Image courtesy LSU Athletics
As the college football season draws closer, we’re taking a look at all of our partner schools with some of the bloggers who know them best. Poseur from And The Valley Shook helps us preview LSU.
Despite coming up short against Alabama in the final game of the 2011-12 season, LSU once again finds itself atop the USA Today Coaches Poll in the preseason ballot. Though most Tiger fans will have a November 3 date against the Tide circled on their calendars, LSU will also be tested on the road with games against Auburn (Sept. 22), Florida (Oct. 6), Texas A&M (Oct. 20) and Arkansas (Nov. 23).
2011 Record: 13-1
2011 Bowl: BCS National Championship Game vs. Alabama, 0-21
2012 Bowl Projections:
Orlando Bowl History:
1979 Tangerine Bowl vs. Wake Forest, 34-10
2005 Capital One Bowl vs. Iowa, 25-30
2010 Capital One Bowl vs. Penn State, 17-19*
Penn State vacated the win in 2012 but the historical record of the game stands.
Describe the 2011 season in two words.
LSU was one game away from perhaps the greatest season any team has had in 30 years, only to lose it all in one agonizingly awful game against a team that LSU had already beaten. Even then, LSU beat three BCS bowl game winners. LSU had more wins over 10-win teams than the national champion had over teams with winning records. It hurts too much to talk about.
Which LSU quarterback from the past decade does Zach Mettenberger most closely resemble? Will the offense look different under his direction in 2012?
JaMarcus Russell. LSU has not exactly been blessed with great quarterbacks, winning national titles with Matt Flynn and Matt Mauck. Russell is head and shoulders the greatest QB to play for LSU since Tommy Hodson (and he was better than Hodson), and his only real competition is Rohan Davey. Mettenberger is the same kind of big armed quarterback who can actually beat you with his arm, something LSU does not usually have. This means that LSU's offense can actually stretch a defense and attack a team vertically to open up more space for that stable of running backs. Miles is still going to rely more heavily on the run, but now the pass can help set up the run and keep defenses honest.
On paper, what looks like the toughest game this season?
Other than Alabama? Otherwise, it's a silly question. Alabama and LSU were probably the two best teams in the nation last year and they might be again this year. Hey, maybe this year's regular season Game of the Century might actually mean something. That would be a nice change of pace. Other than Bama, I'm going against the grain and saying Texas A&M. A&M is one of LSU's oldest rivals and I think they will be redirecting a lot of their Longhorn hatred towards the Tigers. The game is in College Station, LSU may overlook the Aggies, and Sumlin is a hell of a coach. This game honestly scares me as LSU's annual upset scare.
Best case/worst case scenario for the postseason.
Best case? Mettenberger is the real deal, two LSU runners go for 1000 yards, and the defense allows less than 10 points a game en route to an undefeated season and a blowout win in the whatever they call the game after the Orange Bowl. LSU wins every game by double digits, save Alabama, and makes a case for best team of all time, albeit a season late. The team is that good.
Worst case? Mettenberger struggles or gets hurt and the team's lack of depth at the QB position gets horribly exposed. The linebackers show athleticism, but also their youth, and give up as many big plays as they cause. The team misses its unheralded leader from last season, Brandon Taylor, more than anyone thought possible. LSU loses to South Carolina, A&M, Alabama, and Arkansas as the team spirals to 500 in SEC play and fails to get an invite to a New Years Day Bowl. The SEC is stacked, y'all.
LSU’s last two appearances in Orlando (2005 vs. Iowa, 2010 vs. Penn State) were infamous games for Tiger fans. If we promise that our city installed a new turf field, will you ever forgive us?
OK, we're still mad about the field in 2010, though that was a bit of a lost season anyway so no one stays up crying about the Penn St loss. Please install new turf. (editor’s note: We did! It's shiny and new and will not become an ACL-devouring marshland at the first hint of rain!) And it's not Orlando's fault Nick Saban was already devising plans on how to torpedo the Miami Dolphins instead of game planning for Iowa in 2005. No hard feelings, so long as you replace the turf, especially if we can somehow arrange things to play Michigan for the first time in school history. How great would that be?