As the 2012 college football season draws nearer, Crimson White Sports will take a look at each team in the SEC, give our thoughts on how they will do in the league this year, and give some key matchups vs. Alabama, if they are on the Tide’s 2012 schedule. Up next: LSU.
2011 record: 13-1 (8-0 SEC)
Final AP ranking: 2
Through 13 weeks, LSU was having one of the best seasons in college football history. The Tigers had defeated eight top-25 teams, including No. 2 ranked Alabama, were champions of the Southeastern Conference and were the favorites to win the BCS National Championship in New Orleans.
But it all fell apart when the Tigers faced an Alabama team with revenge on its minds. The Tigers were dominated by the Tide, moving past the 50-yard line just once in a 21-0 loss. Everything the Tigers worked to build in those initial 13 weeks came crumbling down on Jan. 9, 2012.
Key returning starters: RB Kenny Hilliard, CB Tyrann Mathieu, DE Sam Montgomery
Key Newcomer: QB Zach Mettenberger
2012 outlook: Last season, LSU took on one of the toughest schedules college football has ever seen. This season’s non-conference schedule, but the Tigers could have a tougher conference schedule with back-to-back games against Florida and South Carolina.
The Tigers have set a recent standard of winning and fans will expect another run at a national title from Les Miles and Co. The Tigers return a ton of talent from last year’s team and will be one of four teams with a legitimate chance to win it all.
But the big question will be the quarterback position. Transfer Zach Mettenberger looks the part, but has yet to face an SEC defense. If he can give the Tigers steady play under center, the running game coupled with the defense will give the Tigers enough to beat in anyone in the country. I’ll predict the Tigers will finish 11-1 with another chance to play in the national championship game.
Key games in 2012:
- October 6 @ Florida
- October 13 vs. South Carolina
- November 3 vs. Alabama
Key matchups vs. Alabama (11-3 @ LSU)
- Zach Mettenberger vs. Alabama secondary: In two games against Alabama last season, LSU passed for a total of 144 yards under Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee. With that two quarterback experiment under way, Mettenberger will be asked to lead the Tigers back to the promise land. The only way to do that is to be able to successfully throw the ball against the Crimson Tide.
- AJ McCarron vs. LSU secondary: McCarron shredded the Tigers in the BCS title game for 234 yards, completing 23-of-34 passes. If cornerback Tyrann Mathieu’s playmaking ability can translate into coverage skills, he’ll be able to fill the void left by Morris Claiborne.
Filed Under: Around the Country