? Or is it an indictment that this team has two losses?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Assistants on the move?

CBS Sports' Tim Brando has some interesting insight about the possibility of LSU offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher finding a new job. If Fisher were to leave, then LSU would be in the market for a new offensive coordinator and possibly the most important hire Les Miles has made since coming to LSU.

Anyone who has watched the likes of Lynn Amedee, Morris Watts, Bob McConnell and others knows how important a good hire - as Fisher has been - is to the program.

Fisher may not be the only one headed out of town. Defensive coordinator Bo Pelini remains a hot name.

Pelini has been linked to some head coaching jobs. And Tom Dienhart of The Sporting News lists him as one of the hot candidates for coaching jobs in 2007.

Thus, Miles could also find himself without Pelini. And after a rocky start of two games, few could argue with Pelini's defense at LSU.

If both Fisher and Pelini find new addresses, then Miles will need to make the best possible hires - or risk seeing the program slip.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Where's the interest?

LSU played an exhibition basketball game against Louisiana College and less than 4,000 fans bothered to attend.

That's downright embarrassing.

This is a team that went to the Final Four last year. It's a team that returns a preseason All-America in Glen Davis.

Look, I know it's an exhibition. I know it's Louisiana College. But you only have so many chances to see this team and Big Baby play.

At this rate, LSU will have its usual 7,000 fans for the opener on Friday night against Nicholls.

That's pathetic.

They used to say Baton Rouge only turned out for stars - Chris Jackson, Shaquille O'Neal. Now the Tigers have a star in Davis and they still don't turn out.

Up I-49, Northwestern State opened its season last Friday night and there wasn't an empty seat in the building. Now, 3,700 may not sound like a lot. But Natchitoches is way smaller than Baton Rouge.

This may be a fan problem - people not realizing that it is OK to watch football and basketball. It may be an LSU problem - poor marketing. Or both.

Whatever, it's a problem.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Bad week of practice?

Boy, John Brady's crew must have had a bad week of practice.

The AP basketball poll comes out today and LSU drops from No. 5 to No. 7. Never mind, that LSU hasn't played a game this season, much less lose one. The Tigers are falling.

Actually, the ranking is more of a reflection of what is happening in other polls. The coaches poll had LSU at No. 7 last week. Now the AP matches.

Truth be told, there is no more meaningless poll in sports than the college basketball polls. But hey, it gives us something to talk about during the winter.

Monday, November 13, 2006


Don't freak out when you read the next sentence. But I was glad Arkansas beat Tennessee Saturday night, thus eliminating LSU from winning the SEC West via a three-way tie at 6-2 among LSU, Auburn and Arkansas.
I didn't want Tennessee to win, because then I would have had to explain the tiebreaker system to you readers. As fate would have it, though, I mistakenly wrote in Monday's papers that LSU could still win a three-way tie with those teams. I regret the error.
LSU can now only represent the SEC West should it win out against Ole Miss on Saturday and at Little Rock against Arkansas next Friday if Arkansas loses to Mississippi State on Saturday. I can't see that happening.
But again, don't freak out. LSU is, in a way, better off that it will not be going to the SEC championship game in Atlanta. If the Tigers win out, finishing 10-2, they are going to Florida for either the Capital One Bowl in Orlando or the BCS Orange Bowl in Miami. If LSU would win the West and win the SEC title game against Florida, it would go to the BCS Sugar Bowl. That's in New Orleans, which is still a great city, but LSU has not been to the Orange Bowl since the 1982 season. It was just in New Orleans for the 2003 Sugar Bowl.
Now, it would be great to see an LSU-Florida rematch in the SEC championship game, and it would be fun for LSU to return to New Orleans. But LSU is much better off not going to the SEC title game than it would be if it went to the SEC title game and lost. That would mean it could fall to the tired and overrated Cotton Bowl.
So forget about the SEC championship game folks. LSU at 10-2 - with no chance to be 10-3 - will be one of the most attractive SEC teams for the bowls, particularly if Arkansas beats Florida in the SEC title game after losing to LSU.
It's amazing how things work out in this crazy, no-playoff world. LSU beat Auburn, Florida and Alabama last year and got a lesser bowl than all three of those schools. This year, LSU lost to Auburn and Florida and could end up getting a better bowl than both of those.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Stranger things ....

LSU is still mathematically alive in the SEC West race.

But the Tigers need a lot of luck.

First, the Tigers need Arkansas to lose twice to get to a tie in the West standings. That would require not only LSU winning on the Friday after Thanksgiving against the Razorbacks, it would also require Arkansas losing Saturday at Mississippi State.

State may have already used its upset for the year winning at Alabama. And Arkansas likely can see Atlanta from where it is now.

But say those things happen. Say Arkansas does lose its last two.

LSU still wouldn't be in Atlanta with just that scenario. Because if Auburn wins against Alabama on Saturday, you'd have a three-way tie and Auburn would be headed for Atlanta via the tiebreaker.

Thus, if you are an LSU fan this week you are cheering for two things - 1) a Mississippi State win and 2) an Alabama win.

