Preview 2018: Previewing and looking ahead to the LSU Tigers season with what you need to know.
Preview 2018: LSU Tigers
– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
– Top Players, Key Game, Fun Stats
– What Will Happen & Win Total Prediction
– Recruiting Class Analysis | Schedule Analysis
– LSU Previews 2017 | 2016 | 2015
It’s no fun when the goal of a powerhouse program is to matter in the bigger picture.
By most standards, flirting with a ten-win season and going to a Citrus-level bowl is outstanding. But when you’re a program that was perennially on the short list of national title contenders not all that long ago, and when the talent is consistently there to quickly get there again, going 9-4 with a decent bowl bid just isn’t going to be enough.
When Alabama and Georgia are playing for the national title, and when Auburn is playing for the SEC title, being fourth in the conference mix stinks.
Throw in the energy of the big-time coaching changes – hello Florida, Mississippi State, Arkansas, Texas A&M and Tennessee – and few will pay too much attention to LSU going into the season.
And why would they?
After all – Tiger and SEC fans, sit this one out – go ahead and name a sure-thing skill position starter. Are Devin White and Greedy Williams college football household names? Is Ed Orgeron – a peerless assistant and recruiter – really a national championship-level head coach?
The buzz might not be there, but that’s the deal at the moment. If you’re LSU, all you can do is keep recruiting the top talent, keep on being really good, and hope that you can eventually have one of those great runs when the close games go the right way.
The 2016 season might not have seemed that great with an 8-4 record, but three of the losses were by five points or fewer, and the 10-0 loss to Alabama was tight as a drum until late.
The 2017 campaign ended up with four losses, too, but the 24-21 Troy loss certainly could’ve gone the other way, one play was the difference in the 21-17 loss to Notre Dame, and the Tigers played Alabama reasonably well in the 24-10 loss.
And that’s the different between being very good and a national title contender. A flickering play clock light goes the other way in that last-second loss to Auburn two years ago, and the SEC is much different right now. That’s the deal. You have to win all the games – including the close ones – to be a thing, and the Tigers aren’t doing that.
LSU is always going to be very good, and it’ll always have the talent to hang with any team on any day. But big-time SEC programs that finish with three losses or more on a regular basis lead to grouchy fan bases. LSU has done that for six straight seasons, being out of the realistic chase for the national championship by mid-November in all six.
And now, in a year of transition, LSU needs to matter, even though it won’t be deep in the SEC title chase with Alabama looking nasty again and with a brutal schedule to face.
That doesn’t mean this won’t be another eight-win season – this is another fantastic team full of great talent and young NFL prospects. It’s going to be a strong 2018 squad with a ton of upside going into 2019.
To that question about the skill guys, Texas Tech transfer Jonathan Giles is one starter – he’ll put up big numbers at one receiver spot – and there will be a rotation at running back without a Leonard Fournette or Derrius Guice to rely on. Ohio State transfer Joe Burrow should end up taking over the starting quarterback gig, but he still has to beat out three other options who fought it out in spring ball.
But here’s why LSU is consistently LSU – those relatively unknown skill players are very, very good, and the offensive line will grow into something terrific as the season goes on.
And LSU is LSU, so the secondary has NFL talent – Greedy Williams might be a top ten pick and the first corner off the board in the 2019 draft – and has some of the best linebackers in the country. The three man defensive front will be deep enough to be great, too.
It’ll all lead to yet another season with at least eight wins, a few nasty fights in close losses, and another good bowl game.
LSU will be very good. For this season, that will have to be good enough.