SEC Football Championship College Football Picks and Spreads: Georgia Bulldogs vs LSU Tigers 2011 NCAA Football Vegas Odds, Free Picks, and Expert Predictions on CBS 12/3/11: All season long, the LSU Tigers have knocked off every opponent that stood in their way. Now, the top-ranked Tigers (12-0) are one win away from winning the SEC title and punching their ticket to the BCS title game. The 14th-ranked Georgia Bulldogs (10-2) will try to do what no other team has been able to and derail LSU. The prize for an upset would be a conference title and an automatic trip to a BCS bowl. However, the Tigers haven’t even been challenged this year outside of an overtime win against second-ranked Alabama, and they are 13 ½-point favorites in the SEC championship game.
The strength of LSU has been its physical and hard-hitting defense. The Tigers rank second in the country in terms of points allowed, giving up just 10.6 per contest. LSU has arguably the deepest group of defensive linemen and the stingiest secondary. Needless to say, the Tigers have made life for opposing offenses miserable offenses. Even the high-powered offense of the third-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks managed just 17 points against the Tigers, and that total included a defensive score. Georgia is averaging a respectable 34.0 points per game this season, but the Bulldogs will be lucky to approach that number this weekend.
For Georgia, any hope of an upset depends on the play of quarterback Aaron Murray. The sophomore is a star in the making, and his 32 touchdowns this season are already a Georgia record. He has gotten better as the year has gone on, throwing four or more touchdowns in three of the last four games of the regular season. No quarterback has been able to figure out the LSU defense, but Murray may just be the most talented player at the position to give it a try.
Even if Murray exceeds expectations, the Bulldogs are going to still need help from their defense. LSU’s power running game has bulldozed opposing defenses to the tune of 38.2 points per game and more than 215 yards per game on the ground. The Tigers’ offensive style keeps turnovers to a minimum and allows an already dominating defense time to rest. Georgia’s defense has been stout in its own right, giving up just 17.8 points per game, but the unit will have to find a way to get the LSU offense off the field at every opportunity. If the Tigers start running the ball early and often, it will only be a matter of time before the Bulldogs’ defense breaks.
The X-factor in the game could be LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu. The sophomore is a game changer on defense and in the return game. He has two interceptions and five forced fumbles to go along with 67 tackles, and he is like an additional offensive weapon with his nose for finding the end zone on kick returns and after turnovers. Had Mathieu not been suspended at one point for a rule infraction, he may have had a shot at the Heisman Trophy. He is one player for the Tigers that can turn a close game into a blowout in the matter of seconds.
A 10-win season in the SEC is nothing to be ashamed of, but the Bulldogs did manage to dodge SEC West powerhouses LSU, Alabama and Arkansas during the regular season. Meanwhile, the Tigers went into Tuscaloosa and outlasted the Crimson Tide, and they have steamrolled every other opponent. In a year of upsets, LSU has been the one constant. Les Miles’ bunch isn’t going to have a letdown after coming this far, and the end result could be ugly for the Bulldogs.
Prediction: LSU Tigers (-13 ½) Cover the Spread
|College Football: LSU vs Georgia
Time: 4 PM EST on CBS
Vegas Odds – Favorite: LSU -13.5Total: Over/Under 46.5
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