Monday, January 07, 2008

BCS Title Pre-Game Analysis: #1. Ohio State vs. #2. LSU

0-4 with my initial BCS picks? OUCH is definitely the word.

I haven't felt like such an airhead since...

Ohio State Do’s and Don’t’s:

Most PHSports writers tab Beanie Wells for a big night.

Credit: Yahoo! Sports

Do pound the ball early and often with Chris “Beanie” Wells (5.8 yds/rush). Even if the LSU defense roars early, Wells should have well over a dozen carries before halftime. It’s essential, especially when attempting to open up play-action passing downfield, that LSU being given a steady diet of the Buckeyes most talented offensive threat.

Do take advantage of turnovers. LSU has proven they’ll give the ball away and give up the big play on special teams. If Ohio State is given a short field, it must score points. We’re not talking field goals either.

Do open up some big play opportunities. While Brian Robiskie and Brian Hartline won’t jump off of the stat pages, they’re solid possession wideouts. Don’t be afraid to air out the ball, especially on 2nd and short, and try to hit the home run against the Tigers D.

Do not give 2007’s BCS Title game a single thought. The game was a complete disaster from start to finish. Jim Tressel appeared outcoached 1 second after the Ted Ginn Jr. kickoff return for a TD. While Urban Meyer isn’t across the field, Les Myles is a savvy coach who isn’t afraid to make a gutsy call.

Do not leave Boeckman without extra protection in the pocket. While speed obviously favors LSU, size can help Ohio State. Keep extra tight ends and backs in the backfield whenever possible. We’ve seen in previous title games (USC/Oklahoma & Florida/OSU just how much size can succumb to raw speed).

Do not allow Vernon Gholston to remain on one side of the line for very long. Move this absolute beat of a pass rusher around. One or two hits to Matt Flynn and the Tigers will have to change the entire protection scheme. Gholston’s too talented a defender not to be flying all over the field.

LSU Do’s and Don’t’s:

More than just media attention must be paid to DT Glenn Dorsey.

Credit: Yahoo! Sports

Do isolate a few gadget plays from Trindon Holliday. It’s important that LSU doesn’t lose its identity. While the Tigers have won and loss seemingly countless games in the closing seconds, there’s no reason to become uber-conservative and not take advantage of a glaring speed and overall athletic-advantage numerous players on their roster offer them.

Do switch up defensive looks and keep Todd Boeckman guessing. Only his first-year as a starter, Boeckman has never seen a defense – out of the SEC too – like the Tigers. Glenn Dorsey may be next year’s number 1 pick, but there is a ton of talent on this roster. The secondary has issues, so be sure to disguise blitzes and zone schemes whenever possible to prevent giving up the big plays.

Do pound Jacob Hester on 3rd and short. He’s a solid short-yardage runner who grinds out tough yards. While that would appear to play into a Big Ten mentality, Hester’s nose for the redzone is too good to pass up.

Do not believe the numbers. Sure, Ohio State is 0-8 against the SEC in bowl games. Big deal. This isn’t about 2007 or any other year for that matter. The Tigers have a bad loss, at home, to an unranked Arkansas team to prove how beatable they can become. Simply showing up won’t equate to a second BCS title.

Do not lose big on the special teams battle. One area where Ohio State may have a decided advantage is special teams. If the game is close, don’t allow poor kickoff coverage or missed field goals be the difference. Avoid costly penalties and wrap-up at all costs.

Do not stop rotating QBs Matt Flynn and Ryan Perrilloux. It’s become more and more apparent than in the modern landscape of college football, variety is the ultimate benefit at the position. Balance using both QBs legs and redzone abilities as you have done all season thus far.

Key Matchup:

Jim Tressel vs. Les Miles
Tressel is in his third national title game (seeking his second win) and second consecutive. Miles may be in his first title hurrah, but was coveted my Michigan and is as flamboyant a sideline personality as you’re likely to find. LSU has lived and died in the closing minutes of the 4th quarter, while Ohio State has been rather quiet this year (only making headlines when losing at home to Illinois and then defeating Michigan). While Tressel no longer surprises anyone with his expertise and game-planning, it’d be a mistake to believe that LSU and Les Miles have won simply by showing up.


Homefield Advantage?
Don’t give it a second thought. Superdome or not. The Buckeyes travel as well as any team, the tickets are allotted reasonable well, and Hurricane Katrina has NOTHING to do with this game. Sorry, Chris Berman.

PHSports Final Score Predictions:
Clement: LSU wins 27-20
MVP: Jacob Hester

Armin: Ohio State wins 44-38
MVP: Chris Wells

Sum: LSU wins 31-23.
MVP: Glenn Dorsey

Pay: LSU wins 28-24.
MVP: Chris Wells

Until next season…

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