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LSU vs. Oregon Week 1 Pick Against the Spread

Posted by in College Football Picks on September 3rd, 2011 | Comment »
LeMichael James vs. the LSU Defensive Line

Will LSU's defensive line shut down LeMichael James?


This game is riddled with suspensions on both sides. The key suspensions are LSU QB Jordan Jefferson and Oregon CB Cliff Harris. However, the loss of Jefferson is not a major blow to LSU. The LSU offense was able to do just fine last season despite Jefferson’s subpar 7 TD and 10 INTs last season while completing just 56% of his passes. LSU beat both Florida and Alabama in the regular season. His backup is Jarrett Lee, who some consider a better pocket passer than Jefferson, and Lee took a few snaps almost every game last season. Lee is prone to make critical mistakes though, so expect LSU to heavily rely on their running game led by sophomore RB┬áSpencer Ware.

The key matchup this game is the LSU defensive line vs. the Oregon offensive line, who will be trying to move the ball with Heisman hopeful LeMichael James. With three new starters on the Oregon defensive line, LSU may win that matchup and dominate the trenches. The LSU defense was ranked 13th in the nation last season.

Although LSU may win the battle at the scrimmage, Oregon can swing LeMichael James out on screens, wheel routes, swing routes, work some play action, and have returning QB Darron Thomas hit his speedy receivers. Thomas completed 61% of his passes for 2,881 yards, 30 TDs and 9 INTs last season.The Oregon defense isn’t too shabby either. They finished 34th in the nation last season and will be returning 5 starters. However, they’ll be without key cornerback and playmaking returnman Cliff Harris.

This is a great game to kickoff the college football season in week 1. There is tremendous speed on both teams which will make for a great game. LSU has the defensive edge, while Oregon has the offensive edge. I don’t see LSU outscoring Oregon in this one though. In order for LSU to top Oregon, they’ll have to completely shut down LeMichael James. I just think LeMichael James is too versatile a player to be shut down. The Ducks will get their points depsite LSU’s talent on defense and I don’t think the LSU offense can catch up.

Speed is the name of the game here and the Ducks have it. That isn’t to say that LSU doesn’t have speed. They do. Their defense will give Oregon fits all night, but Oregon should still be able to outscore LSU here. The key to Oregon winning this game is containing LSU’s running game. If the Oregon front seven can win the battle up front, this game is theirs. If the Oregon front seven faulters, LSU will be pounding the ball down their throat to the victory. LSU averaged 187.5 rushing yards per game last season, ranked 23rd in the nation.

I’m staying away from betting on tonight’s action for one simple reason: SEC is the power conference. The SEC has won five straight National Championships and Oregon fell short last year against an Auburn team who is known for their tough SEC defense, just like this LSU squad. That is why a lot of experts are taking LSU with the +3. It’s a compelling argument, but I’m weary about LSU’s offense outscoring the Ducks tonight. The line has moved from LSU +4.5 to LSU +3. The public clearly likes LSU with the points. Your call to make.

Prediction: Oregon 24 – LSU 20

Free Pick Against the Spread: Oregon -3 (Confidence: 3/5)

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