Week 1 - LSU vs. TCU

Posted Aug 29, 2013

Week 1 Fearless Prediction & Preview - LSU vs. TCU

LSU (0-0) vs. TCU (0-0) , in Dallas Aug. 31, 9:00, ESPN

Why You Should Give A Hoot: TCU made the step up in class last season with the move to the Big 12, and while the results were mixed after a rocky and controversial offseason, there were still several nice moments. Now it's time for the Horned Frogs to prove they really and truly belong in the big-time, but it'll be a tall, tall task beating an LSU team that's not getting much national respect.

Beating TCU wouldn't exactly thrust LSU into the national title picture, but it would be a good start. Remember, there but for the grace of a whopper of a break in 2011 and an AJ McCarron drive in 2012, we all could be talking about a possible LSU threepeat. Instead, this is just another fantastically talented Les Miles team that's just a few tweaks away from being truly special. With road games at Georgia and Alabama, it's going to be a rough SEC season, but for now, this is the big national moment for the Tigers. Win this impressively, and it should be smooth sailing until late September. But first there's some work to be done.

Can the TCU defense shine without Devonte Fields? The fantastic pass rusher was suspended from the first few games of the season. Can LSU fill in the gaps on the defensive front seven? Can TCU get its offense rolling again after failing to score more than 20 points in five of the last six games? This isn't exactly Georgia vs. Clemson on the national attention scale, but it's still going to be important.

Why LSU Might Win: If TCU had problems scoring late last season, even with the return of quarterback Casey Pachall to the mix, how will there be more production? The offensive front isn't going to power over anyone, and it should have a nightmare of a time trying to generate any sort of a push for the ground attack. With Fields out, will there be enough pressure on LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger? The Tiger offensive line should be a strength early on with everyone healthy, and while the Horned Frogs will be active, they'll have to be ready to be beaten on. The Tigers will come at the 4-2-5 defense in waves of power.
Why TCU Might Win: The defense might not have Fields, and the pass rush might be average, but it's still going to be fantastic. The secondary might be the best in the Big 12 – or as good as the Big 12 is able to offer – while the front six should make up for the lack of quality depth with good discipline; everyone tries to pound on Gary Patterson's teams, but it doesn't work. If the Horned Frogs can somehow get up early with the midrange passing game, the pressure will be on Mettenberger to throw. Against Jason Verrett and this secondary, that should work in TCU's favor.

Who To Watch Out For: Verrett. LSU is known for churning out fantastic defensive backs, but the best in the game is on the other side. The 5-10, 176-pound corner came in from Santa Rosa JC and made 58 tackles with a pick in his first season, but last year it all came together with a dominant six interception, 63 tackle season with a whopping 16 broken up passes. The LSU receivers are a bit shaky, and Verrett can take away any one of them.
- Alabama, Alabama, Alabama … is the world sleeping on LSU? The preseason No. 12 ranking isn't exactly a slap in the face, but considering it was a last-gasp, game-winning drive from Alabama from playing in the SEC championship and possibly in the BCS championship, and a last-gasp, game-winning drive from Clemson away from closing out with an 11-win campaign and an almost certain top ten, possibly top five start to the season.

- Is TCU really going to rotate between Casey Pachall and Trevone Boykin? Patterson is keeping LSU guessing, and while Pachall is the better talent with the NFL upside, Boykin might be a wee bit sharper. Boykin's mobility could be a bigger plus against the LSU defensive front – he'll have to keep plays alive – however, Pachall is the upside pick with the potential to bomb the team into a win.

- The last meeting between the two teams was in 1968, a 19-7 LSU win. The Tigers are 5-2-1 in the series going back to 1931, and TCU has scored a grand total of 30 points the eight games.

What Will Happen: LSU will flex a little muscle. The NFL-caliber quarterbacks – Mettenberger and Pachall – won't come up with big games, but they'll keep pushing. LSU's ground game will take control after a rough first half. Points will be at a premium early, but the Tigers will pull away late.
Prediction: LSU 27 … TCU 13
Line: LSU -4 o/u: 50
Must See Rating: (5 Hard Knocks – 1 ‘N Sync on the VMAs) … 4