Saturday night in Death Valley, East meets West.
Or Southeast meets West is a little bit more like it as the two teams that embody the reputations of their respective conferences possibly to the greatest degree will meet in Tiger Stadium.
LSU is your prototypical SEC team. Large. Deep. Powerful running game. Great defense. Pro-style quarterback.
Washington is your prototypical Pac-12 team. Great passing game. No running game. Much to be desired on defense. Multi-dimensional quarterback.
Yep, the contrasting styles of how teams play in the SEC and how teams play in the Pac-12 will be on full display Saturday night. And if the past is any indication, those with a So-Coast frame of mind have to love their chances. The SEC has won more than 60 percent of its games against Pac-12 foes since the SEC began in 1932. Plus, LSU owns a 6-0 record over schools from that league since 2003, including an eight-point win over the Huskies in Seattle to begin the 2009 season.
But the past is the past for a reason, and none of it matters when the whistle blows and two teams in purple and gold begin their contest Saturday night.
The Tigers boast a balanced attack and should be able to move the ball at will against a Washington defense that was nothing short of hapless in 2011. The Huskies finished in the bottom 15 of America in total defense, passing defense and scoring defense, and their rushing defense only did a little bit better (76th nationally) because teams could chuck it at will on them in the pass-happy Pac-12.
Only one team failed to score 20 on Washington last season, and six teams scored at least 38.
Look for the Tigers to be on the plus side of 38 in Saturday's ballgame. Washington's defense gave up 199 yards five yards per carry on the ground to San Diego State last weekend. Expect LSU to exceed those numbers by quite a bit as the Tigers focus on securing victory.
Alfred Blue and Kenny Hilliard should be LSU's feature backs again, and it would sure be something if they can each go over 100 yards in consecutive contests.
Through the air, Zach Mettenberger will want to atone from his interception in the red zone and one touchdown performance against North Texas. The rest of his game was solid. He was sacked twice and pressured several more times, so the Tigers will need to get their pass protection schemes fixed with defensive end Josh Shirley coming off the edge. He had a sack last week and led Washington with 8.5 in 2011.
In the secondary for Washington, safety Sean Parker is a ball hawk and tackling machine, and Desmond Trufant is a talented cover corner, but they haven't been able to stop very many teams through the air yet.
The other side of the ball is where Washington has its only hope, and that's on the right arm of Keith Price. He's shown the ability to take over games in the past with eight games last year in which he threw three or four touchdown passes. And maybe more impressive than that is in those eight games he had two picks once, one pick twice and no picks five times. That's how you play the quarterback position.
Against LSU, he'll have the pleasure of attacking inexperienced cornerbacks. Plus the Tigers had no sacks last week against North Texas, so Price could put up some points Saturday night. Will it be enough points, however, is the question.
The Huskies have next to no running game to speak of. Last year's 1,488-yard rusher Chris Polk has moved on, and starter Jesse Callier is out for the season. Washington rushed for just 3.4 yards per carry last week against San Diego State.
Expect quite a bit of points on both sides Saturday night, and don't be surprised if Washington ends up scoring the most or almost the most points of any LSU opponent this season.