The Beginning of the End of the Offseason for LSU

In College Football, General LSU, Rankings Commentary on August 7, 2012 at 1:13 AM

I’m at that stage (as of Sunday) for the third year in a row where I’m starting to lose hope in the idea of my baseball team (the Angels) winning their division.  Since giving up an early 6-run lead and then also giving up a 3-run 10th-inning lead in Wednesday’s loss, the Halos only won a single game of the next four. While they would have been 2 games behind immediately after that Wednesday game had they won, they are 6 games back (reduced to 5 a few hours ago). Depressing week, would have been even worse without the Olympics to distract me. The Angels would still be able to chase that ridiculous 1-game wildcard-playoff berth if the division is finally out of reach, but anyway, I’m going to be trying to turn my attention to fall/winter sports like football.

I don’t think the Saints will do much with the ridiculous penalties and I prefer college anyway, so by this I mostly mean college football and specifically LSU.  #1 in the coaches’ poll came down to LSU and Alabama.  LSU was the more solid team in general last year (for 13/14 of the season anyway), so I guess I understand them being voted #1.  Alabama did get more #1 votes though.  I think USC is probably as overrated going into this season as they were going out of last season, but whenever they plan on having some competition, I guess we’ll see.

USC is ranked so highly in part because of a returning quarterback who’s shown some capability.  LSU has a more mysterious proposition at that position, Zach Mettenberger, a former Georgia backup who saw limited action last season.

This Bleacher Report article points out, “after three non-conference games to kick off the year—one of which is against a much-improved Washington team—Mettenberger will be thrown right into the SEC gauntlet before he can blink.  The Tigers open their conference schedule with the following set of games: at Auburn, at Florida, home against South Carolina, at Texas A&M and home against Alabama.”

A little dramatic… Washington is sandwiched between two games where LSU could just fail to show up for a half and you might not even notice in the final score  Even a shaky win at Auburn (think the 2008 26-21 win) would be followed by Towson, which isn’t even a good I-AA team.

This is not the buzzsaw the Tigers had to face to start out last year when they started out against the #3 team (which went on to win the Rose Bowl) and played two other top-25 teams (one of whom went on to win the Orange Bowl) in the first four weeks of the season.  They played a total of 4 top-25 teams in the first 6 games.  This year might not include any ranked teams in the first 6 games.  In the first coaches’ poll, Auburn (the fourth opponent) is #25 and Florida (the sixth opponent) is #23.  Washington (the second opponent) is currently #26 in the coaches’ poll and will be favored to beat San Diego St. in Week 1. 

I’m not making light of Auburn or Florida, especially not on the road, I’m just pointing out there is some breathing room there and he doesn’t have to be great right away.  It will be important not to screw things up, however, because there are at least three opponents there that can give the Tigers an L if they’re given adequate opportunity to do so.  The point is LSU does not have to be team it was last year to start 6-0 for the third year in a row (or 5-0 for the fourth year in a row), but by then maybe it will at least be close to as good at that point.

After the first six games though, there isn’t a break really, apart from the pre-Alabama bye week.  Texas A&M and Ole Miss are in transition and few would pick even a weaker-than-expected LSU team to lose, but there isn’t the customary late-season cupcake.  South Carolina, Alabama, and Arkansas are all potential top-5 teams.  Mississippi St. has only beaten LSU once since 1991 (the year of the Bulldogs’ only win @LSU since 1983… I was at the 1991 game, by the way), but they have the ability to at least put together a decent top-25 team, and LSU did need a dramatic goal-line stand to escape Starkville with a win (with a more experienced quarterback) just 3 years ago.    So there’s no turning back once South Carolina comes to Baton Rouge in mid-October. 

If you were curious, LSU has beaten South Carolina in all four contests this century (16-2-1 overall).  Speaking of past results in series, I’ve been getting a lot of interest in the Texas A&M series that I posted about before and after the Cotton Bowl after the 2010 season:  This is the directory for all the series I’ve done or re-done so far: (I haven’t re-posted all the ones from TSN yet.)


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