Good article on LSU/VT matchup from CFN

Discussion in 'The Tiger's Den' started by Ellis Hugh, Aug 30, 2002.

  1. Ellis Hugh

    Ellis Hugh Space Wrangler

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    article

    August 30, 2002
    Perspective Piece ... LSU vs. Virginia Tech
    The really big game of week one


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    By Matthew Zemek


    Ah, here we have a delicious Big East-SEC matchup between a team that lost its season-defining home finale by two points, courtesy of a failed two-point play, and the champion of the other league. Here is a put-up-or-shut-up donnybrook between two name programs in a national broadcast 100 percent of that network’s viewers will be able to see. Here’s a game where special teams will present a huge challenge for the SEC team, and the home team’s offense, if it puts its foot down, will carry the day. Here we have a tilt where a step-up receiver will need to emerge on each team.

    So, who will come out on top when… LSU visits Virginia Tech?

    Down, boy, easy, boy: Miami at Florida can wait six more days, okay? LSU-Va Tech has the same elements Miami-Florida does.

    You might remember that the Hokies lost by two to Miami when freshman receiver Ernest Wilford dropped an easy two-point pass inside the five-minute mark last year, denying the Hokies a season-defining win. You might remember that LSU did indeed emerge as SEC champion last season. You might know that, while CBS always airs games on a fully national basis and never on a split-national or—horrors!—regional basis, ABC is actually going to show this puppy on Sunday with zero competition from any other ABC football broadcast! You might be aware that while Florida loses kicker Jeff Chandler, LSU has to stare down and survive Beamer Ball in Blacksburg. You might realize that a strong performance from both Lee Suggs and Grant Noel will put LSU at a severe disadvantage. And finally, you might realize that, with guys named Josh Reed and Andre Davis not being around anymore, other pass catchers will need to step up in this game. For LSU, someone will need to be a second option to Michael Clayton, who will be a big factor in this game but will also need some help; for the Hokies, the aforementioned Mr. Wilford or someone needs to give Noel a reliable target in clutch situations.

    It might not have the sexy superstars or high-octane offenses of that other Big East-SEC brouhaha, but Tigers-Hokies has plenty of implications on the national stage, and will set the tone for two teams with uncertain quarterback positions. For Matt Mauck and Grant Noel, this game could provide the confidence needed to be a team leader and prolific performer throughout the rest of the 2002 campaign. Just as importantly, a strong showing in this game will enable Mauck or Noel to effectively complement the talents of a big-time running back—LaBrandon Toefield for LSU (if he’s ready to rumble behind Domanick Davis), Suggs for the Gobblers—and give his offense the balance that exists in a land called Football Utopia.

    And regardless of the implications for both quarterbacks and their offenses, this game—if nothing else, and especially for the loser—will at least represent a very good early-season measuring stick. A loss might extinguish any faint national title hopes, but if lessons are learned well after a tough showing in this game, Mauck or Noel can get back to the drawing board and use this contest to make bigger statements in conference play.

    There’s nothing about this game that can be taken for granted. It’s big enough to stir up championship dreams, yet it’s so early in the season that the losing coach will easily be able to rally his troops for conference action, and make corrections that will substantially improve his team in the long run. The dynamics of this game lend themselves to a messy, gritty, hard-fought contest where an ugly victory will be more than acceptable.

    On some occasions, the style points matter in football. The San Francisco 49ers of the late 80s and early 90s valued style points; the Florida Gators under Steve Spurrier valued the way they scored, not just how. This, however, is gonna be bruise-your-brother, backyard-brawl, Bear-Bryant ball in Blacksburg, and that’s the old-time country hardball charm of this particular contest. If Nick Saban wants to enhance his stature, and if Frank Beamer wants to begin a climb back to 1999 status for the Gobblers, the journey will begin anew this Sunday. For any and all statements about this not being a conference game, there will be a certain sense of desperation on the Lane Stadium turf, because these are two high-profile programs for whom one isolated conference championship season every few years won’t cut it.

    LSU-Virginia Tech. In the 21st century, this will be a mid-20th century kind of game your daddy could love. As college football offenses become more and more like Porsches, this game will have the refreshing nostalgic charm of genuinely being your father’s Oldsmobile. And since your daddy (or granddaddy) might have taught you how to protect yourself when you were young, your father will probably also like the knock-down, drag-out elements of this furious football fistfight. Roll up your sleeves and revel in the rough-edged rapture of the Bengals in Blacksburg for a Biggie… on a Sunday!

    Old-time religion, indeed
     
  2. r_bear42

    r_bear42 Founding Member

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    Excellent article. Somehow, I think the writer got it as close as anyone could. I also look for a hard fought game with the score some where in the mid 20's. Eventhough the game is in Blacksburg, I believe the Tigers will pull it out. I think LSU has the advantage on both OL and DL and I also believe LSU won't hold anything back. I believe the Tigers want this game really bad. I look for LSU to run early with the OL opening holes in the Tech D. If they can get the running game going, who knows the score might be in the 30's. Geaux Tigers!
     
  3. LSU4Life

    LSU4Life Founding Member

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    Get 'em Tigers!
     
  4. GoTigers

    GoTigers Freshman

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    Wow, what a great article, and an accurate perspective. He's right. It's the best article on the game on the net. I cruised all my sports sites and found NOTHING like it. Great website too, can't believe I didn't have that one BM'd!
     
  5. TigerSaint

    TigerSaint Guest

    That is a good article. As far as CFN.com, I've found them to be somewhat negative to LSU.

    And there is someone over there that is a HUGE Ole Miss fan. I read an article of "Top Ten" lists and the guy listed Ole Miss or Oxford in every other list.
     

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