The LSU Tigers’ run at yet another double-digit win season is only a few short months away. Alright, well, seven months and change is not a short time away. However, members of Geaux Tigers Nation both near and far all would like to fast-forward through the offseason in order to just figure out where this program will stand come 2013.
A 10-win 2012 campaign cannot be seen as a failure on very many levels. Yet, coach Les Miles’ crew lost all three of the games the program really would have liked to have won in order to give these Tigers some bite headed into the offseason. A grinding, hard-nosed, extremely old-school SEC battle tilted in the favor of the Florida Gators to ruin LSU’s perfect run to that point in the year. Then, obviously, the last-second loss to Alabama in front of the home faithful defined the 2012 seasons for both programs.
Follow up those two with a disappointing loss to Clemson in the Chick-fil-A Bowl and the recipe for a motivated, hard-working offseason is absolutely there.
However, most of Miles’ team will be working hard in preparation for the NFL Draft. The Tigers are losing an unprecedented 10 underclassmen to the Draft, and several more seniors will be gone from the roster as well.
Preparing for the 2013 season will not be easy with so many new faces, especially on the defensive side of the football. However, with quarterback Zach Mettenberger returning for one final go-around, and a stable of talented running backs behind him, led by Jeremy Hill, Miles’ offense might just be explosive enough to overcome the mass exodus from Baton Rouge.
We will find out in literally seven-plus months, and absolutely no longer. Whereas most teams take on creampuffs in the first week or two of the regular season, LSU opens up their year with a bang against TCU in Cowboys Stadium.
The Tigers have seven home dates, four true road games and the one aforementioned neutral site showdown.
There are very few easy games on this schedule, but there are two very strategically placed bye weeks — both before and after the team must head to Tuscaloosa to take on Alabama.
The team’s home games are as follows: UAB (Sept. 7), Kent State (Sept. 14), Auburn (Sept. 21), Florida (Oct. 12), Furman (Oct. 26), Texas A&M (Nov. 23), Arkansas (Nov. 30)
Miles and Co. hit the road in Week 1 against TCU on August 31, and then spend the next three weeks at home. Its first true road test will come at Georgia (Sept. 28) and then the very next weekend at Mississippi State (Oct. 5). Two weeks later, LSU heads to Ole Miss (Oct. 19), with their home date against Florida sandwiched in the middle.
The athletic department scheduled Furman and then a bye week, giving the Tigers essentially two full weeks to head to Alabama on November 9 — feel free to starting getting the coolers and RVs ready now.
The program has yet another bye week in between Alabama and its final big test as it hosts Johnny Football and Texas A&M.
Worst Case Scenario: 6-6 with losses to TCU, Georgia, Florida, Ole Miss, Alabama and Texas A&M
Best Case Scenario: 11-1, losing at Georgia or to Florida, then running the table within the SEC West to earn a berth in the SEC title game.
Projected: 9-3, Miles’ defensive losses in the offseason prove too much to overcome against the nation’s elite with such a tough schedule.