As a result of their 37-7 beatdown to Mississippi State, the LSU football team dropped from No. 12 to No. 25 in the Associated Press rankings.
The dual-threat quarterback of the Bulldogs, Nick Fitzgerald, significantly increased his chances of becoming a Heisman candidate and got his revenge over the Tigers. While he didn’t reach 200 passing yards, he used his feet a whole lot more. Fitzgerald carried the ball 14 times for 88 yards and two touchdowns against the Tigers, which is a far cry better than than the 13 carries for 13 yards he had in their previous matchup.
In regards to LSU, they will face their next SEC opponent in two weeks when they travel to Gainesville to play Florida. From there, five of LSU’s last six opponents will be from the SEC West, including the highly-anticipated road matchup against Alabama.
LSU still has a chance to contend for the SEC West title, but it will definitely be a tough road for them. First of all, they have to beat Alabama. That’s not even a question to even consider. If another team from the SEC West wants a legit chance to play in the championship game in Atlanta, then beating Alabama is the way to go.
That was the case in 2011 when LSU had a nail-biting 9-6 victory over the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa. Behind an extremely dominant secondary led by Tyrann Mathieu, the Tigers won the SEC West and eventually clinched the conference title altogether.
While the Tiger offense is continuing to find its rhythm in Matt Canada’s system, it still needs a lot of work. It’s understandable to struggle against the Mississippi State defense. The Bulldogs are fourth in the country in total defense. But there were lots of dropped passes in that game that should have been caught, and all the Tiger receivers have to do now is play a little bit sharper than they have over the last couple of weeks.
Danny Etling doesn’t display much of the same pizazz as Lamar Jackson or Baker Mayfield. He doesn’t have to. When it comes to reading defenses or recognizing certain blitzes, Etling is the man for the job. That will help LSU out tremendously heading into the rest of the season.
LSU is expected to beat Syracuse this weekend and Troy the weekend after that, and they have a good chance at beating most of their SEC opponents. Beating Ole Miss and Texas A&M shouldn’t be too much of an issue, and while the Florida, Arkansas and Tennessee games will be a little more challenging for the Tigers, they should still make these games more interesting and hopefully come out with wins.
The two games that are the most concerning for the Tigers are the games against Auburn and Alabama. Mississippi State actually ranks two spots below Auburn in total defense, so it’s easy to predict LSU as severe underdogs. But LSU should still come out with a win with extra motivation after their previous matchup led to Les Miles’ firing. If LSU wins the game, the victory margin will be very, very narrow.
And as for the Alabama game? Thank goodness that LSU has the bye week after the Ole Miss game to prepare for the Crimson Tide. All roads to the SEC West title go through Alabama, so let’s pray that the Tigers can shake things up and rewrite a new chapter in this historic matchup.