The Tigers are surrounded by scandal entering 2011 but that doesn’t bother Al Dannity. For this year at least, he believes LSU will do just fine under Les Miles.
The schedule It begins with a big one. The Tigers against the Ducks at Jerry World in a massive neutral site game. Both programs have suffered their share of problems due to the Willie Lyles affair, and LSU’s problems extend beyond that, but on the first weekend of the season this will game will still have national title implications.
A cupcake against Northwestern State will be followed by tricky road games at Mississippi State and at West Virginia. The home date with Florida in October will be interesting but Tigers’ fans will already be looking ahead to that big road trip to Alabama in November. Victory in Tuscaloosa and the sky is the limit.
The players The Tigers return 16 starters from the team that won the Cotton Bowl last season. The loss of would-be offensive coordinator Steve Kragthorpe was a blow and there will be plenty of pressure on Jordan Jefferson to become more reliable in 2011. There are however 9 returning starters from last year’s offense ensuring this unit won’t be lacking experience. If you are looking for stars then it’s best to direct your attention to the other side of the ball. Morris Claiborne looks set to be the next great defensive back out of LSU. He leads a group of 7 returning starters that will be eager to prove why going to Death Valley at night isn’t for the faint hearted. College Football betting fans should note the Tigers will be breaking in new starters in both kicking and punting this season.
The forecast Les Miles is a genius. He makes mistakes, is far from infallible, but takes just enough zany risks to win. The Tigers have a defense that is both feared and under-rated, a bizarre combination but one worthy of Miles. The defense on this team is so good that it really didn’t matter that Jordan Jefferson looked anything but a leader for most of last season. They could win games without him. On the occasions that Jefferson performed well, the Tigers were an all-round impressive unit. This season promises more of the same. The winner of the SEC West should, realistically, be expected to win the conference and make the BCS Championship Game. I believe only two teams have a plausible shot at that, one of them is based in Baton Rouge.