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BCS Betting - LSU vs. Ohio St. Preview

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Sophomore quarterback poses Tebow-like problems for Ohio State

Dec. 10, 2007

By Adrian Brijbassi
Bodog Nation Contributing Writer

The birth of Ryan Perrilloux coincided with LSU's appearance in the 53rd Sugar Bowl. Those events took place on Jan. 1, 1987, and the Tigers lost to Nebraska, marking the SEC power's last defeat under the Louisiana Superdome. Nearly 21 years later, LSU is preparing for battle in that same building, and it's thanks to Perrilloux.

The sophomore quarterback stepped into the spotlight in the SEC title game, throwing for 243 yards and a touchdown in a 21-14 victory over Tennessee on Dec. 1. Perrilloux played in place of the injured Matt Flynn and was named MVP. The win delivered Les Miles' team to the BCS Championship Game where they will face No. 1 Ohio State in New Orleans, about 28 miles down Interstate 10 from where Perrilloux was born. Although the LaPlace, La., native isn't likely to start—Flynn, a senior, figures to be recovered from his shoulder injury in time for the Jan. 7 tilt—he has the potential to pull a Tim Tebow and steal the show.

Perrilloux offers the kind of explosiveness that this year's Heisman Trophy winner displayed during the Gators' upset of the Buckeyes in last season's title game. While many BCS critics believe Perrilloux should be playing on his birthday, in one of the plethora of bowl games that take place on New Year's Day, he gives the Tigers yet another weapon in what could be a one-sided fight.

No. 2 LSU is favored by 4.5 against the point spread, which may be surprising since it is the lower seed and has a worse record than its opponent. But as game day nears and we have time to analyze the matchup, bettors may well see that 4.5 isn't nearly enough.

True, the second-ranked Tigers backdoored their way into the No. 2 spot on the rankings, but now that they're here, it seems improbable that they'll be denied.

With the game in the Superdome, where the Tigers won last year's Suger Bowl, LSU will benefit from a heavily partisan crowd as well as a light travel schedule from Baton Rouge to the Big Easy. They have a defense that features record-setting tackle Glenn Dorsey and the SEC leader in interceptions, safety Craig Steltz.

As if they needed another edge, the Tigers' kid QB is suddenly living up to the hype.

"[Perrilloux] just kept his poise, he kept playing within himself, and he kept playing amongst the team, not trying to do anything outside the team situation," LSU offensive coordinator Gary Crowton said after the win over the Volunteers, clearly pleased with the young gunslinger's patience.

Perrilloux entered the college ranks as the most highly touted high school player of his class. Although he's found himself in off-field trouble on more than one occasion, he's too talented for Miles to cut loose. In 2008, Perrilloux will be counted on to take over the offense full time. For now, he's got one more game of spot duty behind Flynn. It just happens to be on primetime and for the history books.

The Buckeyes, meanwhile, would like to see the point spread climb. Their best hope is to do to LSU what Florida did to them last year. A massive upset like that requires the public to get behind the favorite, creating a sense of invincibility. The problem for Ohio State is the number of factors that weigh in the Tigers' favor. Not the least of which is the decided advantage on both sides of the ball.

Prior to the season, these two were nowhere near each other in the eyes of oddsmakers, and the reason is talent. The Tigers (11-2), who are the first team to lose two games and still play for the national title, entered the season with BCS championship odds of 8/1 while Ohio State (11-1) was a 33/1 long shot.

As Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said of LSU, "They've got weapons everywhere."

Even on the sidelines, waiting in the wings.

Random Thoughts on the Week in Sports

  • It's December, and if you're betting on the NFL, that means you must pay attention to injuries and roster moves. St. Louis, which had been playing well, stuck Brock Berlin under center for the first time in his career on Sunday. The quarterback did what quarterbacks do when they play in the NFL for the first time: he lost. And the Rams didn't beat the spread against the awful Bengals.

  • Can you win a Super Bowl without running the ball? With 16-0 seemingly all but academic for the Patriots, that question may be the next one that NFL pundits will obsess over. Remember how the wind and cold plagued the Pats' aerial attack in Baltimore last week? The temperature will be around freezing in a month and the elements could make things ripe for an upset.

  • Next week's big game: Buffalo at Cleveland. The winner gets the edge on the AFC's last wild-card berth. You would've gotten insane football odds on that happening in September.

  • Everyone knocks John Calipari's Memphis team because they have a weak conference schedule, but the Tigers have already won two early season college hoops tournaments and beaten quality teams along the way. They've got a versatile squad headed by superfrosh Derrick Rose and probable Naismith Award candidate Chris Douglas-Roberts. Don't expect them to get gipped come Selection Sunday this time.

  • Acquiring Miguel Cabrera is a no-brainer, but the Detroit Tigers really made out when they got Dontrelle Willis, too. Willis is reunited with manager Jim Leyland and catcher Ivan Rodriguez, with whom he won a championship in 2003. The Tigers' 2008 World Series odds have dropped to 5/1 since the trade with Florida.

The Undercard

That's upsetting: If there was ever a year where the Heisman Trophy should've gone to a defensive player, it was this one. Tim Tebow is far from a great quarterback while Glenn Dorsey is the best player in the country — hands down. He won all the defensive awards he was eligible to win last week and should've at least been in the running for the most prized individual trophy in college sports.

Proof of disorder in the universe: Who needs Cirque du Soleil when you have Marian Gaborik and Dominik Hasek?

Coolest song of the week: Voodoo Chile by Indigenous (last week: Sweet Home Chicago by Buddy Guy).

Note: BCS odds subject to change.

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