Published November 24, 2010 - 2:15pm
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SEC West matchup pitting two rival teams each having a great year with BCS stakes. No, we’re not talking about the Iron Bowl. Arguably the most important and least talked about game this weekend around the country is LSU vs Arkansas.
LSU (10-1, 6-1 SEC) will visit Arkansas (9-2, 5-2 SEC) on Saturday, Nov. 27, at 3:30pm Eastern, televised on CBS. They will square off in Little Rock’s War Memorial Stadium.
If LSU wins this game, they are likely a BCS at-large team. If they lose, it’s likely that only Auburn will be a BCS team meaning it would be the first time since the BCS expanded to 10 teams in 2006 that the SEC has failed to send two teams to the BCS.
So, I’ll let you decide if you don’t have a stake in either team whether or not you should root for LSU since it could essentially be rooting for the SEC (to some degree).
Strength vs Strength
LSU vs Arkansas represents a game with NFL talent pitted against NFL talent. Namely, we’re talking about Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett going against the LSU secondary anchored by the freak of nature known as Patrick Peterson.
Let’s back this up with some stats…
Arkansas easily has the best passing offense in the SEC. They are averaging 340 yards per game in the air. Ryan Mallett is the league’s best passer (both this year and last). He has 3,272 passing yards and 27 touchdowns in 2010.
LSU will throw at Mallett the league’s best passing defense averaging 151.8 passing yards given up per game and only nine touchdown passes given up on the year. LSU is also the top ranked defense in the SEC based on total yards given up per game (286.9 yards/game).
Patrick Peterson has 4 picks on the year, but don’t forget about the man on the other side, Mo Claiborne who also has 4 picks on the season.
So who wins out? Mallett’s rocket arm or the athletes on the LSU defense? Earlier this season, LSU brought the top rush defense to go against the unreal ground attack of the Auburn Tigers and got worked on the ground.
If history is a guide, we can expect a very close game on Saturday between these teams. Here’s a look at the recent games between LSU & Arkansas:
- LSU won 33-30 in 2009
- Arkansas won 31-30 in 2008
- Arkansas won 50-48 in 2007
- LSU won 31-26 in 2006
- LSU won 19-17 in 2005
In Case You’re Interested…
The rivalry between these two teams is called the Battle for the Golden Boot. This tradition of the golden boot goes way, way back to…. 1996. Until last year, this game since 1996 has always been played on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving until of course it was booted for the Iron Bowl. The Iron Bowl friday contract is expiring after this season, so we’ll see if the LSU/Arkansas rivalry game reclaims it’s friday home.
You can see the golden boot trophy to the right.
Currently, the line on the game is Arkansas by 4. It’s a tough call, but I have a hard time believing the game will be won by over 4 points, so I’d be tempted to take LSU.
Prediction: LSU 28, Arkansas 27