LSU Tigers Season Preview

By Loot, NCAA Football Handicapper,

2013 LSU Tigers Season Preview

The 7th biggest favorite to win the BCS National Championship at 18 to 1, The LSU Tigers are more under-the-radar this year, but still stand out as a true contender. Last year offered promise, as well as some bad signs. They were a consistent disappointment against-the-spread and ended their season by losing to Clemson in the Chick Fil A Bowl–not exactly what LSU had in mind.

When watching the NFL Draft this year, it was hard not to notice a bunch of LSU players being selected. So we have a team that couldn’t even win the Chick Fil A Bowl that lost a bunch of players and now they’re supposed to be a contender for the BCS National Championship? Well, there is a flip side to that story.

Sometimes when teams that were in the running for a really big bowl game end up in a less-glorious game–they phone it in. Not that LSU didn’t try against Clemson, but it was obvious the way the season went south took their toll on this squad. First came the road loss to Florida, where the Tigers could only muster a pair of field goals. But they bounced back with impressive wins over South Carolina and Texas A&M. In their next game against eventual-champion Alabama, they led in the 4th quarter, until a last-minute Alabama touchdown cost them the game and a shot at the title.

So before we get all negative on LSU, let;’s not forget how close they were to having a special season last year. Really, a few plays go the other way and it’s a completely different story, but that’s the fickle nature of college football. They didn’t get it done and that’s the bottom-line nature of this sport. But when gauging future success, you can see clues from things like how close the Tigers really were in 2012.

Betting Tip: Most online sportsbooks are listing the Louisiana State Tigers at 18/1 odds to win the BCS title. It’s imperative that you make futures bets at a sportsbook that you know is going to be in business at season’s end. That means have a strong track record for many years. Look no further than Bovada, who has been servicing football bettors online for over 10 years!

They sure didn’t catch any breaks in the schedule this season. They have to go to TCU in their season opener, before hosting a trio of winnable games against Alabama-Birmingham, Kent State, and Auburn. Then it gets tough with a road game against Georgia. They go to Mississippi State, before hosting Florida where they will be trying to avenge last year’s defeat. Then comes a tough road game at Ole Miss, who they narrowly defeated last season. A laugh-fest against Furman sets up a road game against 2-time defending champion Alabama. Following a bye week, the season ends with road games against A&M and Arkansas. What a tough schedule!

LSU is looking for some breakout performances on both sides of the ball. Defensively, they lost 6 players to the NFL Draft. Anthony Johnson and Ego Ferguson give LSU a lot on the interior line, but the secondary is inexperienced. They should be talented, however, and LSU’s ability to reload in the Les Miles era has always been strong. S Craig Loston and CB Jalen Mills are still there and will need to have huge years.

The offense will have to step it up to get through this schedule after ranking 10th in the SEC last season. NFL offensive guru Cam Cameron returns to the college ranks to revitalize this offense and is very adept at working with running backs and quarterbacks. Look for him to get QB Zach Mettenberger on the right track and to make full use of a of a veteran O-line and a talented receiving corps.

For the last few years in the SEC, it’s been about Alabama and LSU. Now it seems more about Alabama. Georgia, and Texas A&M. Well, the Tigers beat A&M last year and maybe being out of the spotlight will be a good thing. It might be a lot of inconsequential hocus-pocus, but watched water never boils. Not that LSU is that much of a longshot, as they are the 7th most highly-favored team in the nation, but no one is really talking about them as a contender and that might result in something good.

This schedule is double-tough. LSU has a running history of recent success and should see more of it this year. The offense needs to upgrade itself significantly and a lot of newcomers will be depended on to come through in key roles. Look for Mettenberger to take a step forward this season and for the defense to surprise some people, as well. LSU is a bit of a question mark, but a solid contender nonetheless.

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