Strange bedfellows this SEC football.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Game day musings

After watching Georgia dismantle Auburn, a few things came to mind.

1) How did LSU not only lose at Auburn, but score only three points at Auburn? Both Arkansas and Georgia have made Auburn's defense look rather ordinary at Jordan-Hare Stadium. And even Coach O's Wild Boys gave Auburn a scare.

2) It's getting dangerous to be a favorite in the SEC. Alabama goes down at home to Miss. State. Auburn goes down at home to a struggling Georgia team. The moral for LSU is this: You can't take any game for granted.

3) LSU and Auburn are tied in the loss column, but Auburn still holds the tiebreaker. LSU needs to keep winning and hope for an Arkansas fade down the stretch. Hard to believe, but a two-loss West champion doesn't seem so unfathomable now.

4) Auburn really was overrated this year.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

No ordinary Joe

LSU fans should take a little pride in running back Joseph Addai's success with the Indianapolis Colts.

You'll find Addai in The Sporting News and Sports Illustrated this week. The Sporting News' Dan Pompei predicts Addai will win the NFL's Rookie of the Year award. If Pompei is right, then it will be quite an accomplishment for Addai. This is shaping up to be a strong rookie class.

In Sports Illustrated, you'll find Addai along with Saints running back Reggie Bush on what is, in essence, a first half All-Rookie team.

I think LSU fans always appreciated Addai. But nagging injuries kept him from being the back everyone thought he could be. In the Peach Bowl, a healthy Addai showed Miami and the world what he could do.

Kudos to the Colts for taking him in the first round.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Tide lurking?

After watching the Alabama-Miss. State game last Saturday on TV, I put Saturday's game in the win column for LSU.

Then, looking in the paper, I saw the boys in Vegas had a similar feeling, making LSU a 17-point favorite in Saturday's game in Baton Rouge.

So why do I think this may be more than just another glorified Tiger Stadium scrimmage like every other LSU home game has been this season?

Because Alabama coach Mike Shula said something on today's SEC teleconference that actually makes a little bit of sense concerning his 6-4 team.

"We've played some pretty good games against some pretty good teams that have been real close,'' Shula said. "The thing we haven't done is that whatever it takes, at the end of these games, especially on the road that we played against Florida, Arkansas and Tennessee.''

In all three of those games, the Tide had their chances. They lost in overtime at Arkansas (before the Hogs knew they were good). They lost in the fourth quarter to Florida and Tennessee.

"If you watch LSU, they did that last week (at Tennessee),'' Shula said. "It was a very similar game, back and forth with Tennessee and they found a way to win the football game. And that's what we haven't done. And that's what we have to be able to do.''

This isn't to say Alabama is going to win on Saturday. But it does say that an Alabama team that comes back from a Mississippi State loss with a chip on its shoulder could be a lot tougher to deal with than LSU fans or Vegas oddsmakers think.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Rankings rhetoric

A couple of rankings came out involving LSU's men's basketball team today.

First, there was the AP preseason poll. The AP voters - media members - have LSU ranked No. 5 in the nation. That signals some respect for a program that reached the Final Four last year and returned three starters from that team.

Will LSU finish in the top five? Who knows? Did anyone expect LSU to finish in the Final Four last year?

Still, the AP ranking is a show of respect for the LSU program and one that John Brady should embrace.

Another ranking came out later in the afternoon from Scout.com. This one involves the recruiting service's rankings of men's basketball classes.

Scouthoops.com has the Tigers ranked as the No. 22 recruiting class in the country.

Now in football, a No. 22 recruiting class doesn't sound like much. In basketball, it's a whole different matter.

Florida is the highest-ranked SEC team at No. 9 with South Carolina next at No. 18.

Also, LSU made the Final Four last year with a team built of players not always highly ranked in recruiting circles. So maybe a No. 22 class is just what the Tigers need.

By the way, the early signing period begins Wednesday.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Injury news

Not much usually comes out of Les Miles' Sunday chat with reporters.

But today, Miles pretty much ruled out Will Arnold returning for the season.

"I don't think anybody will miss next week's game,'' Miles said. "Will (Arnold) and Keith (Zinger), won't play anymore this season, unless something changes.''

Arnold's health has been one factor in the play of the offensive line this year. Many expected Arnold to be the team's best offensive lineman and when he is not in the lineup then some of the struggles to run the football should be expected.

