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2019 SEC Football Preview: LSU Tigers

2019 SEC Football Preview: LSU Tigers

2018 Recap

2019 SEC Football Preview: LSU Tigers
2018 Schedule

2018 Record: 10-3 (5-3)

3rd in the West

LSU had another exciting season in 2018. Ed Orgeron has now increased his win total in Baton Rouge in each year he’s been at the helm.

The Tigers started out with a bang, dominating then No.8 Miami 33-17 in the opener. They followed shortly after with a road win over then No.7 Auburn. Three more ranked wins against No.2 Georgia, No.22 Mississippi State and No.8 UCF in the bowl game capped off a dominant year.

The only area of concern was being shutout at home by rival Alabama. It was the eighth consecutive loss to the Tide. Close losses to Florida and Texas A&M were all that stood in the way of the Tigers making a college football playoff run.

2019 Schedule Breakdown

2019 SEC Football Preview: LSU Tigers
2019 Schedule

Ceiling: 11-1 (7-1)

Floor: 8-4 (5-3)

2019 Projected Record: 10-2 (6-2)

Conference Standings: 2nd in the SEC West

  • Week 1 Georgia Southern: W
  • Week 2 @ Texas: W
  • Week 3 Northwestern State: W
  • Week 4 @ Vanderbilt: W
  • BYE
  • Week 6 Utah State: W
  • Week 7 Florida: L
  • Week 8 @ Mississippi State: W
  • Week 9 Auburn: W
  • BYE
  • Week 11 @ Alabama: L
  • Week 12 @ Ole Miss: W
  • Week 13 Arkansas: W
  • Week 14 Texas A&M: W

The Tigers will be tested early in week two against an up and coming Texas team. Playing the Longhorns on the road won’t be doing them any favors either. The next big test comes with Florida at home. That game could go either way and be a defining moment midway through the season for both teams.

Asking the Tigers to knock off Alabama on the road is a tall task, especially considering the lack of success in recent years. The good news is the Tigers will be coming off a bye week. Only issue is that Alabama will be as well.

Following the Alabama game the Tigers should be able to cruise through the rest of the schedule. On the road at Ole Miss may be a trap game coming off a tough matchup with Alabama while the Rebels will be coming off an easy game against NMSU.

2019 Outlook

Will the Offense Make the Jump?

Ed Orgeron has been constantly trying to reform the offense and get it rolling since taking over. Hiring New Orleans Saints assistant Joe Brady may be the ticket needed to make the jump.

2019 SEC Football Preview: LSU Tigers
Ohio State transfer Joe Burrow ranked just 12th in the SEC for QB Rating in 2018. (Photo courtesy of si.com).

The LSU offense finished middle of the pack in passing and rushing offensive numbers a season ago. Transfer Joe Burrow struggled at times last year but was still consistent enough for the offense to get it done. His mobility will make him a dual-threat for defenses as well as the talent he has at receiver, highlighted by Justin Jefferson.

The running game is still looking for the traditional hard-nosed LSU running back that Tiger fans have grown accustomed to. They’ll look for this in one of the nation’s highest-ranked recruits last year John Emery Jr. He’ll share the load with Clyde Edwards-Helaire who is coming off a 658 yard, seven touchdown season in 2018.

Defense Needs to Step Up

The defense was underwhelming but definitely not bad in the 2018 season. They ranked just seventh in points allowed per game. The passing defense ranked sixth while the rushing defense ranked seventh. For any other team these may be good numbers, but LSU’s historically dominant defense has some work to do if they want to have a chance at the playoff this year.

2019 SEC Football Preview: LSU Tigers
Junior Grant Delpit recorded 74 tackles last season, including five sacks. (Photo courtesy of theadvocate.com).

Injuries hurt the Tigers up front last season. Returning Rashard Lawrence and Breiden Fehoko healthy this season will make this a different story this season. Even with the struggles, LSU ranked 32nd in sacks last season.

DBU ranked 11th in interceptions last season. With an improved defensive line making things a mess for opposing quarterbacks, it can be expected that this number will improve. Grant Delpit should lead the way coming off a season in which he was able to pick off a team high 5 passes.

Recap

LSU has been improving year by year. They face big challenges this year in Texas, Florida and Alabama. Assuming they can take care of business when they should, the outcome of those three big games will ultimately determine if this is a championship-caliber team.

 

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