The quest to the 2011/2012 National Championship Game will be a road that leaves many broken and battered. It starts in Arlington and Atlanta in week one of the college football season and then moves on to Tallahassee in week three. Week four is our most defining look so far at shaping the National Championship Game.
Next up in week four is yet another SEC West team and it's our first team to be featured for a second time in this series. In week one, LSU plays Oregon on a netural field in Arlington. In week four, Les Miles must take his team and travel to Morgantown, West Virginia to face the favorites to win the Big East.
LSU TIGERS AT WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINEERS
When: September 24th
Where: Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, West Virginia
Last year these teams faced each other in Baton Rogue. They both came in at 3-0 records but neither was considered a power as WVU had struggled to beat Marshall and LSU had squeaked by a UNC team that was ravaged by suspensions. LSU won that game by six points. LSU scored on a Patrick Peterson punt return and also had a fumble recovery on the WVU 7 that led to a TD. LSU barely beat a West Virginia team that had a strong defense but underachieved offensively based on the weapons they had.
This year West Virginia is bringing in Dana Holgerson as their new "Coach In Waiting" and as their Offensive Guru. For those that don't know who Holgerson is, let's take a brief history lesson. Holgerson coached at Texas Tech from 2000 through 2007 where he first served as WR coach and then served as WR coach/OC. Then he moved on to Houston where he served as QB Coach/OC. Finally he was the QB Coach/OC at Okie State last year. What do all of those teams have in common? Absolutely explosive offenses that lit up the score board. In his one year at Okie State, Holgerson's offense set school records for total yards, scoring, passing yards, pass attempts and pass completions. I'm excited Holgerson is at WVU and you should be excited too. He's going to bring the fun back to the WVU offense. It's too bad Noel Devine and Jock Sanders won't be back but Holgerson has some weapons to work with. Two guys to watch out for in this new offense are QB Geno Smith and WR Tavon Austin. They might be household names after this year is over.
You have to give Les Miles credit for scheduling up when most teams like to stand pat with their conference schedule. The combination of the Oregon game and then traveling to West Virginia might be the toughest combination of out-of-conference games anyone will play this year. If LSU can navigate their first four games successfully. Which means getting past Oregon, winning in Morgantown (where only one visiting team has won in the past two years) and also beating Dan Mullen and Mississppi State then it will be hard for anyone to argue that the Tigers aren't one of the best two teams in the country at that point in the schedule. On the flip side, this is the one game where West Virginia can make a statement. Let's be honest, the only way a team from the Big East will make a National Title game is by running the table and having other teams lose. That being said, if West Virginia can put a big number on LSU or win in a way that makes noise then they will start to get National attention.