The LSU Tigers finally emerged from the Les Miles era last year. They were constantly wondering if their successful coach, who won the 2007 national championship and reached the 2011 season’s national championship game, would stay on. This was the drama of the 2016 offseason, and it was an undeniable distraction for the team. When the passing game simply didn’t improve in September of 2016, the people in power at LSU finally pulled the plug. They had seen enough after allowing Miles to start the season in hopes he could recover. The next drama became the new permanent head coach. Interim coach Ed Orgeron did not figure to be the guy, but when Tom Herman went to Texas, Orgeron formulated a proposal, and LSU athletic director Joe Alleva accepted it. LSU begins a new era, trying to maximize its resources in ways which simply did not happen the past
How Did They End 2016
The Tigers, with Orgeron as interim coach, lost at home to Florida, a game widely felt to have cost LSU a Sugar Bowl bid against Oklahoma. That loss created concerns about the ability of the offense to shine under Orgeron’s supervision. However, LSU then scored 54 points in its regular season finale against Texas A&M. That game might have shored up support for Orgeron among people of influence at LSU. The Tigers’ defense then hounded Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson in the Citrus Bowl, as the Tigers blasted Louisville in a game that was never particularly close, despite what the scoreboard suggested. People can see how much talent LSU has, and that talent emerged in great detail against A&M and Louisville. The Florida loss became that much more annoying in retrospect, but it might have challenged this team to become better, which it did.
The Ed Orgeron story dominated the headlines, but meanwhile, Matt Canada became the team’s new offensive coordinator. LSU has long had trouble developing quarterbacks, and the Tigers hope Canada can be the guy who teaches LSU quarterbacks how to play their best. If Canada does great, Orgeron could find a way to manage this situation more than adequately… but there is no guarantee that a coordinator as young as Canada is a sure thing. He will have to earn a higher reputation in Baton Rouge.
Danny Etling. This might be a broken record in the 2017 SEC, but quarterbacks are going to shape teams’ seasons a lot more this year than they did last year or in most other years.
What To Expect From The Tigers This Year
LSU can coast in several games on talent alone. The question is if that talent can rise to the height of Alabama and Auburn, the two SEC West teams likely to finish ahead of LSU. The Tigers should collect a lot of wins, but if they lose to Alabama and Auburn, they won’t win their division or conference and will settle for a smaller bowl game.
Record Last 5 Seasons
Schedule and Outlook
The Tigers start the season with a neutral-site affair with BYU. Then they’ll come home to stomp Chattanooga, and then they’ll go on the road to Mississippi State. We’ll know early on just how good this team is. Anything short of 3-0 and there will be grumbles that this team really hasn’t changed.
LSU, in recent years, would have been in very big trouble having to play at Ole Miss, but with the Rebels imploding in various ways, that game now looks like an easy win. Similarly, playing at Tennessee might have been really tough last year, but the Vols lost a lot of talent from 2016. That should be a comfortable win. LSU could still be an 8-4 team, but the majority of the SEC is so weak that if you are going to choose between over and under for a nine-win season, over is the slightly better bet. Being realistic, nine wins is exactly what this team is most likely to achieve… though that won’t make LSU fans happy. They want at least 10 wins if not 11.
Regular Season Win Total Prediction: Over 9
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