Monday, August 13, 2007

SEC West Preview: LSU Tigers

LSU
11-2, 6-2; 8-0 Home, 2-2 Road, 1-0 Neutral

Quick Facts:
Returning Starters: 14 (6 Offense, 8 Defense)
Returning Letterman: 46 (24 Off, 20 Def, 2 ST)
Letterman Lost: 21 (9 Off, 10, Def, 2 ST)
Avg Score in SEC Play: 27.5-16.4

2006 Lines:
ATS: 5-7; Home Fav 4-4; Away Fav 1-1; Away Dog 0-2; Favorite 5-5; Dog 0-2;
vs Conf 2-6; vs Non Conf 3-1; Off SU Win 2-7; Off SU Loss 2-0

Miles at LSU
22-4 SU, 13-1 Home, 7-2 Away, 2-1 Neutral, 4-3 vs Top 10, 8-4 vs Top 25; 1-1 off bye; 3-0 off a loss

Interesting Fact:
LSU has finished either 1st or 2nd in the West every year since 2000

2006 Review:
The Tigers still finished the season as a top 5 team after stubbing their toe early in the season with losses at Auburn and Florida taking them out of SEC Championship picture. LSU ended the season very hot with impressive wins at West Champ Arkansas and a drubbing of Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl.

Storylines:
Returns more talent than any team not named USC. Seems like LSU fans are more upset that Nick Saban returned to college football in their backyard than they are happy to have Les Miles. Miles is still working on winning over the LSU faithful – a win over Alabama will go a long way towards achieving that.

Offense:
The offense should have a pretty solid passing game with Matt Flynn (2005 Peach Bowl MVP) taking over for #1 overall pick JaMarcus Russell, however the running game will just be average as the Tigers search for a dependable #1 back. Jimbo Fisher left to join Bobby Bowden at Florida State, so the Tigers brought in Gary Crowton who was OC at Oregon in ’05 and ’06. The Ducks were 9th in the NCAA in total offense and 1st in the Pac 10 in total offense and rushing. Flynn’s go to guy with be senior Early Doucet (8TD in ’06) with the departure of 1st round selections Dwayne Bowe and Craig Davis. If Flynn falters, highly touted Ryan Perrilloux will be called upon. The O-Line returns three starters with Herman Johnson also bringing 11 careers starts to the LG position.

Defense:
Where do you start? The D-line is just nasty led by likely ’07 first round pick Glenn Dorsey. Tyson Jackson returns at DE off a second team SEC performance. Ali Highsmith (seems like he has been around for 10 years) returns at WLB leads a group of three starters returning. One of Nick Saban’s legacies in Baton Rouge was the defensive back corp and although All American Laron Landry is gone, the Tigers are very strong led by cornerbacks Jonathan Zenon and Chevis Jackson. Bo Pellini has a lot of weapons to use on defense and will need them in the rough SEC.

Special Teams:
Remember the name Trindon Holliday - 4.27 speed; 32.7 avg on kick returns.

Impact Freshman:
Joseph Barksdale DT
DeAngelo Benton WR
Terrance Toliver WR
Chad Jones S

Schedule:
The Tigers get 5 of 6 toughest games at home where they were 8-0 last year and are 20-1 in the last 3 years. Virginia Tech comes calling in week 2 in what will be round 1 of the regular season playoff. Two weeks South Carolina comes calling hoping to make a name for themselves with an upset. On October 6, the schedule really begins with Florida visiting, then a road trip to Kentucky, Auburn at home, and then a much earned bye week. Nov 3 is a date circled for the reasons discussed above – Nick Saban will be ready in Tuscaloosa for his old team facing many players he recruited. LSU has won beaten Ole Miss in the last 5 meetings, but 4 of those were by 3 pts or less. On Thanksgiving weekend, the Golden Boot is on the line as the Hogs come calling in Baton Rouge.
Best Case: 12-0
Worst Case: 9-3

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