LSU Vs. Florida Preview: There's No Playing Down to This Competition

Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

LSU and Florida are set for a very tight game. It might come down to the one real gap in one of the teams' defense.

LSU Tigers at Florida Gators, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS

There's been a lot of talk in the last couple of weeks about how LSU plays to its competition, but that's not really fair. The Tigers opened the season by steamrolling several opponents, from North Texas to Washington to Idaho. That a pretty sizable range of performance there -- though it's not exactly a list of BCS bowl contenders -- and the Bayou Bengals blasted them all.

It wasn't until a trip to Auburn that LSU started looking beatable. They won that game, 12-10, but the questions started before Les Miles' postgame press conference. And a thoroughly underwhelming win at home at night against Towson feed the meme that LSU was playing down to its competition -- because, suddenly, the Tigers were.

There's not much to play down to here. The Gators have reeled off three relatively impressive wins in a row after a lackluster performance against the season-opening confection that was Bowling Green. Jeff Driskel has been efficient if not always prolific, the running game has been effective and the defense is Top 25 material across the board, and Top 10 in several areas. Towson, they ain't.

Of course, much of the same could be said about LSU. Zach Mettenberger might be an improvement over last year's merry-go-round at quarterback, the air attack in Baton Rouge has still been lacking when it comes to the stat sheet. At the same time, three different running backs (Kenny Hilliard, Michael Ford and Spencer Ware) are averaging more than 40 yards a game, with Hilliard close to 75. And the defense is fierce -- Top 10 in the five most significant categories (rushing, passing efficiency, passing yardage, total, scoring).

Put that together with the fact that rushing defense is perhaps the closest thing the Florida defense has to an Achilles' heel, and it's a recipe for a very narrow win for the visitors in the Swamp. Not because LSU is playing down to its competition -- because both teams are just that good.

LSU 23, Florida 20

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