Orgeron era officially begins at LSU
This is the 13th team in the SEC football previews:
LSU lost four games last season – two with Les Miles and other two under Ed Orgeron’s leadership.
The losses to Wisconsin (16-14) and Auburn (18-13) was enough to push Miles out the door.
The losses to Florida and Alabama prevented the Tigers from the Sugar Bowl.
LSU should open the 2017 season with a 5-0 record with wins over BYU (86.5 chance of winning), Chattanooga (97.9), Mississippi State (70.2), Syracuse (88.5) and Troy (95.1).
The trip to Gainsville to face Florida is a game that could set the tone for the rest of the season.
A win over the Gators (49.4) will make the showdown with Auburn (46.2) even bigger.
With a victory over Ole Miss (72), LSU could be 8-0 when the Tigers visit Alabama (20.2) on Nov. 4.
LSU is favored in their last three games over Arkansas (85.5), Tennessee (52.9) and Texas A&M (76.2).
So the Tigers could be at least 10-2 at the end of the season.
But it could also go bad quickly for the Tigers if LSU loses to Mississippi State and Florida.
Add losses at the end to Tennessee and A&M and Orgeron’s honeymoon with the fans will be over.
A 7-5 season is not what any Tiger fan is expecting based on the talent on the roster.
New Offensive coordinator Matt Canada’s former Pittsburg team handed national champion Clemson its only loss (43-43) last season.
The LSU offense only scored more than 40 points three times (Missouri, Southern Miss and Louisville), so maybe Canada’s plan will be more exciting to watch.
Senior quarterback Danny Etling threw for 2,123 yards with 11 touchdowns and five interceptions and he will have his chances to produce in the passing game.
D.J. Clark will be a steady receiver for Etling.
But all eyes will be on junior Derrius Guice who rushed for 1,387 yards and 15 touchdowns as Leonard Fournette battled an ankle injury all season.
The defense will continue to be strong under the leadership of Dave Aranda (now the highest-paid college assistant coach at $1.8 million per year).
Christian LaCouture moves from tackle to end in LSU’s 3-4 front.
Arden Key. The SEC’s leader with 1.1 sacks per game
Senior linebacker Donnie Alexander, LSU’s No. 2 returning tackler with 45 stops plus an interception, is expected to be a leader.
In the secondary, junior Donte Jackson (two interceptions) takes over the shutdown corner role.
John Battle is a returning starter at safety and true freshman JaCoby Stevens could soon be a star.
LSU only has three home SEC games this season, so wins over Auburn, Arkansas and Texas A&M are crucial for the Tigers to have a chance in the SEC West.
Who knows, maybe a win at Alabama could make up for three losses and spoil the Tide’s repeat run to the bowl championship series.
Sept. 2 BYU (in Houston)
Sept. 9 Chattanooga
Sept. 16 at Mississippi State
Sept. 23 Syracuse
Sept. 30 Troy
Oct. 7 at Florida
Oct. 14 Auburn
Oct. 21 at Ole Miss
Nov. 4 at Alabama
Nov. 11 Arkansas
Nov. 18 at Tennessee
Nov. 25 Texas A&M