Week 7: LSU at Florida

    LSU (4-2) at Florida (3-1) Oct. 11, 7:30, SEC Network Here’s The Deal: One team is playing miserable college football, but is deep in the hunt for its

    October 7, 2014

    LSU (4-2) at Florida (3-1) Oct. 11, 7:30, SEC Network

    Here’s The Deal: One team is playing miserable college football, but is deep in the hunt for its division title and a shot at the SEC championship, and one team is playing miserable college football, and despite its 4-2 record, might have to scratch and claw just to get a bowl bid.

    LSU has a strong win over Wisconsin, and it blew out Sam Houston State, ULM and New Mexico State by a combined score of 150 to 7, but outside a furious late rally against Mississippi State, the first two SEC games have been a disaster. Both MSU and Auburn blew the doors off the Tiger defense, while the offense couldn’t go anywhere last week in an ugly 41-7 loss to the defending SEC champs. Now that Kentucky isn’t a free space game, if LSU can’t get out of The Swamp with a win, it’ll have to fight to win two of its last five games against UK, Ole Miss, Alabama, Arkansas and Texas A&M just to get to a bowl. That’s not LSU football, and that’s certainly not what this program is used to.

    Meanwhile, Florida has been ugly in just about every way possible. It won in a brutal blowout (Eastern Michigan), it won helped by a missed call and in three overtimes (Kentucky), it got its doors blown off (Alabama), and it won in one of the worst games you’ll ever see, for about three quarters, before coming back and pulling the win out of the fire (Tennessee). Unfortunately, not playing Idaho in the opener – the game was called due to weather – took away a sure win that would’ve meant the Gators would be just two away from bowl eligibility, but this is Florida, and it’s still in the SEC East title chase. Winning this interdivisional game would be a big step towards respectability, even if LSU isn’t quite LSU.

    Why LSU Might Win: Florida’s offense can run the ball, and the overall passing stats aren’t bad, but as the Tennessee game showed, there are major, major problems. There isn’t anything happening down the field, and there isn’t nearly enough pop or explosion. This is a tough, grinding attack that isn’t going to blow up, even on a Tiger defense that’s been putrid in SEC play so far. The biggest issue is simply keeping things moving, with a mere 82 first downs in four games and just 27 over the last two weeks. LSU’s big issue against Auburn was just getting off the field – that might not be a problem this week.

    Why Florida Might Win: LSU’s other big issue against Auburn was that it was absolutely miserable on third downs, failing to convert any of its 13 chances. The Auburn D wore LSU quarterback Brandon Harris as a hat, didn’t respect the passing game a lick, and teed off against the run – Florida can do that. This Gator team isn’t Mississippi State, but it can do a lot of the same things in terms of powering away on the ground and getting Jeff Driskel running. The Gators weren’t totally stuffed by Alabama, but they didn’t run enough, and couldn’t get moving until late against Tennessee. Against a soft LSU defensive front that’s getting torn apart, get ready for the power.

    Who To Watch Out For: So now what at quarterback for both teams? Driskel was a disaster against Tennessee, and in stepped Treon Harris, who wasn’t that great, but he came up with the drives the team had to have. Wins game, almost certainly locks up the starting job, gets indefinitely suspended while he’s being investigated for an alleged sexual assault. Florida fans, you’re getting Driskel back. Meanwhile, the LSU quarterback situation is strange, too, at Harris completed 3-of-14 passes for 58 yards with 36 rushing yards in his first start against Auburn. Anthony Jennings wasn’t much better, completing 5-of-10 passes for 84 yards.

    What’s Going To Happen: It’s not going to be a thing of beauty in any way, shape or form. LSU’s offense will continue to struggle thanks to a Gator defense that’s going to shut down the ground game and won’t get burned by anything the Tiger quarterbacks can do. The Florida O will be simple – Matt Jones, Matt Jones, Matt Jones. Will from Gainesville will keep on winning – and he’ll still be on the hot seat at 4-1.

    Prediction: Florida 20 … LSU 13
    Line: LSU -1.5 o/u: 47.5
    Must Watch Factor: 5: Last Week Tonight – 1: Bad Judge … 3

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