LSU football is at its best with a degree of uncertainty. I mean, come on, Les Miles screams uncertainty. You’re never even certain as to what the heck Miles is even talking about when he opens his mouth. It’s awesome.
LSU and Alabama are the perennial top two teams in terms of talent and athleticism in the SEC West, and yet while they compare in terms of sheer talent, they differ massively in personality and certainty. Alabama is categorized as a machine with Nick Saban at the switch. LSU is more akin to a wild pack of elite athletes with Les Miles charging along with them. The LSU on-field entrance that we’ve all seen of Les Miles acting like he’s holding back his team before they bust loose and run onto the field is perfect in so many ways.
In 2012, LSU entered the season with certainty. They were expected to be dominant. They dropped a couple games and were never really in sync to win the west.
In 2013, LSU enters the season as an after-thought. Despite being 1 of 2 participants in the annual “Game of the Century” in recent years against Alabama, this year, all the rage is about Alabama v Texas A&M in mid September. LSU is an after-thought to Saban’s machine and Johnny Manziel’s encore.
Factoring into the media and public overlooking LSU is obviously the loss of talent from the 2012 squad. Eleven juniors left for the NFL draft. Seven LSU defensive players were drafted – five of which were picked up in the first three rounds. Such turnover on defense is tough to overcome.
On paper, it doesn’t look good for LSU entering 2013. And this is exactly why it looks good for LSU. This program thrives in this environment. Tough opener against TCU? Even better. Recall the thrashing of Oregon at the start of the 2011 season weeks after losing their quarterback, offensive coordinator and wide receiver? Yes, this is when Les Miles and his team are at their best.
How many teams can you say have a real chance of running the table and winning the SEC and even a national championship after having such a massive talent exodus? Two? LSU is rebuilding, yet will be unbelievably athletic and still one of the most dangerous teams in the country.
LSU is athletic enough to keep games close. Perhaps no team is more experienced with close, one-possession games that the Les Miles led LSU Tigers. Their schedule is difficult, but all games are winnable. Factor in the Death Valley home field advantage and the LSU attitude of taking teams on amidst hostile road environments, and when looking at each game individually, LSU can win every single game on the schedule.
While the world focuses on the Alabama vs Texas A&M game, don’t be surprised to see LSU quietly take care of business and setup a hugely important game against Georgia on the 28th of September. It’s possible that the game of the season for the SEC isn’t Alabama vs Texas A&M, but instead is LSU at Georgia in late September.
LSU knows how to survive. And knowing how to survive is probably the best quality for a team faced with the task of an SEC regular season schedule. Should LSU survive the first couple months of 2013, we might just have yet another “Game of the Century” on Nov 9th at Bryant-Denny.
Not sure what to expect from this team in 2013? Good. That means that the LSU Tigers are must watch football.