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Week 8 SEC West Showdown: No. 6 LSU at No. 5 Auburn

LSU's defense led by Drake Nevis and Kelvin Sheppard will look to contain Auburn QB Cam Newton Saturday. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Heading into the 2010 season, the national pundits predicted that Auburn would finish third in the SEC West and LSU fourth. Therefore it’s clear to say, not many expected that both would still be undefeated come Week 8 of the college football season.

One team has gotten to this point off the right arm and legs of their Heisman candidate quarterback. The other boasts their undefeated record because of their fast, ball-hawking defense.

The two teams, LSU and Auburn, are actually quite opposite. Auburn has no trouble scoring as they’re averaing 40 points-per-game — however, don’t ask Auburn to stop anybody defensively. Last week against Arkansas, backup quarterback Tyler Wilson passed for 332 yards and four touchdowns.

On the contary, LSU holds true to the old cliche’ that “defense wins championships.” Led by the trio of Drake Nevis, Kelvin Sheppard and Patrick Peterson, the Tigers are having great success in shutting down offenses across the nation.

The problem? LSU’s offense is not where it should be. However, with the re-emergence of Jarrett Lee, LSU has had success. Over the last two games against Florida and McNeese State, Lee has engineered eight touchdowns on 11 possessions. Meanwhile, incumbent starter Jordan Jefferson, has only netted three field goals in the 12 possessions that he was under center.

Still, LSU head coach Les Miles will stay with the two-quarterback system.

The one thing that both Auburn and LSU have in common — aside from their nicknames — is the fact that both have squeezed out close wins all season.

Auburn was a dropped pass away from losing to Mississippi State early in the season, and beat both Clemson and Kentucky by a field-goal respectfully. You can also throw in the tight contest against South Carolina, where the Gamecocks choked away a two-touchdown lead, a recurring theme for Steve Spurrier’s team this season.

LSU’s close calls have been well documented. Miles and co. kicked off the season against an undermanned North Carolina squad, and almost saw a 30-10 lead slip away. It took the Tigers a goal-line stand to come away with the victory.

Then, Miles and the Tigers somehow beat Tennessee, 16-14, after the Volunteers had 13-men on the field as time expired. The peak of the “excitement” came two weeks ago, when Lee hit Terrence Toliver with six seconds left to beat Florida, 33-29.

We will disregard the McNeese State game as the game plan for LSU was as vanilla as you can get. Still, the Cowboys only trailed by six going into halftime.

So what will happen this weekend at Jordan-Hare stadium?

The general consensus is that Auburn will come out on top and continue their trek to an undefeated season, with the headline game coming on Nov. 26 against Alabama. Through seven games this season, nobody has given LSU a chance. If anything, Miles and his Tigers have become a joke throughout the media. Two weeks ago, the ESPN College Gameday staff mocked Miles and his lack of time management and had a segment depicted on Miles inefficiency.

Still, despite the 7-0 start, many think the Tigers will lose against Auburn, Alabama and Arkansas.

For two universities, this is the 2010 season. Auburn is ranked No. 4 in the BCS, while LSU sits at No. 6. The winner of this game could very well represent the best conference in college football in Georgia for the 2010 SEC Championship Game.

So take your pick.

Do you take the high-scoring offense with a sub-par defense?

Or, do you take the the top five defense with a shaky quarterback situation?

About Matthew Marcantonio - @M_Marcantonio

Matthew Marcantonio is the Patriots and college football editor at Sports of Boston. Marcantonio has contributed for two newspapers; the Sentinel & Enterprise (Leominster, Mass) and The Advocate (Baton Rouge, La) and held internships with The Bleacher Report and Sports Illustrated.

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One comment for “Week 8 SEC West Showdown: No. 6 LSU at No. 5 Auburn”

  1. I’ll take LSU everyday of the week.

    Posted by T | October 21, 2010, 5:57 pm

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