Ohio State Buckeyes (11-1) +5, 50 O/U vs. Louisiana State Tigers
(11-2) -5, 50 O/U, Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana, 8 PM Eastern,
Monday, January 7th
by Badger of Predictem.com
After a roller coaster of a college football season, the Bowl
Championship Series (BCS) National Championship Game comes down to
the Ohio State Buckeyes versus the Louisiana State Tigers.
For Ohio State, it will be their second straight appearance in the
BCS title game. The Buckeyes were embarrassed in front of a national
television audience last year when Florida manhandled them, 41-14.
Ohio State has sort of backed into this years title game as well.
They beat their heated Big 10 rival Michigan in their season finale,
14-3, back on November 17th, then sat on the side and watched as the
teams in front of them played their way out of it the final two
weeks. That means they will have another long layoff (50 days)
between games, and everyone remembers how well they played with such
a long layoff last year.
LSU won the SEC Championship game on December 1st with a 21-14
decision over Tennessee. The victory was apparently strong enough for
the BCS committee to move them back into the No. 2 position in the
BCS standings and give them a date versus the Buckeyes in the Superdome.
Oddsmakers opened the title game with LSU as a 6.5-point favorite,
with a 51.5-point over/under total.
Offensively both teams offer up a similar style of play hard running
between the tackles with a decent mix of play-action passing to keep
Ohio State quarterback Todd Boeckman had a good season in his first
year as the starter, throwing for over 2,100 yards, completing 64
percent of his passes and ending with a 23-to-12 touchdown-to-
The heart of the Buckeyes offense though is a big
offensive line and running back Chris Wells. Wells ran for 1,463
yards and 14 TDs behind the big o-line, doing most of the damage in
the second half of games when they tended to wear down the
The final season statistics prove this point,
as the Buckeyes finished 20th in rushing yards per game (202.5), but
only 87th via the pass (195.8) and 59th overall (398.3). Their 32
points-per-game average ended 37th best in the NCAA.
LSU finished the year with two quarterbacks, Matt Flynn and Ryan
Perrilloux, both getting plenty of playing time. Flynn carried more
of the load during the season (2,233 yds., 17 TDs), but Perrilloux
(694 yds., 8 TDs) proved he is capable of doing the job by leading
the Tigers to a win in the SEC title game.
The Tigers also have a
bruiser at running back, Jacob Hester, who finished the year with
just over 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns. LSUs final stats are a
little better, as the Tigers finished 21st overall (448.2 ypg), 13th
in rushing (218.9 ypg) and 12th overall with a 38.7 points-per-game
What Ohio State lacks on offense is more than made up for by the
countrys top-ranked defense. The Buckeyes are 1st in yards allowed
(227.6), 1st against the pass (148.2), 4th against the run (79.4
only allowed two rushing TDs all season)) and 1st in points allowed
with a 10.4 season average. Defensive end Vernon Gholston is an
absolute monster, the linebacking corps is deep and fast, and the
secondary is as good as advertised.
LSU isnt exactly chopped liver on defense either. The Tigers
finished as the 3rd ranked unit in the NCAA (283.8 ypg), although the
do slip to 9th versus the pass (180.9), 13th versus the run (103.1)
and 20th overall by allowing 19.6 points per contest. The Tiger
defense will have the advantage of playing in front of a virtually
home-team crowd, and their overall team speed is better suited for
the turf of the Superdome.
The betting trends tend to favor the Buckeyes. Ohio State went 7-4
ATS for the season, and was 3-1 in their last four games. They are
also 6-2 ATS versus teams with a winning record. With their strong
defense, the under is 7-3 in the Buckeyes last 10 non-conference games.
LSU went 5-7-1 ATS in 2007, 2-7-1 ATS in the last 10 games overall
and finished the season with two losses and a push in their final
three games. The Tigers are 8-2-1 ATS in the last 11 games on turf,
however. The Tigers went over the total in 7 of their last 8, with
the only exception being the SEC title game versus Tennessee.
Early money is on Ohio State, as most books have dropped the
spread to LSU -5. Some Las Vegas sportsbooks have moved the total
down to 49.5 already too, although most places in Vegas and offshore
still have it at 50 to 50.5.
Badgers Pick: These teams are more evenly matched than most people
(and experts) think. LSU may have an advantage in speed, but Ohio
State is bigger and more physical then any team the Tigers have faced
this year. LSU will have a huge advantage with the home team
Louisiana crowd, but OSU was 5-0 on the road this year including a
big win in the hostile Big House in Michigan. In the end I think LSU
wins, but by a late field goal. So take the Buckeyes and the points.