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LSU vs. Appalachian State Prediction Thread

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Before you comment with your predictions, here's what the pundits are saying.

CFN, the best in the business

Why to watch: Appalachian State's stunner at Michigan to open the 2007 season was one thing, but beating the defending national champions in Death Valley would be another. ASU is a defending national champ itself having won the FCS/D-IAA title three years in a row, and it's expected to be the lead dog in the race to make it four in a row. Meanwhile, LSU isn't even considered the favorite to win the SEC with Georgia and Florida getting a bit more national love early on. Even so, considering this is a bit of a reloading season, the Tigers are still more than talented enough to be in the national title hunt throughout the season. But there are a few question marks, like at quarterback and when it comes to finding new leaders on defense. Nitpicking to be sure, but anything less than a dominant performance will send off panic sirens.

Why Appalachian State might win: The longer ASU can keep this close, and if it can come up with a few good drives early and crank out a few scores, thoughts of Michigan could start to creep in for both sides. If you're going to pull off an upset like this, it'll most likely come in the opener before there has been much of a chance to jell, and LSU is in need of some work to be fully operational. Armanti Edwards and the crew will be confident and won't wilt under the pressure of playing on a big stage; all the pressure is on LSU. The longer this is a game, the more it swings towards the Mountaineers.

Why LSU might win: Talent. Yeah, Michigan was the far more talented team than ASU last year, but the Tigers aren't going to take this game as lightly as it would've had the Wolverine upset not happened. LSU should be able to dominate on the lines and it has the speed and athleticism in the back seven to keep the Mountaineers from cranking out too many big plays with the ground game. Edwards and the passing game can be effective, but ASU has to run to keep things balanced. That will be a huge problem.

Who to watch: It was the big question throughout the off-season. Andrew Hatch or Jarrett Lee? Lee or Hatch, Hatch or Lee, or a combination? Hatch, a walk-on transfer from Harvard, appears to be the early choice, but that doesn't mean Lee, the more dangerous option, won't see plenty of playing time ... or vice versa. True freshman Jordan Jefferson is also in the hunt, but in a perfect world he doesn't see the field this year. LSU would like to make this a laugher early to give everyone some work, but in the end, the O line is so good that whoever is under center should be fine.

What will happen: ASU will come up with a few big moments early to make everyone nervous, and then the LSU defense will turn into the LSU defense again and end the drama with a dominant second quarter. However, the Tigers won't be sharp.

CFN Prediction: LSU 38 ... Appalachian State 17

Bruce Edwards, ESPN

LSU 38, Appalachian State 17
Armanti Edwards is a blast to watch, but this LSU defense is better up front than the Michigan group he lit up last year. Worse still for the Mountaineers is all the experience they lost from last year's team. Plus, LSU's home setting is a lot nastier than The Big House.

Stewart Mandel of

If Mountaineers QB Armanti Edwards manages to carve up LSU's uber-athletic defense ... go ahead and invite him to New York. More realistically, the Tigers will render Edwards human.

Prediction: LSU 30, Appalachian State 13

Dennis Dodd (I loathe him, but we'll include it, link includes three other predictions from CBS Sportsline)

Appalachian State has been working out all offseason with an LSU T-shirt that reads "Not In Our House". LSU is on alert, but so are the Mountaineers. This will go how the Michigan game last year should have gone. App State will hang in for three quarters, then depth, or the lack of it, will get to them. Prediction: LSU 30, Appalachian State 21

Tiger Rag

LSU coaches and players have been listening to the Appalachian State upset of Michigan talk since the day after the national championship game. But it’s no big secret that LSU is much, much better than that Michigan team that got shellacked by the Mountaineers last season. Give Appalachian State its due: They are a very good team and have the hardware to prove it. But they will not win in Tiger Stadium. The Mountaineers gave LSU a heck of a game in 2005 as the Tigers won 24-0. But this time around, it likely won’t even be that close. LSU runs the ball with power all the way to a four-touchdown victory.

LSU 45, Appalachian State 14