Cleat Geeks

B1G Game of the Week: LSU at Wisconsin

Lambeau Field hosts its first regular season football game of the season Saturday, but the Packers aren’t playing.  Instead, the Wisconsin Badgers will host the LSU Tigers in one of the many awesome opening-day matchups from around the NCAA.  Although the Tigers feature Heisman favorite Leonard Fournette playing workhorse in the backfield, the Badgers finished 2015 with the nation’s #1 ranked scoring defense (13.7 PPG) and #2 total defense (268.5 YPG).  Likewise, the Tigers finished 41st and 25th in the respective defensive categories.  However, making this opener even more interesting is that former defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, who led the Badgers to such stinginess in just a three-year stint, has sided with Les Miles and is taking control of LSU’s defense this season.

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With Ohio State, Michigan, and Michigan State all on the schedule later in the year, the Badgers will need to produce against Aranda’s 3-4 setup. However, Bart Houston officially won the starting QB job less than two weeks ago, inexperience that will hurt against a stout SEC foe.  Plus, they had their worst rushing performances in twenty seasons last year. For the Tigers, junior Fournette will have to face the nation’s fourth stingiest rushing defense behind an injury-ridden offensive line.  LSU is in luck even without a run game, however.  They combat Houston’s inexperience with veteran Brandon Harris behind center. In addition, NFLDraftScout.com positions the Tigers at #2 in terms of draft potential, so there are plenty of options to go to.LesMilesLSU

Prediction: What would have been a 2015 defensive thriller comes just a year too late as the Tigers have all the pieces put together to make a statement Saturday.  Fournette should have a thrilling opening, but the offense won’t need to provide too much insurance as Aranda’s defense is sure to hold his former team’s offense and inexperienced quarterback to few scoring chances.  Even with a -10.5 spread, I’ve got the Tigers in this one.

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