Look, I get it. No one comes to OTE for hard hitting football analysis. And that’s fine by me because I’m too drunk and still laughing too hard at the shitshow that was the Schadenfreude Bowl between Minnesota and third best OSU. Good job Minnesota, you hung on to beat the worst team in the PAC 12. Now however, is not the time to laugh at Minnesota. There is an entire season ahead of us to do that, and based on the clown show they put on against a 2-10 team that lost to Colorado at home last year, they won’t be doing much to deprive us of that. No, now is the time to preview a game against two teams with actual pulses.
So I’m going to keep this as unscientific as possible because all effort I put into this piece will be wasted because the comment section will devolve into “lol Wisconsin’s gonna get killed” by fans of teams that will probably lose to Wisconsin this year about three comments in. That said, I would be remiss to not enlighten you all on why Wisconsin is not going to lose by 817 points on Saturday. Mainly because that’s absolutely not going to happen on this planet or any other, except in a Gopher fan’s wet dreams.
So why will LSU not shut out Wisconsin? Well in a nutshell, Corey Clement. He’s probably the most talented running back in the Big Ten (before you say anything PSU fans, Barkley can’t pick up a blitz if Hackenburg’s life had depended on it, which it basically did. I can find Youtube videos of Clement absolutely ruining guys while blocking). Also there seems to have been a theme developed among the OTE writers that Wisconsin’s offensive line is somehow going to be worse despite returning six of the top nine lineman (even with Dan Voltz giving up football) and having arguably the best offensive line coach in college football as offensive coordinator. Yeah that’s not gonna happen guys. To wit, Bart Houston didn’t get sacked in two and half quarters against Illinois last year after Joel Stave got sacked five times in the first eighteen minutes. Why? Because he’s more mobile than frozen ketchup. Corey Clement’s also not a converted cornerback or a freshman who should’ve been redshirting so he can make his own holes. All of these things feed into each other, with Clement being the facilitator.
Which leads into the major elephant in the room, the quarterback situation. There is legitimate cause for concern when you start someone that couldn’t beat out Joel Stave three years in a row, but it seems that was more of an intangibles things than a talent thing. Rumor has always been in Madison that Bart basically just partied his ass off his redshirt year, if not longer. It seems that he’s put those days behind him. What we’re now left with is a former Elite 11 quarterback who seems to have had it click when fall camp started, just as it looked like the Alex Hornibrook era had dawned on us, Bart Houston took control of the quarterback job. This is a guy that can throw a football 60 yards from his knees. He’s way more physically talented than Stave ever was. If he can play smart he’s more than capable of beating LSU with his arm if they dare him to, something that hasn’t been true of a Wisconsin QB since Russell Wilson.
So LSU has this Fournette character running back and he’s pretty good. Fortunately Wisconsin brings back a huge chunk of the front seven from the team that finished 2nd in the nation in total defense. TJ Edwards being out with a foot injury hurts, but there is depth at middle linebacker. Even with Wisconsin having a solid front seven, Fournette’s still gonna get his. The real question is going to be whether or not Brandon Harris beats Wisconsin through the air. If he does, things could get really ugly. Fortunately Sojourn Shelton is one of the best corners in the conference (even if he can’t catch), there is plenty of experience back there with him, even if he is the only returning starter.
So obviously I’m picking Wisconsin to win right? WRONG. Wisconsin’s significantly better than the 6-6 projections getting rained down on them, but they’re not beating a top 5 team in the season opener. It’ll be close, but Wisconsin doesn’t get quite enough stops. LSU 30 Wisconsin 24