If you were to ask LSU at the start of the season, do you think Les Miles would be happy about playing in the Texas Bowl? If you ask Les Miles now, do you feel he would give you a straight answer? The answer to that is Miles will say something along the lines of what a privilege it is to play in this bowl game. All in all though this season has been a failure for LSU. The LSU Tigers are a few years removed from playing in the National Championship against Alabama. Now LSU is playing for the Texas Bowl and Les Miles seat is getting mighty hot as he could be on the way out as head coach. Getting blown out in bowl games have long been the final dagger in many coaches’ jobs. I suspect if LSU gets embarrassed here against Texas Tech that Les Miles we will be fired rather quickly by the LSU brass.
So I guess the question here is what kind of LSU Tigers team is going to show up. Are they going to be motivated or feel defeated because they are playing in a lowly bowl game. I think Texas Tech is not going to feel bad about playing in the Texas Bowl in their home state. The Red Raiders with their defense couldn’t have hoped for a better bowl game. Texas Tech finished 7-5 to find this game against the LSU Tigers. LSU had a perfect season going before they lost to Alabama 30-16.
From there, it was all downhill for LSU. The third loss in a row against Ole Miss was where the line was drawn in the sand for Les Miles. The Tigers followed up their three game losing skid with a rather uninspiring effort against Texas A&M. They did pull it out by a score of 19-7 but it wasn’t easy, and the Aggies are a team that have had major issues on the field, in the locker room, and off the field. A quarterback has already transferred and another is looking at doing the same. Either LSU comes out with the sole intention of playing hard to defend Les Miles, or the locker has been further divided over the break. This is a big storyline to keep an eye on throughout this one.
LSU Tigers vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders Texas Bowl Betting Odds:
vs. Texas Tech +7(-105)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
LSU vs. Texas Tech Pick:
I think the motivation for both of these teams is easy to identify. The only thing I can’t definitely say is whether Les Miles has definitely lost the locker room. Because if he has the respect of his players, they’re going to play hard to the final second. With Texas Tech, the Red Raiders are going to want to show they can play and beat the SEC. They looked great in spots and nearly sent TCU their first loss of the season earlier on when they were healthier. The Horned Frogs aren’t anywhere near the college football playoff, so Texas Tech wouldn’t have spoiled any party. The offense is what Texas Tech needs to succeed. You can forget about the defense, because they couldn’t tackle a zombie.
The Red Raiders allowed 40.3 points per game to make for one of the worst defenses in college football this season. What is frightening for the Red Raiders heading into this game is the strength of LSU against their weakness. Specifically, Texas Tech has real problems defending the run, as they are giving up a whopping 272 yards per game on the ground. Texas Tech is 125th against the run, dead last. LSU is going to pound the rock with one of the best running backs in the nation, Leonard Fournette.
As a team the Tigers have rushed for an average of 246 yards per game. Texas Tech will scheme to sell out for the run. I don’t know if it will be enough, though. Pat Mahomes will make some plays for the Red Raiders, but at the end of the day their offense will turn the ball over and play into the LSU secondary. LSU is allowing 211 yards per game through the air, it should be enough to slow the Red Raiders enough. Look for a monster game from Fournette, with LSU pulling away late for the cover.
PICK: LSU -7 (-115)