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#20 Auburn Tigers vs. #1 LSU Tigers Preview + Free Predictions

#20 Auburn Tigers (5-2, 3-1 SEC) vs. #1 LSU Tigers (6-0,  4-0 SEC)

In recent seasons, “The Battle of the Tigers” has been a can’t-miss for SEC fans and college football fans alike. Conventional wisdom would say that some of the pinch has been taken out of the match-up with the departure of all-world Auburn QB Cam Newton, but Auburn is notoriously testy in big games.

Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge LA
Saturday, Oct. 22, 3:30 pm EST
NCAA Odds from Sportsbook.com:
MoneyLine: Auburn +790, LSU -1429
Spread: Auburn +21, LSU -21
Over/Under: 47.5

For its part, LSU has been virtually flawless in 2011. The Purple and Yellow are doing enough of everything well to keep the wins coming down the pipe. Starting QB Jarrett Lee has been an excellent game-manager, while the run game has been the focus with a combination of bruising sophomore Michael Ford (5”10, 215 lbs), and even more bruising soph Spencer Ware (5”11, 223). The duo has almost 1,000 rush yards between them to go along with 12 majors.

What is often the hallmark of the LSU Tigers, though – and what is no different in 2011 – is the defense. LSU is seventh in the nation in points against, sitting at a stingy 11.7 points per game. The athletic Tigers defensive line will chew up ballcarriers and harass opposing QBs while the secondary terrorizes opposing offenses with the threat of turnovers. Recently, LSU has stymied strong offenses like Florida and Tennessee’s, holding those two volatile attacks to 11 points and seven points, respectively. Head coach Les Miles, interchangeably switching hats from genius to goat due to some of his game-time decisions, isn’t drawing much criticism in Baton Rouge thus far.

The visiting side isn’t without controversy. Quarterback Barrett Trotter, who was tasked with the unenviable job of being the successor to Newton, was benched last week in favor of sophomore Clint Moseley. Trotter didn’t play awful – he’s guided Auburn to a 3-1 conference record in a season where many expected the Tigers to slide heavily – but Auburn head man Gene Chizik reasons that Moseley brings a more dynamic scrambling look to the Auburn offense. [soliloquy id=”82219″]

Whether it’s Trotter or Moseley with his hand on the center’s bottom, the linch-pin of the Auburn attack is RB Michael Dyer. Dyer has racked up 752 yards and eight TDs, while back-up Onterio McCalebb has also chipped in with 355 yards.

It is interesting to speculate on how Auburn will turn out; it has been beaten twice easily, by Clemson (another “Tigers” squad having a dream season) and Arkansas. A couple of Auburn’s wins have come in characteristic, squeeze-it-out-at-the-last-second style. It may seem like Auburn fans are waiting for the other shoe to drop, and Auburn’s exceeded performance to correct itself much like the economy or the housing market. Sorry for that miserable reminder, but that’s about how your average rabid SEC fan feels after a loss. After this Saturday’s game, Auburn still has Georgia and dominant Alabama to contend with. If those results are as poor as they may be, Auburn’s season may finish closer to mediocrity after all.

In this game, look for LSU to make decent gains on the ground and for Lee to make a couple crucial throws. Auburn is without main WR man Emory Blake, so more will be needed out of Dyer and new starter Moseley. A QB carousel is seldom without turbulence; terrifying Death Valley in Baton Rouge is not the best place to iron out the kinks without anxiety. Moseley will probably turn the ball over once or twice and the Auburn version of the Tigers will probably leave Louisiana with another conference loss on its slate.

Score Prediction: LSU 24, Auburn 10
Over/Under Prediction: 34

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