Where: Baton Rouge, La.
When: 8:00 p.m.
Had Auburn's freshman kicker not hit a late field goal last week, we might be calling this the game of the year. It still could be, as the Gators need a win to keep from falling behind in the race for the SEC East. LSU, meanwhile, is looking to solidify its number one ranking and put some distance between itself and the rest if its SEC West rivals.
The marquee matchup in this game is LSU's top-ranked defense against the Florida offense, currently ranked third in the SEC. Florida's offensive line had trouble with Auburn's defensive line, and LSU presents an even bigger test. But Florida is the best offense the Tigers have seen so far, and they'll have to contain Tim Tebow, the SEC's leader in total offense with 346 yards per game.
Tebow was held in check early last week against Auburn, but led a second-half comeback to get Florida back in the game. Florida leads the league in penalties with 78 yards per game, and will have to improve that to avoid unfavorable down-and-distance situations against the Tigers in a rowdy night in Death Valley.
LSU's offense took a while to get started last week against Tulane, and only lead 10-9 at the half. But 24 unanswered points in the second half put the game away. Florida's defense has been strong against the run all season, but has been vulnerable against the pass. Auburn's Brandon Cox was able to pick apart the Gator secondary early to help build Auburn's first-half lead.
Emotion may play a big part of the game tonight. Florida is facing a gut-check to prove if they can reclaim the lead in the SEC East. With a loss, Florida finds itself with no room for error down the stretch, with Kentucky, Georgia and South Carolina all upcoming, and contending for the division title. LSU will want to establish its dominance early, but if Florida can put up points early, it may put some doubt in LSU's defense.
Look for a close game, with second-half big plays and turnovers making the difference. On paper LSU has the talent to win, and could even win easily by the time its done. Florida will put up a solid effort but come up short in the end.
FLORIDA GATOR NATION PREDICTION: LSU 27, FLORIDA 21