ESPN's FPI projects LSU with about 10 wins (10.3) this season. Over/under?
A national championship.
That’s LSU’s realistic goal this year with most of its key players back from a 9-3 Texas Bowl win.
So having the second-best FPI, and projected to win 10.3 games, should come as no surprise to Tigers fans.
In fact, they might complain that 10 wins is not enough. Let’s take a look:
Wisconsin, Sept. 3
Win: Sure, the game’s in Green Bay. But the Badgers will be breaking in a new starting quarterback, they have questions in the secondary and they lost their defensive coordinator to LSU.
Jacksonville State, Sept. 10
Win: Sure, last year’s FCS finalist put a major scare into Auburn last season. But this year’s LSU team is much better than that Auburn team.
Mississippi State, Sept. 17
Win: The Bulldogs have been the SEC West’s feel good story for the last couple of years. But Dak Prescott has moved on to the Dallas Cowboys, and MSU is back trying to figure out who they can beat. Not LSU in Baton Rogue.
Auburn, Sept. 24
Win: Leonard Fournette ran roughshod over Auburn in Baton Rouge last year. Auburn now has Kevin Steele as defensive coordinator, but it’s not like LSU’s defense was gangbusters with Steele running it.
Missouri, Oct. 1
Win: The post-Gary Pinkel era begins in Missouri, and this group won’t be ready to beat a veteran LSU team in Tiger Stadium.
Florida, Oct. 8
Win: The first game that, on paper, LSU should be in jeopardy will be in Gainesville. The Gators could, and maybe should, win the SEC East again. But the West remains the much stronger division, and LSU should be able to beat the class of the East, even on the road.
Southern Miss, Oct. 15
Win: The Golden Eagles can put up points, but this still isn’t your father’s Eagles team. The resurgent USM program isn’t ready to win at a top-tier SEC school. At least, not yet.
Ole Miss, Oct. 22
Win: Chad Kelly will put up numbers, but the Rebels with miss those studs from the 2013 recruiting class, Laquon Treadwell, Robert Nkemdiche and Laremy Tunsil. The top-end talent isn’t deep enough to contend with LSU.
Alabama, Nov. 5
Loss: On paper, one could argue that an LSU team with its quarterback and stud running back returning should be able to beat Alabama in Baton Rouge. But the Tigers don’t seem to remember how to beat the Crimson Tide these days.
Arkansas, Nov. 12
Win: The Razorbacks have won two straight against LSU, and this game’s in Fayetteville. But this Arkansas team isn’t as good as the last two, to put it bluntly. And LSU is better.
South Alabama, Nov. 19
Win: LSU has not lost a regular season, nonconference game under Les Miles. Think about that. Then, think how unlikely it would be for the first one to happen against South Alabama.
Texas A&M, Nov. 24
Win: This is in College Station on Thanksgiving Day. That means only five days for LSU to prepare after South Alabama. This could be dangerous. But, then again, LSU has a better team.