I believe LSU has the best defense in the country with its speed, size and athletic ability. Everywhere you look at that defense they have good players.
Offensively, LSU wants to run the football. Their problems have come at quarterback, but they seem to have improved since going to a two quarterback system where one of them is primarily a running quarterback who can throw. With the other one they are going to use the power running game and throw play-action passes when he is in the game. I am not a fan of the two-quarterback system, but it seems like they have bought into the scenario that they will be sharing playing time and that has probably settled down the other players.
In the kicking game LSU has the great returner in Patrick Peterson so I think these two teams match up pretty good going into Saturday's game. I believe Auburn will be able to move the ball and score points, but I don't think Auburn will have the luxury it has had in some games this year of having a really large number of points to work with because of how good LSU's defense is. I do think this Auburn team will move the football and score points on everybody it plays.
LSU really wants to run the football and that is the strength of the Auburn defense. If LSU concentrates on running the football like I expect, I think Auburn can do a good job of defending that. If that happens a key to success for the Tigers is to not give up a big play in the passing game. If they can do that on defense, Auburn should do okay.
I am expecting a great football game and once again it will be nationally televised on CBS. With Auburn fourth in the first Bowl Championship Series ratings that came out this week the Tigers will be in the national spotlight for a second straight week playing as they play a team that is sixth in the BCS ratings.
I have never been a supporter of the BCS, but over a period of time that thing has developed into a monster. The interest it has created in college football is absolutely amazing. I am not so sure that all of the interest and debate it causes is not more beneficial to college football than having a playoff would be.
I do think if you had an eight-team playoff or a 16-team playoff the interest would really jump for that at the end of the year, but for creating year-around interest in the sport the BCS does a great job of keeping college football in the news. The media just has a field day with it and it is easy to understand why because there are so many story angles because of the controversy and debate it causes.
College football is strong and healthy and getting healthier, I believe. With so many exciting games it is no wonder it is generating more and more fans across the country unlike pro football. I just don't feel the interest in pro football like I feel the interest in college football, and I don't believe that has always been the case.
One of the best things about a playoff idea is that almost every year a deserving team or teams get left out of the mix when they should have a chance to compete for the national championship. Our 1983 SEC Championship team at Auburn that finished third in the polls was one I would have loved to have taken into a playoff. I would have felt really confident about what it would have done in that setting.
That 1983 season was a great one, but I don't know when I have been more excited watching an Auburn team play than this year. I talked to Coach Chizik this week and told him he has created a monster. I told him that going into the season he probably didn't think his team would be playing this week for a chance to stay in the hunt for a spot in the BCS national championship game, but that is the case. If this team keeps on winning I think there is a good chance the Tigers will move up in the BCS ratings and have a chance to play for the championship. However, that will be a challenge because the LSU game this week is a tough one and there are more challenging games on the schedule after that.
When you win a big game like the one last Saturday vs. Arkansas the games get bigger as the wins keep on piling up. I hope the Auburn players are having fun with the success they are having, and I?hope they don't feel like there is a lot of pressure on them. If they go out there and have fun playing and competing, and stay focused at the same time, I believe that is the best way to have success on Saturdays.
Editor's Note: This part of a series of columns that College Football Hall of Fame member Pat Dye is writing for AUTigers.com about the game he played and coached. An All-American at Georgia and one of the top head coaches in SEC history at Auburn who was also head coach at East Carolina and Wyoming, Dye participates in the Legends Poll, a Top 25 rating of the best teams in college football as determined by a panel of all-star former head coaches. Dye writes three columns a week--The Dye-Log, the Dye-Gest and Pat's Picks.
(If you have a question or a subject you would like me to write about in future columns, you can email it to PatDye@autigers.com.)