#1 LSU (12-2) vs. #5 Missouri (12-2)
Saturday, 5:00 ET
I loved this Missouri team until I saw how poor of a teammate Chase Daniel really is. Seriously, you don't roll your eyes and look defeated on the bench while the game's still going on. Daniel is like a college quarterbacking version of Randy Moss (circa 2005-2006). When Moss was with the Raiders, all he did was curse at Andrew Walter and Art Shell. Meanwhile, no one even knew if Shell was alive. So, I'm comparing Daniel to a guy who used to run over cops and yell at corpses. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2007 Heisman Finalist!
If Daniel thought Oklahoma's defense was tough, he's in for more eye rolling against LSU. I don't trust Matt Flynn, but I think he has the weapons and stop unit behind him to pull out a tight, low-scoring victory.
LSU 20, Missouri 13.
The Joker's Take:
(The Joker's work speaks for itself. Check out The Joker Report
to read some great college football analysis.)
Les Miles has repeatedly said he's not going to Michigan, and in the same breath tells us he'll always be a Michigan boy and how much he loves it there. He's "helping them out with the new coaching search," and he's staying at LSU next year. I like that, "next year." Don't be surprised if Michigan hires what would be an interim coach, like Ron English, for example. Currently their defensive coordinator, they'll see what he can do in a year without Mike Hart, Mario Manningham, or Chad Henne, claim 8-4 isn't good enough, and then hire Miles next year.
Aaaanyway, let's hope that's not the case. But the fact of the matter is, everyone is talking about it, and no matter what, it trickles down to the LSU players. Sure they'll be healthy for Mizzou, but will their full strength and will and character be in this game? I don't see it. They've been beaten by a Kentucky and Arkansas squad, and taken down to the last minute by a mentally-challenged Alabama team (and I say that with pure love, of course).
Missouri, however, lost both of its games to one team - Oklahoma. They're not about to let Chase Daniel get started on the wrong foot in 2008. He'll run and throw his way to a hard-fought victory with a little help from do-everything Jeremy Macklin, smashing the Tigers' title hopes...just like Ohio State is going to do in the BCS Championship. Oh wait, not supposed to mention that.
Missouri 51, LSU 45.
NCAA Dan's Take:
(NCAA Dan is a Boston native and a geographer for the U.S. Census Bureau, who wrote for this Web site back in 2001 and 2002, when it was in its infancy.)
This is an interesting clash of the Tigers, between a perennial powerhouse SEC team and a surprise Missouri squad out of the Big 12. In the opinion of many college football analysts, LSU has been the best team in the country throughout 2007 despite two gut-wrenching losses in triple overtime this season. Their defense is very fast, and they can score points running or throwing the ball. This team averages over 200 yards per game on the ground, and slightly more through the air, for an average of 448 yards per game. Clearly Missouri will have their hands full.
Mizzou had a wonderful season in 2007; this team is a great story. Chase Daniel silenced a lot of critics this season, who did not feel he was up for leading his team and being able to compete with the best the Big 12 had to offer. Unfortunately for Missouri though, I believe they have met their match in this game. Missouri struggled to score points against a tough Oklahoma defense, and LSU's stop unit is just as fast and tough, if not more so. Mizzou has nothing to hang their heads about in 2007, but they do bow in defeat to LSU here.
LSU 38, Missouri 17.
Matt McGuire's Take:
(Matt McGuire is a University of Kentucky student and a contributor to this Web site. His knowledge in college football, the NFL and the draft is very extensive.)
Interesting matchup. The spread attack led by Chase Daniel against an LSU defense loaded with future pros. The Missouri tight ends (Rucker and Coffan) are going to try to spread out those speedy LSU linebackers. Personally, I don't like LSU's offense in this matchup. Missouri can hold their own. Matt Flynn is not a good passing quarterback and Missouri can expose this.
Missouri 17, LSU 14.
LSU - 66%
LSU 29, Missouri 24 (average score of the four analysts)
#2 Oklahoma (12-2) vs. #3 USC (11-2)
Saturday, 9:00 ET
You know how ESPN stole my NCAA Football Tournament idea? They even had some of the same first-round matchups I did, such as West Virginia-Kansas and USC-Hawaii. Jerks. Well, this is their National Championship. Oklahoma-USC. And despite being angry that they took my idea without mentioning this site, I can't argue.
Well, maybe I can argue a bit. I don't like USC's offense. As I wrote last week, "The Trojans, meanwhile, will have a million drives that go like this: J.Booty pass complete for 6 yards. J.McKnight rush loss for 15 yards. J.Booty pass incomplete." Sad, but true. I like Sam Bradford over John David Booty. I also like Bradford's offensive supporting cast over Booty's. Both defenses are great, so that's close to a wash.
Oklahoma 24, USC 7.
The Joker's Take:
Oklahoma rivals Georgia for being one of the strongest teams down the stretch, only losing a big upset in Colorado and to Crabtree Tech. They've got momentum, a helluva coach in Bob Stoops, a freshman "phenom" at quarterback, a first-round receiver in Malcolm Kelly, and a three-headed monster at tailback.
Unfortunately, they're running into the once-again mighty Trojans of USC. Through injuries and bad luck, they've learned their lesson down in L.A. - they hate to lose. It's not a good feeling to them. They're in a rhythm, their defense is just destroying opponents' running attacks, Booty to Fred Davis is damn near unstoppable, and if all that's not enough...they've got beautiful L.A. women to cater to their whims, which is why elite recruits such as Joe McKnight want to play for Petey Carroll. That makes them happy, and a happy team is a good team. Happy endings indeed.
USC 33, Oklahoma 20.
NCAA Dan's Take:
This is a fascinating game between two of the hottest teams in college football at the end of the 2007 season. Oklahoma ran over Missouri in the Big 12 championship, and USC really got their act together after losing tough games to Stanford and Oregon. The Trojans' loss to Stanford was downright embarrassing, but the only other blemish on their record was a hard-fought defeat in Eugene, Oregon, when Dennis Dixon was healthy.
Oklahoma's stingy defense can be scored upon by really good offenses, as Texas Tech showed this year. John David Booty and USC will find a way to score points on the Sooners. For once, I think Pete Carroll's Trojan team is actually underrated. Too many times recently USC has rolled through a somewhat soft Pac-10 schedule. But in 2007, the level of competition in the conference was much stronger than it has been in recent years. USC has some quality wins this year, including road victories over Arizona State and Cal. I believe they will get another quality win here, upsetting Bob Stoops' Oklahoma Sooners in a pretty good game.
USC 24, Oklahoma 20.
Matt McGuire's Take:
I really like Oklahoma in this matchup because I feel like they have the more proficient offense. USC's defense simply hasn't stepped up this year when called upon...the Sooner OL vs. Trojan DL is arguably the most talented matchup of the college football season in the trenches.
Oklahoma 31, USC 27.
Oklahoma - 56%
Oklahoma 24, USC 23 (average score of the four analysts)