Can Bulldogs place kicker Brandon Coutu end
Has either receiving corps been medically cleared from the ‘dropsies' that ailed them last week?
Will either coach open up the dusty playbook and establish a vertical passing game or are both content with the ‘run-first, play defense' philosophy?
And perhaps most importantly: Which is the SEC team of the decade?
With so many questions in the air, rest assured the answers to the first four will go a long way in solving the final inquiry. For the time being, though, let's turn the microscope on the past.
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Saturday's game in
Georgia and LSU,
the conference's new 21st century rivalry, have made a combined six
appearances to the Georgia Dome in early December since Y2K. Not bad for two
schools which, throughout most of the 90s, had to stand in line behind
This will be the second championship game in three years in which the two face off, as well as their fourth meeting in just three short years. This East-West showdown may not carry with it the tradition of LSU-Alabama or the pageantry of Georgia-Florida, but it certainly has proven to be one of the conference's most vibrant match ups in recent years.
What began innocently as a two-year home and home has blossomed into a sustained power struggle atop the SEC between its two most consistent teams of the new century.
LSU started the fray with an
inspired 17-10 victory over the Dawgs in an early season 2003 slugfest in
The hatred continued to brew for
Hatred and determination bottled
together proved to be a lethal combination for
With several core actors departed to the NFL and now missing (most notably David Greene, David Pollack, Marcus Spears and Corey Webster), the question remains how the next act of the play will unfold.
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At season's dawn, the LSU depth
chart read Alley Broussard-Joseph Addai as 1-2 at running back. However, a
preseason injury to Broussard and Addai's nagging ankle issues have forced
nearly forgotten Justin Vincent back into action at the season's twilight. Such
is par for the course in a rough and tumble SEC and the Tigers will have to make
adjustments to get Vincent to the outside against
Special teams will play a pivotal
role as always and both teams possess dangerous weapons in both the kicking and
return games. LSU's combination of Chris Jackson and Colt David will have to
match the efforts of Brandon Coutu, arguably the conference's best and owner of
56 and 58 yard field goals this season. Skyler Green has been a fixture in
recent Tigers' special teams and is no stranger to ravaging the Bulldogs.
What in the world of Todd Pinkston
is going on? Tiger receiver Dwayne Bowe and
The issue of play calling is one
sensitive to most fans and is often the hardest to decipher or predict. In
Having addressed the four questions from the beginning, a host of intangibles exist which could also affect the outcome: Will LSU's cast of veterans play with a chip on their shoulders, remembering last year's debacle? Will players new to the fracas make their mark of the league's premier showdown? How will Les Miles fare in the biggest game to date of his coaching career?
As you can see, the litany of questions is endless and the only way to conjure up fair responses is to tune in Saturday night. There is one thing that is for sure, however. With a developing recent past (two of the last three SEC championship match ups) and promising futures (each has signed the nation's #1 quarterback in successive years- Ryan Perrilloux and Matthew Stafford), these two newlywed rivals are now at the front of the SEC line.
The last question is: Who's ready to take a step ahead of the other Saturday night?