Why They’re Here: Last year, an uninspired offense kept LSU from challenging for the SEC Championship. Well, that and Les Miles blowing it against Ole Miss and costing me $150. This year, Jordan Jefferson and co. are looking to show the Southeastern Conference and the nation that they’re not all defense. Losing RB Charles Scott, WR Brandon LaFell, RB/WR Trindon Holiday and RB Keiland Williams is going to make that a little tough, though. Last year was a rebuilding season for Miles’ team, but in the SEC you don’t really get too many of those, so it’s expected that the Tigers will be back on their game this year.
The Good: It might just be me, but I really think Jordan Jefferson could make a case for the Heisman this year. With Scott gone to the NFL, the offense will really be on his shoulders. If Jefferson can have the kind of season that he’s capable of, the Tigers can compete for a title. My favorite player in all of college football, center T-Bob Hebert (pronounced Tee-Bob A-Bear; I’m not kidding), is still anchoring the offensive line and wide receiver Terrence Toliver is poised to have a big year.
The Bad: Did you see the list of players the Tigers lost on offense? They only return four starters on that side of the ball. And that’s just on offense. They’ll only be returning four starters on defense as well, and defense is the backbone of any LSU team. The benefit of the doubt is generally given to a great defensive mind like Les Miles, but with all the talent he had last year and what he was able to do with it (9-4 and a loss to Penn State in the Capitol One Bowl) maybe Tigers fans should be worried.
The Last Word: This season will come down to two people: Les Miles and Jordan Jefferson. If Miles has recruited the talent to step in and play – and it certainly looks like he did, bringing in a top 10 recruiting class – and Jefferson can play at an elite level, LSU could reclaim some of its past glory. If the freshmen aren’t ready, though, and last year’s backups haven’t done what it takes to prepare themselves for the big stage of SEC football, this could be another rebuilding year and Les Miles’ seat could start getting pretty warm. Fans in Baton Rouge still haven’t forgotten about that Ole Miss game and nothing short of an SEC championship is going to get them to.
Final Record: 10-3
…and he ruined my weekend!
At 5 am Pacific Standard time Sunday morning, I was running across Harmon Blvd in Las Vegas. This wasn’t a heavy jog, like most grown people do when they’re “running,” I was in a full-on sprint. I was running like a crazy person across an empty street because I had just left a cab at a different hotel without paying and I needed to get to my room before he saw me and called the cops. I’ve never run out on a cab fare on my life, but I had to because I was stranded in the middle of Las Vegas with no money at five in the morning. This was all Les Miles’s fault.
Everything started on Thursday, when I noticed that LSU was somehow a four-and-a-half point underdog to Ole Miss. Mississippi was at home, and in Vegas line world that somehow seems to justify a team getting an extra 10 points on any line. As I was planning a trip to Las Vegas for the upcoming weekend, I decided to place a little wager on the game.
Realizing that there was no way LSU could possibly lose by four-and-a-half points to Ole Miss and believing that my college football acumen was much greater than it actually was or is, I put an unjustifiable amount of money on the Tigers winning straight up.
Four hours later I was crying – literally crying – into the most expensive drink I’ve ever purchased. Prior to that, all I remember is screaming. Maybe it was the alcohol, maybe it was the idiotic coaching performance I witnessed, maybe it was the fact that I felt like I was watching my money being set ablaze, but I have never yelled as much or as hard at an inanimate object as I did at the television that day.
As Les Miles sat there on the sideline like a buffoon for those 17 seconds, while precious time ticked off the clock at the end of the game, I felt like I was watching George W. Bush in that classroom on 9/11.
“The country is under attack, Les! The country is under attack! Do something!”
I may or may not have actually yelled this out loud at the bar I was in – everything between LSU recovering an onside kick and the final scoreboard reading LSU – 23 Mississippi – 25 is one big whirlwind blur of anger, sadness, joy and disbelief.
I died a little that day.
This week the Sports Report Girl takes a look back at the beatdown the Ducks put on the Trojans and the BCS shakeup that ensued. Plus, a look ahead to LSU-Alabama, Ohio State-Penn State and Oregon-Stanford.