LSU football: 10 bold predictions for 2019 season
Will LSU finally beat Alabama?
Will it make the College Football Playoff?
Will Joe Brady revolutionize the offense?
Will the defense being even better without Devin White and Greedy Williams?
That’s why they play the season.
But the opener is this week and you want answers.
So here are some bold predictions for the upcoming LSU season, which starts Saturday against visiting Georgia Southern:
No. 1: LSU will not have a 1,000-yard rusher
This is a good thing. Nick Brossette had more than 1,000 yards last season and Clyde Edwards-Helaire is capable of having one this season.
But the arrival of freshmen John Emery II and Tyrion Davis-Price, the continued development of Chris Curry and the presence of senior Lanard Fournette give the Tigers a stable of running backs they can rotate to keep sending fresh legs at defenses.
So the running game will be more productive even as the leading rusher accumulates fewer yards than last season.
No. 2: Joe Burrow will pass for more than 3,500 yards
With an improved running game and head coach Ed Orgeron’s stated goal of a 50-50 run-pass balance, this won’t be easy to achieve.
But the new passing game under coordinator Joe Brady will be more efficient and lessen the pass rush on Burrow, who will continue to make good decisions and pile up yards at a faster rate.
No. 3: Justin Jefferson will be first-team All-SEC
He came out of nowhere as a sophomore last season to become the Tigers’ leading receiver (54 catches, 875 yards, 6 TDs).
He will continue to improve, exceed 1,000 receiving yards and be selected to the conference’s first team.
No. 4: The offensive line that starts against Georgia Southern won’t start against Texas A&M
Of course, injuries alone could make this prediction a reality, but even without them, the starting unit is likely to evolve over the curse of the regular season, most likely at left guard.
Adrian Magee is likely to start in the opener, but the coaches are hopeful that Chasen Hines’ progress continues to the point that he overtakes him at some point during the season.
No. 5: K’Lavon Chaisson and Michael Divinity Jr. will combine for 20-plus sacks
The Tigers have a variety of pass rushers among their linemen and linebackers, not to mention safety Grant Delpit, who tied Divinity for the team lead in sacks last season (5 each).
But it’ll be Chaisson, who’s healthy after suffering a season-ending knee injury in the opener last season, and Divinity who lead the way.
No. 6: Derek Stingley Jr. will be a freshman All-American
Not only will he start at cornerback, but he’ll also be the primary punt returner.
With a bunch of talented, more experienced players in the secondary, Stingley will see a lot of balls thrown his way, giving him opportunities to make big plays on defense as well as in the return game.
No. 7: Cade York will maintain Cole Tracy’s standard
It would be hard for anyone to surpass Tracy’s field-goal performance last season when he made 29-of-33, with half his misses coming from 50-plus yards.
But York even as a true freshman has the leg, the accuracy and the confidence to be similarly effective.
No. 8: LSU will beat Texas by double digits
One of the marquee games in Week 2 will come when the preseason No. 6 Tigers visit the preseason No. 10 Longhorns.
It’s 1 of 5 games LSU has against opponents ranked in the preseason Top 16, but it will be the one in which the Tigers have the easiest time.
No. 9: Ed Orgeron won’t be on anyone’s hot seat
OK, it’s hard to account for every single hot seat on the Internet.
But when it comes to credible sources listing head coaches faced with serious job insecurity, Orgeron’s name will not surface for the first time since he became the Tiger head coach in 2016. He’s earned that right, too.
No. 10: LSU and Texas A&M will play 8 overtimes
You want bold? You got it.
The Tigers and Aggies battled through 7 overtimes last season before A&M finally prevailed 74-72.
Those two teams figure to be pretty evenly matched once again and this regular-season finale could go on and on and on … again.