The Tigers begin the season under a cloud of controversy after LSU senior quarterback Jordan Jefferson and sophomore linebacker Joshua Johns were arrested Friday on second-degree battery counts stemming from a fight outside a Baton Rouge bar on Aug. 19.
Jefferson and Johns have been suspended indefinitely from the football team, coach Les Miles said Friday.
On Thursday, Tigers wide receiver Russell Shepard was declared ineligible for violation of an NCAA rule
When he discussed an NCAA inquiry with a teammate who was scheduled to meet with an NCAA representative and his actions were deemed to have violated NCAA protocol.
Add the departure of running back Stevan Ridley and wide receiver Terrence Toliver along with defensive back Patrick Peterson, defensive tackle Drake Nevis and linebacker Kelvin Sheppard and the Tigers chance for a dream season could be greatly hampered.
With Jefferson (336 of 578, 3,966 yrds, 28 TD, 18 INT in his career) out of the lineup for who knows how long, Jarrett Lee will now lead the Tiger offense. He has had both great performances and terrible outings as the LSU quarterback.
If Lee struggles, enter transfer Zach Mettenberger who threw for 2,678 yards and 22 touchdowns in his only season at Butler Community College.
With Ridley gone, sophomore running back Spencer Ware will be the main threat on the ground, with Alfred Blue, Michael Ford and Kenny Hilliard ready for their turn to carry the ball.
With Shepard out against Oregon in the season opener, more pressure is on junior Rueben Randle (544 yards, 3 TD) and senior Deangelo Peterson to help the passing attack work well.
The defensive front will be led by senior Kendrick Adams and junior Lavar Edwards. Junior Ryan Baker (87 tackles in 2010) will anchor the linebackers along with seniors Stefoin Francois and Karnell Hatcher.
The secondary will be led by junior cornerback Morris Claiborne (five INT) and sophomores Tyrann Mathieu, Eric Reid and Eunice High star Tharold Simon.
The season opener next week against Oregon (12-1) was supposed to be a great start to a championship season. home game against Northwestern State (5-6) is followed by road games to Mississippi State (9-4) and West Virginia (9-4).
The Tigers entertain Kentucky (6-7) and Florida (8-5) before a trip to Rocky Top to face Tennessee (6-7).
A showdown in Tiger Stadium against Auburn (14-0) is followed by the chance for this year’s SEC West title with a trip to Alabama (10-3).
After gauntlet against Auburn and Alabama, LSU then takes on Western Kentucky (2-10) and Ole Miss (4-8) before the season finale at home against Arkansas (10-3).
Oregon or West Virginia could give the Tigers an early blemish but a loss to Auburn, Alabama or Florida will push LSU out of the BCS title hunt.
The Tigers could fight through the preseason controversy and go on to win the West and possibly make it to the BCS title game.
Or LSU could lose three games and not even play in a BCS bowl game.
LAST OF THE SEC TEAM PREVIEWS