Zinger's loss at tight end has been softened somewhat by the play of freshman tight end Richard Dickson. Dickson looks like a keeper for the Tigers.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

What Balance

LSU's talent finally showed in a significant game all over the field in its 28-24 win over Tennessee Saturday.
The 478 total yards the Tigers amassed was the most given up by a Tennessee team since the SEC Championship Game loss to undefeated Auburn in 2004.
Quarterback JaMarcus Russell's talent is well chronicled, but other players shined throughout this game. Freshman tailback Keiland Williams looked very good in gaining 53 yards on 17 carries. Jacob Hester continued to be steady at tailback with 52 yards on six carries. The coaches have finally started working scatback Trindon Holliday in consistently. He was a treat to watch as he gained 26 yards on three carries.
The Tigers even faked a punt with Chris Jackson rambling for 18 yards. Nine players carried the ball. Seven caught the ball.
LSU gained 231 rushing on 45 plays and 247 passing on 36 passes.
"They showed what we thought we would see," Tennessee defensive tackle Turk McBride said. "They knew we would come off the ball, and they tried to do a lot of misdirection things like blocking down and pulling the guard."
Other than Russell's three interceptions and a Dwayne Bowe fumble and a few dropped passes, LSU's offense rolled.
"If we execute the plays that are called, with our offense and the players that we have on our team, I don't think there's any defense that can stop us," wide receiver Early Doucet said.
Russell was particulary adept at converting third and fourth downs. He finished 11-of-17 in such situations, including a third and 20, a fourth and eight on the last drive and the third and goal that ended the game.
"JaMarcus is tremendous," UT defensive end Xavier Mitchell said.


Tennessee thoughts

First of all, that was a win LSU needed in the worst sort of way. Lose it and your season begins to border on irrelevant. Because, after all, who would LSU have beaten to this point?

Instead, the Tigers still have a chance to finish in the top 10 nationally. And with the schedule the way it was this year, that would be an accomplishment.

Now for some musings:

-- Does anybody have any idea what is going on at running back? It's an SEC road game so Charles Scott gets no carries. But that's OK, because suddenly Keiland Williams is the feature back with 17 carries. Nothing against Keiland Williams, but did anybody see this coming?

-- For about two years now LSU has played some sloppy football and still won games. Saturday, the Tigers turned it over four times and still managed to win.

-- Jonathon Crompton looks like he'll have a future at Tennessee.

-- Loved the fake punt.

-- Still can't figure out the reverse on third down on the final drive.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Hoops talk

USA Today published its college basketball preview section today. Dick Vitale has LSU ranked No. 7.

Vitale's ACC-loving roots show, though, in that he has North Carolina No. 1 and Florida No. 2. Uh, Dick, the Gators return all five starters from last year. That would be the year Florida won the national championship.

LSU at No. 7 in Vitale's poll would have the Tigers ranked higher in basketball than they are in football. That might be hard for some LSU fans to stomach, but hey, that's the facts.

And who would have thought last year there would have been 61 coaching changes in Division I basketball and none of them would have involved JohnBrady?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Back to Rocky Top

LSU doesn't have a great record in Knoxville.

That would be exactly one win in Knoxville in all of the trips the Tigers have made through the years.

I was covering that one Tigers win in Knoxville, back in 1988. It rained that day. And Tommy Hodson had a big day.

Leaving Neyland Stadium, I thought LSU had the look of a national championship team. Then a week later, the season was dashed when LSU blew a lead at Ohio State.

The point? LSU has won in Knoxville. But it has never been easy.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

So go the dominos

At Michigan State, John L. Smith is out at the end of the season ... I've said it around the LSUBeat.com offices all fall, Bo Pelini would be a decent hire for the Spartans.

Pelini has coached at Nebraska, Oklahoma and now LSU and each displayed lights-out defense. Before that, stints in the NFL, last stop, Green Bay, not so far from East Lansing. Pelini was also the Husker's head coach (one game only) for Nebraska's Alamo Bowl victory over Michigan State in 2003.

Pelini was rough around the edges during his time at Nebraska as the one-game head coach, and that's being charitable, but since then he's had time to work and observe one great and another good head coach at the top level of college football.

Now is certainly the time for Pelini to become a head coach, we'll see if Michigan State is the place. I think it's a perfect match.


Why is LSU a two-point favorite over Tennessee? Yes, UT quarterback Erik Ainge is illing because of a sprained ankle, but he will be fine by game time. And he's not going to be doing any running.
Tennessee has the best pass offense in the SEC with 288 yards a game. That's 32 yards better a game than the No. 2 passing offense, which is LSU's attack.
Tennessee is No. 11 in the BCS and No. 8 in the Associated Press and USA Today polls. LSU is No. 17 in the BCS and No. 13 in the two polls.
Tennessee has quality wins over California, which is No. 10 in the BCS, Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina. LSU's best win is over Louisiana-Lafayette.
The game is at Neyland Stadium, which is one of the largest stadiums in the nation and the loudest in the SEC.
Tennessee's only loss is by one point to a very good Florida team, which is No. 4 in the BCS. LSU's two losses are at Auburn and at Florida, and neither of those teams is now as good as Tennessee. Stadiums at Auburn and at Florida are also not as intimidating as Neyland, so how is LSU going to win this game? Why is LSU suddenly going to play better than it did at Auburn and at Florida? Its offense put up 13 points in those two games. What makes anyone think it will do better in this game? Tennessee's defense is not great, but then neither was Auburn's.
LSU could win this game. It has the talent to win it. It will be a close game, but I don't see LSU winning.
Prediction: Tennessee 17, LSU 13.