#5 - Don't make the game bigger than it already is
There's no way around it, this is a big game for so many reasons. The thing TCU can't afford to do though is to make it such a big deal that they come out tight or even over hyped. Staying focused and even keeled has always been a staple of Gary Patterson coached teams, with the exception of the Fiesta Bowl loss to Boise State. In that game, TCU came out tight and didn't get their sea legs until the 2nd quarter. In a game with so much hype and with it being under the bright lights of a prime time ESPN slot, the TCU players must put all of the chaos out of their minds and focus on the task at hand. With this team still quite young, they may not even recognize the magnitude of the showdown until they're in the middle of it, and that's not all bad.
#4 - Don't fall for the tricks of the Mad Hatter
It's well known that LSU Head Coach Les Miles has a tendency to pull a rabbit out of his mad hat from time to time. His trick plays and unconventional style of coaching have earned him the well deserved moniker "The Mad Hatter". As TCU knows all too well, the trick play can turn the tide of a game in a moments notice. The Frogs will have to be vigilant at all times to make sure they aren't exposed on national TV.
#3 - Don't turn the ball over
It sounds easy enough but as is usually the case, turnovers will kill you. And in a game against an opponent like LSU, the Frogs can't afford to give the Tigers any help. Ball security is preached and preached but as was the case last year, youth has a way of rearing it's ugly head at the most inopportune times. With a full season now under his belt, expect B.J. Catalon to turn it up a notch in 2013. What better way to prove that he's turned the corner than to play error free against one of the SEC's best? Protecting the ball and preventing LSU from playing with a short field are vital goals that must be reached if TCU hopes to take the game.
#2 - The O-line has to stand up to the fierce LSU D-line
TCU needs to know where #90 is at all times and rest assured, they will. While Anthony Johnson isn't the only threat on the vaunted LSU D-line, he's most certainly the linchpin of the group. With major losses all along the defensive unit that would have decimated lesser programs, LSU simply reloaded as they do every year. The hope for TCU is that despite the freakish athletic ability of every LSU defender, a learning curve is still there for the Tigers to reach their full potential. Can they simply flip the switch in their first game of the year and pick up where they left off in 2012 or will TCU find an advantage with LSU's inexperience? If the Frog's trench minders can hold their ground, TCU can open up the full playbook and frustrate the Tigers with an array of confusing sets and motion plays. Isolating inexperienced defenders could be the key but the O-line has to do their job.
#1 - Stop the Run
Yes, I know Cam Cameron is the new sheriff in town but this is still an SEC team and it's still LSU. Will the Tigers have an expanded playbook with more extravagant pass plays than in the past? Of course they will. The simple fact remains, LSU loves to run the football down their opponent's throat, and they'll do it ad nauseam until you prove you can stop it. Chucky Hunter and Davion Pierson will lead the charge from the defensive line but guys like Sam Carter and Derrick Kindred will have to come up and stop the LSU backs dead in their tracks. This battle pits strength against strength and the Horned Frogs know they must win this battle if they have any illusion of winning the war.