2019 LSU Tigers Football Predictions and Odds to Win National Championship
At their best last year, LSU could be a very good team - which they proved by beating up on Georgia. But they also had the potential to be a frustrating, lousy team - like when they didn't even show up against Alabama. Their defense wasn't as good as we are used to last year, and that's a concern that Dave Aranda, the defensive coordinator, will have to address this year.
But it was the offense that was the bigger concern. Led by QB Joe Burrow, the offense was too often unadventurous and predictable. They were only the 38th-best scoring offense in the country and ranked far worse in both passing and rushing. With the talent they have, it just wasn't good enough.
To address that, the team made an interesting hire. Joe Brady is a younger assistant who has been brought in as pass game coordinator. He spent the last two seasons as an offensive assistant with the New Orleans Saints after spending time as a GA at Penn State. He spent a lot of time watching one of the most professional and precise offenses in the world up close. Now the hope is that he can bring some of that Drew Brees magic to Baton Rouge. If he is given room to move, and he is effective, it could have a big impact on this team offensively. They have seven starters back on offense, and strong depth where they don't have starters, so the potential is certainly here. But can they reach the full potential of the team?
2018 in a Nutshell
They made two big statements as they opened up 5-0, beating Miami handily on a neutral field in their opener and winning in gritty fashion at Auburn. But then they ran into the first of their troubles, losing at Florida. Just when you thought that it was time to write off this team as a serious contender, they came right back out and beat Georgia by 20 in by far the worst game the Bulldogs played in the regular season. They also beat Mississippi State. But then they flopped against Alabama, getting shut out. Alabama scored only 29, but that was mainly because they got bored with scoring uncontested and took their foot off the offensive gas in a big way. They won meaningless games against Arkansas and Rice, which set them up for their regular-season finale, which was probably the craziest game any team played all season. They were tied at 31 after regulation at Texas A&M, but nothing was settled until the seventh overtime session. The Aggies won 74-72 in the end when the Tigers couldn't score their required two-point conversion. Despite the loss, they still wound up in the Fiesta Bowl where they scored a solid win against a slightly higher ranked UCF team. It was a solid season overall, but one that could have been much better given the talent they have.
Key Additions and Departures
The team had just three players drafted this past year, but two of them leave massive holes on defense. LB Devin White was the unquestioned QB of the defensive unit and seemed to be everywhere at once. And corner Greedy Williams was a shutdown force. Williams skipped the Fiesta Bowl, so they already got a taste of life without him. Notably, the team was probably braced to lose top DE Rashard Lawrence as well, but the senior surprised many by returning for his senior season. That's an addition of sorts given expectations - and a big one.
The team added a Top 5 recruiting class that featured three consensus five-stars. The highest-rated recruit, corner Derek Stingley Jr., could easily earn a starting role out of the gate. So could running back John Emery Jr., the second-rated back in the country. Of course, if he has a big game early on, the comparisons to Leonard Fournette will be almost unbearable.
Biggest Area of Concern
It has to be the offense. Brady is an RPO specialist who could really bring some much-needed flair to this offense, and Burrow is talented enough to handle it. But Ed Orgeron has never been accused of being either creative or flexible, so it is far from certain that he will allow things to change. He's an old school guy and proud of it. If the offense takes a step forward, it will have a big impact on the team. But if they don't then it could be a frustrating season.
LSU Tigers Schedule Analysis
It will all come down to four games this year. Three of their nonconference games are a joke, and five of their conference games are very winnable. They should be starting with a baseline of eight wins unless they really struggle. What happens in those other four, then, will determine whether they are a playoff team or an also-ran. The first comes in Week 2, when they travel to Austin to face a Texas team that recruited like crazy and is expecting to take a big step forward. A month later they face a Florida team that will also be improved and dangerous at home. Three games later, they play what will likely be their toughest game of the year at Alabama. Then they close out at home against the Aggies. They need to win three of those four to be a playoff contender - at least. The problem, though, is that it's tough to feel truly confident about any. I can imagine the team winning three or none, and neither seems more likely than the other option.
2019-20 LSU Tigers Betting Odds and Trends
BetOnline has LSU at +2200 to win the national title, which places them behind just six other teams. They are tied with opponent Texas, though, and are well behind Alabama, which is the co-favorite at +225 along with Clemson.
2019-20 LSU Tigers Predictions and College Football Picks
I just don't believe in this team. They are big and athletic and talented. But I just don't respect Ed Orgeron that much, and I don't trust that he can do enough to make this a true contender. Best-case scenario as I see it is 10 wins, and that won't be enough to get them where they dream of going. I wouldn't be at all surprised if they wound up with just nine wins. I don't see any value at all in this price. In fact, I hate it.
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