Even though I am at heart a fan of the Michigan Wolverines, I still root for Big Ten teams in their postseason bowl games. Still, I think that the Ohio State Buckeyes will not prevail in their efforts to erase the memory of their dismal performance in last season's title game, a 41-14 loss to the Florida Gators.
The Louisiana State University Tigers are a formidable opponent from the Southeastern Conference who bring a pair of mobile quarterbacks in Ryan Perrilloux and Matt Flynn. Coupled with its heralded "stable" of running backs Jacob Hester, Charles Scott, Keiland Williams, Trindon Holliday, and Richard Murphy, LSU can run the ball as well as anyone in the country, as the Tigers rolled 2,846 rushing yards for an average of 218.9 yards per game.
Despite a defensive unit that allowed only 77.1 yards per game on the ground, I suspect that the defensive line of the Buckeyes will wear down by the third quarter against the relentless rushing attack of the Tigers. The opposing team that most closely resembles the Tigers on the Buckeyes' schedule was Illinois, who shredded the vaunted OSU rush defense for 260 yards in the team's only loss.
I am also troubled by Ohio State's somewhat anemic 14-3 effort against a injury-riddled Michigan team on November 17. While the weather played a factor in the low score, I thought that Ohio State's offense should have been able to take better advantage of field position in that game.
In my opinion, the Buckeyes peaked too early, and their 51-day layoff will find the team starting rusty. The return of DE Glenn Dorsey will also bode well for the Tigers, and I think the key to the game will be LSU's ability to rattle OSU QB Todd Boeckman into a few drive-killing interceptions that prevent the Buckeyes from another national title.
OSU fans: feel free to point out in the comments section the reasons why my analysis is flawed, and why my prediction is evidence of my knuckle-dragging stupidity.