It has come to my attention that we have not provided you, the dear ATVS reader, with enough Citrus Bowl coverage. And by enough, I mean any at all. Look, there was Christmas gifts to be purchased and all that. We had things to do.
But now, as the Yuletide season begin to fade in the rearview mirror, it is time to now focus on the last football game of the 2017 LSU season. I will helpfully answer your questions below.
Ummm… so what bowl are we in again?
Glad you asked. The Citrus Bowl presented by Overton’s is one of the less ridiculous bowl game names out there. It’s a January 1st bowl, played in Orlando, and the game will kickoff around 11:00 a.m., Central Time. It will be on ABC.
Citrus Bowl. Isn’t that the one with the terrible field?
No. Well, yes. It used to be, but not anymore. They fixed it. We played there last year against Louisville without incident.
So who do we play?
Oh yeah. I forgot to mention. We’ll be playing Notre Dame. LSU will be looking for revenge for the 2014 Music City Bowl which sticks in the craw.. you know what? I can’t even type that with a straight face.
Didn’t Notre Dame go 4-8 last year?
Yes. The Irish went 9-3 this season, so we’re running out of time to get mileage on that joke, but let’s keep mentioning it for as long as we can. We have a team of researchers working on ways to point out that Notre Dame, indeed, went 4-8 last year.
So, who is skipping out on the bowl game this year?
Arden Key. Key has struggled with injuries all year, but the recent finger injury will almost certainly keep him on the sideline. He’s technically listed as “questionable” but there is hardly a living soul who believes he will suit up on Monday. Donnie Alexander just had a second surgery on his shoulder, so he is certainly out for the game, and Corey Thompson is likely out due to a multitude of injuries. Getting old sucks, my man. It gets worse from here.
What about Derrius Guice?
Guice has missed out on some practices, but aside from taking time out on the holidays to help Santa deliver presents, Guice looks like he is a go for the bowl game.
So how screwed are we?
Not very. Tyler Taylor and Jacob Phillips have been pushing for playing time anyway, and getting more snaps for K’Lavon Chiasson is hardly a bad thing. Bowl games are prep for next year anyway, so let’s let the kids get a chance to play. Unless you’re playing for a national title, there’s no downside to having the underclassmen get on the field to get some valuable experience.
Besides, Notre Dame is missing players as well. Receiver Kevin Stepherson, tight end Alize Mack and tailback CJ Holmes are both suspended for the game.
I’ve never heard of them. Are they any good?
Honestly? No. Forget I mentioned it.
So what does Notre Dame do well?
They can block. Notre Dame has two All-American linemen in Mike McGlinchey and Quentin Nelson. The Irish won the Joe Moore Award for best offensive line in the nation, an award whose existence I just found out existed a few days ago. Notre Dame ranks third in the nation in rushing yard per carry (6.37), and that’s with two guys splitting the carries (Josh Adams and Brandon Wimbush). It’s the line, not the backs, as whoever gets the ball runs for a long ass time. Notre Dame is fairly pedestrian in the passing game, as the line ranks 70th in sacks allowed, and the team ranks 103rd in passing yards per attempt.
I think I discovered their secret weakness!
Any other weaknesses?
The defense isn’t terrible, but when it goes bad, it really goes bad. In their last four games, Notre Dame as allowed 37, 41, 17, and 38 points. The one exception was the game against Navy. The rushing yards allowed per game the last month is enough to make an LSU fan salivate: 239, 237, 277, and 152. Strangely, the one exception to them getting housed in the run game was Stanford.
Oh, and as mentioned, Brandon Wimbush is sort of terrible. He completed under fifty percent of his passes on the year for just 6.8 yard per attempt. That noise you hear is Greedy Williams salivating.
So, we should win, right?
Maybe. Do I think LSU is the better team? Sure. But it’s a bowl game. Weird things happen in bowl games due to the long layoff, the lack of motivation, and the vacation like atmosphere. LSU was the better team last time the two teams played, and Notre Dame still won. That’s football. And a bowl game is even more unpredictable than the usual football game.
So, pour yourself some bourbon and just enjoy the last game of the year. It’s a long layoff.