May as well start with the defending national champions.
It’s very tempting to examine LSU’s roster, study what the Tigers have lost, and start making Also-Ran Bowl reservations.
Yes, Ryan Perrilloux flamed out with off-the-field woes, placing a major question mark at quarterback. Yes, the defense must find its way after saying farewell to remarkable leaders such as Glenn Dorsey and Ali Highsmith, plus defensive coordinator Bo Pelini. Yes, the stars aligned perfectly for the Tigers in a double-mulligan season and it’s unrealistic to think such a margin of error could happen again.
Dismiss LSU from repeating as national champion?
Dismiss LSU from SEC contention (and possibly ruining somebody else’s national-title opportunity)?
No. No. No.
LSU will not go 14-0. But it could very well finish next season in the top 10.
It was easy to salivate over the dual-threat talents of Perrilloux when he de-committed from Texas and signed with LSU in 2005. Despite the size, speed and arm strength, Perrilloux never matured into a dependable player. If trouble surrounds the quarterback position, especially during a season, you’ve usually got big problems. LSU did the right thing — and Perrilloux was given an especially long leash — before cutting its losses and moving on.
Instead of walking on eggshells, the Tigers can go about the business of developing Jarrett Lee, a redshirt freshman, and Andrew Hatch, a transfer from Harvard.
2) The SEC springboard
LSU probably won’t be favored to capture the SEC West. Look for Auburn or Alabama to emerge as the front-runner.
But the division doesn’t appear to have any big-time teams. And if the Tigers take care of business, there are games against Florida and Georgia that represent mammoth opportunities. LSU could emerge back in the race quicker than anyone might realize.
3) The cupboard isn’t bare
LSU recruits more front-line talent than practically anybody in the nation. There is the customary glut of running backs. Receivers Brandon LaFell and Demetrius Byrd are excellent targets for the new QB. The offensive line will be one of the SEC’s best units, featuring Herman Johnson and Ciron Black.
And even without Dorsey, LSU’s defensive front should be formidable. Where there appear to be holes, there are former prep blue-chippers waiting for an opportunity.
CFT: The Detroit Lions are expected to own and operate their own bowl game at Ford Field, starting play in 2014, according to a report by ESPN.
Take visual tour of LSU's victory over Ohio State.
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