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Wisconsin, LSU, and the State of NCAA Football

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• August 29, 2014 3:18 pm

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Of all this week's match-ups, there's no better example of the state of college football than Wisconsin/LSU. The gap between the Big Ten and SEC has been widening for years, and Saturday’s game is a barometer for whether it will persist.

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LSU is pretty much replacing their entire offense. While the Tigers never replicated the type of fireworks that they put against Georgia last year, they will have a newbie at quarterback and running back. I don’t remember this type of anticipation for a true freshman runningback since Adrian Peterson and by all accounts, LSU’s Leonard Fournette has already made some believers.

Tigers coach Les Miles is being his typical wacky self and is not saying who will start Saturday, but it’s not like he needs to be clear. The whole debate over LSU rebuilding is pretty much irrelevant when you consider LSU is bringing back almost its entire defense. Their offensive line will also be among the conference's best.

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While LSU attempts to improve their ridiculous 45 nonconference win streak, Wisconsin’s goal is show that the Big Ten is not a one-team conference. With Ohio State likely counted out, all that’s left in terms of quality in the Big Ten is Michigan State.

With MSU’s date with Oregon next weekend considered the bellwether of Big Ten relevance, the Badgers would disrupt the 2014 hierarchy if they can squeeze a win out versus the Tigers. The Badgers have some holes to fill on defense as well and they too are starting a rookie quarterback. They'll rely heavily on their stable of backs led by possible Heisman contender Melvin Gordon.

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Who wins is a coin flip. But when you consider LSU is a factory that churns out 5 star recruits and NFL prospects and the other is playing in a struggling conference, the result is clear. A Wisconsin victory would shake up the national picture, but LSU has proven much too reliable in these high profile/non-conference games.

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Wisconsin LSU -5

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Published under: Smokes, Sports