As we approach closer to the end of the season, LSU continues to find themselves in conversation for being one of the best in the SEC. As they knock off teams one by one, the team has earned the respect of analysts and the Associated Press. Many continue to doubt them however, due to their history of inconsistency and others doubt the coaching ability of Ed Ogeron. So, the question remains: is LSU a legitimate College Football Playoff team?
Seven games in, LSU sits at 6-1 with an important matchup against #22 Mississippi State later on today, the Tigers have another big opportunity to improve their resume. Mississippi State has been struggling on offense and LSU has a dominant defense. This should be an easy win for the Tigers as they are at home in an environment that they are extremely comfortable with. What if it had been on the road? It may sound like a silly question to ask, but LSU has not been the same team on the road, as they have been at home.
Although they have only played two games on the road, neither of the two have been pretty at all. Against Auburn, they eked out a win with a last second field goal and lost by eight to Florida. The offense averages 371 yards of offense on the road but struggle to capitalize on good opportunities. They won’t have to play too many tough teams on the road this year, but they will definitely have to improve their road woes if they want to be considered for one of the four playoff slots (Texas A&M won’t be easy to take down in College Station either).
Let’s talk about what they do have going for them. Offensively, their quarterback is not anything special in terms of athleticism; he is just a guy who knows how to get the job done at whatever cost. Their running back went from a no-named type of guy in the SEC to one that everyone has taken note of. The receivers seem to be able to make a big play or two when needed, and the offense seems to be upgraded almost across the board in comparison to last year. On defense, they are still one of the best in the business. The best linebacker in the country is in the middle calling out the plays and they give up a little over 120 total rushing yards per game. The secondary is still scrappy, and their defensive backs know how to make plays. Most importantly, their biggest game left on the schedule is at home.
Yes, the LSU Tigers will play Alabama at home this season. As the Tide continue to roll, this could truly be a trap game for them. The Tigers have shown the ability to play big at home as they dismantled the then #2 ranked Georgia Bulldogs by 20. Everything went right for the Tigers and they hope the same will be the case as they square up against arguably the best quarterback in all of college football in Tua Tagoviola. If LSU can beat Alabama, expect the Tigers to be a serious contender for the National Championship this year.