2014 LSU Tigers Odds to Win the SEC with Picks & Predictions
by Aaron Smith - 7/30/2014
The LSU Tigers won the BCS National Championship in 2008 with a 38-24 win over Ohio State. LSU hasn't won the title since, but Les Miles' teams have won at least 10 games in each of the past four seasons. Miles may not be the best game-day coach (he isn't), but he definitely knows how to recruit, and he gets his players to play hard.
LSU went unbeaten at home last year, but the Tigers lost at Alabama, at Georgia, and at Mississippi. Death Valley is one of the toughest places in the nation to play, but the Tigers are going to have to find a way to win the key SEC games on the road if they are going to take that step up again to contend for a national title.
LSU returns five starters on offense and seven starters on defense. The Tigers lost some key players on both sides of the ball, but Miles' teams have done a nice job of reloading instead of rebuilding in the past. Can they keep that trend going in 2014?
2014 LSU Offense
Zach Mettenberger might have underperformed versus expectations before last year, but he was tremendous in 2013. This offense will badly miss him under center. The battle to become LSU's starting quarterback this year is said to be a dead heat as of late July. Brandon Harris and Anthony Jennings both have significant amounts of talent, but I'm concerned that these guys will hurt the team due to their lack of experience. The SEC isn't a league where you can just throw out a talented youngster and expect him to be good from Day 1. There is going to be a big learning curve here.
Senior Terrence Magee will likely start the year as the team's starting running back. He's a quality back, but he doesn't have the upside of sensational freshman Leonard Fournette. Fournette is simply too good to sit the bench for long at all, and I expect Les Miles and his staff to find ways to get him on the field right away. Because the quarterback situation is one that I'm concerned about, I do believe we should see LSU bump up their reliance on the running game in the year ahead. That's why it's a big positive that this is probably the Tigers best offensive line in multiple years. LSU returns four out of five starters from the offensive front, and this group should open a bunch of holes in the running game.
LSU's wide receivers were among the best in the country last year, but replacing Beckham and Landry is going to be extremely tough. Look for a large drop in production from the Tigers passing game with a new quarterback and inexperienced wideouts.
2014 LSU Defense
LSU is known for exceptional defense. There have been many years where the defense has carried this team. Because I believe the passing game will be down so much, I think in order for LSU to be an elite team this year the defense will once again need to carry the team. LSU's defensive front was the weakest they have been in years in 2013. Opponents ran for 143 yards per game, and the Tigers picked up only 27 sacks. Both defensive tackles left early for the draft in the offseason, so I do worry about this group again in 2014. They have more depth here than they had last season, but the talent here isn't up to normal LSU standards.
The secondary should be the strength of the defense. LSU's secondary had a down year last season, but I expect bigger and better things from them this season. Robinson and White form a nice duo at the cover corner spots. These are two sophomores who are likely to be stars by the time they are done at LSU. The linebackers are always quick at LSU, and this year is no different. The depth at this spot isn't quite what it usually is, though, so they'll need to stay healthy.
This Tigers defense should be a good one, but I'm not sure they are good enough to dominate the league as they have in other seasons.
2014 LSU Odds to Win SEC
LSU isn't a favorite in the SEC, but they are still definitely in the mix according to the oddsmakers. LSU is listed at 13/2 by Bovada on odds to win the SEC Championship. LSU is listed at 5/1 to win the SEC West Division. The Tigers are listed at 20/1 to win the FBS Championship in 2014. LSU's season win total is set at nine wins .
2014 LSU Tigers Picks & Predictions
I'm lower on LSU than most people are heading into the 2014 season. It's hard to be too negative on a team that consistently gets to double-figures in the win column, but I don't think they'll get there this season. Road games against Auburn, Florida, and Texas A&M in the SEC will be tough. A neutral-site game against Wisconsin to start the season will be very tricky as well. The LSU schedule is certainly not an easy one. I think the offense takes a clear step backward without Mettenberger and the elite wide receivers. The defense isn't good enough to carry this team alone. Look for a bit of a disappointing year from LSU.
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