BOWL SEASON YTD : 12-12, -2.2
CITRUS BOWL – Orlando, FL
11:00am / ABC : #19 LSU (5-6,7-4) vs. #15 Louisville (5-6-1,9-3) – LSU -3, 59.5
This will be the first game as the full time HBC for Coach O at LSU and the first game as the Heisman Trophy winner for Lamar Jackson (although you could argue he won the award after shredding FSU in week 3). We’ll start with UofL who looked electric in their first 4 before an all-time classic @Clemson saw them take their first L. They coasted through their next 5 before losing their last 2 in a blowout @Houston and an inexcusable loss to rival Kentucky in the season finale. This is still the #1 scoring offense in the nation (45.3ppg), with the #1 rushing attack in the nation, led by Lamar, who came up with 1,799 rushing yards and 21 scores on 9.2 ypc!! Brandon Radcliffe and Jeremy Smith are no slouches either at the RB position, each averaging over 6.5 ypc. When Radcliffe and Smith are going strong it takes some attention off Lamar in the running and passing game (even though Lamar is still the focus of the D). This was easily seen in the 2 losses to end the season when Radcliffe and Smith only combined for 68 and 107 rushing yards against Houston and Kentucky, respectively. The Houston run D not only held the RB duo to 68 but they also contained Lamar for only 33 rushing yards on 25 carries. Lamar did still go off for 171 on the ground against Kentucky but the defense lost that game. Lamar can also beat you through the air also with nearly all of his WR’s over 6’3” so you have to pick your poison against this team but there is no doubt it starts with focusing on the running game and getting into the backfield (UofL O-Line has allowed 38 sacks).
LSU has once again been all about the ground game with Fournette but it has been Derrius Guice who led this team in rushing with Fournette out several games with injury. It hasn’t just been a normal backup filling in though, as SO Guice has gone for 1,249 yards and 12 TD’s on 8.0 ypc! Fournette will be sitting this one out to get ready for the draft but LSU is in good hands with the star that Guice has become. Transfer Danny Etling has been serviceable at QB, throwing 60% with some big, solid weapons outside in Malachi Dupre and D.J. Chark. Guice will get rolling but Etling and these receivers will need to make some big plays early to keep this aggressive Louisville defense off balance.
This Louisville offense may be the #1 scoring team in the nation but LSU has two strong defensive minds in Coach O and D-Coordinator Dave Aranda with a month to prepare for this offense, along with an incredibly athletic and talented front 7 to work with. LSU will be in Lamar’s face all game long, forcing him into quick decisions, most likely in long yardage situations. LSU on the other side will be able to pound away against a smallish front 7 from Louisville, with some passing game mixed in to do pretty much whatever they want. Louisville is also without one of their top defenders and leading sack man, James Hearns with a gunshot wound. The line play on both sides of the ball will be overpowering for LSU and they should be able to put this away early.
BET : LSU -3 – 3 Dimes