It seems that any time that LSU does not win a National Title or is not in the conversation for a National Title, that Les Miles is the worst coach in the world, and should pay the penalty for his loss by not only getting fired, but spending the rest of his life carrying a 300lb millstone around his neck to remind him of the hurt that he impounded on the LSU faithful.

Seriously.

Well, last year, LSU not only wasn’t in the National Title conversation after losing to Florida 14-6 in a defensive battle/awful game in The Swamp, but they were waaaaay out of it after losing at home to Alabama in the Game Of The Century in Death Valley. Oh, and they lost to Clemson in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. Then, the talent left for the NFL. Tough 2013, Les Miles…. or not?

LAST YEAR

If you’re a LSU fan, 2012 was a helluva letdown. Sorry, but it was. First of all, Les Miles had to boot Tyrann Mathieu for constant bad behavior. Then during the season, the Tigers were the Lords of the close game. Against anyone, it seemed. Auburn, Arkansas and Ole Miss gave them unexpectedly hard games, they beat two SEC Gods in Johnny Manziel and Jadeveon Clowney, and lost heartbreakers against Florida (the offense didn’t show up), Alabama (blame Nick Saban) and Clemson (blame Les Miles and the offense). Zach Mettenberger, the potential NFL QB, was a massive letdown. Maybe it was karma for not letting female kicker Mo Isom on the team.

And now?

OFFENSE

This was the probably the biggest disappointment in the SEC last year – and perhaps all of college football. Talk to any LSU fan, and they’ll tell you: “Zach Mettenberger was infuriating last season. A lot of the time he’d look awful, but then there were those sparks that would make you scald yourself for hatin’ on him”. We agree. Mettenberger had 2,600 yards passing last year with 12 TDs, and was bailed out at times by LSU’s as-usual excellent running game, led by Jeremy Hill, Kenny Hilliard and Michael Ford. His receivers Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry will be required to learn from the mistakes of 2012, but Tigers fans will be hoping that their experience will bolster Mettenberger, who had a QB rating of 128.3 – the third-lowest in the SEC.

The good thing about 2013 is the Mettenberger’s offensive line is (generally) intact, and Hill avoided jail. He’ll lead the way with Hilliard and Alfred Blue at running back. But in games where we project LSU might be behind a lot next year, will Mettenberger show us the talent that made him the potential No.1 QB at Georgia all those years ago? Tigers fans will be geauxing to church to pray so.

DEFENSE

Heard the one about the LSU Tigers losing all but three defensive starters, including Barkevious Mingo, Sam Montgomery, Bennie Logan, junior star Kevin Minter and safety Eric Reid? Well, it’s no joke. It seemed as if if you were a LSU junior last year, you walked to the NFL (and got drafted, too!). So, there will be a lot on the shoulders of DTs Anthony Johnson and Ego Ferguson, linebacker Lamin Barrow, and safety Craig Loston. We have confidence in defensive co-ordinator John Chavis, who’s the best in the land, but can the young defense cope?

SCHEDULE

Aug. 31 TCU (Arlington)
Sept. 7 UAB
Sept. 14 Kent State
Sept. 21 Auburn
Sept. 28 at Georgia
Oct. 5 at Mississippi State
Oct. 12 Florida
Oct. 19 at Ole Miss
Oct. 26 Furman
Nov. 9 at Alabama
Nov. 23 Texas A&M
Nov. 30 Arkansas

Casey Pachall, the TCU quarterback, is going to test the young LSU Tigers team first out, but then we feel it’s smooth sailing until the Tigers rock into Georgia for what is always a fired-up game between the two. The relative ease of Mississippi State will be combated with a home game against one of the SEC’s best defenses in Florida, while LSU’s going to be tested by Bo Wallace and Ole Miss…we promise. Furman should pose no problem, while we project Alabama and Texas A&M to be bruising encounters. The end-of-season clash at home with Arkansas should give some ‘Geaux’ back to Tigertown.

BOTTOM LINE: LSU has a hellishly young defense, which makes us believe that they could struggle early – particularly against talented QBs Pachall and Murray. We would not be surprised if the Tigers finished 10-2 this season with losses to Georgia and Alabama, but we wouldn’t be surprised – bearing in mind that we don’t rate Mettenberger and the Tigers’ young defense – if the Tigers finished 8-4….or worse. But they should get in a bowl game…even if it’s not a good one.

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