Since 2008, the LSU Tigers have averaged 10 wins a season. That almost sounds disappointing considering two of those seasons they played for National Championships winning only 1 and losing to the grudge rematch to Alabama in the other. In 2012, LSU matched their overall winning percentage, ended up 5-1 vs. SEC-West opponents and 3-3 vs. Top 25 teams losing to Alabama, THE FLORIDA GATORS, and Clemson. Offensively, they were not as solid as past LSU teams averaging 29.8 points per game and defensively only allowing an average of 17.5 points per game. With Cam Cameron coming on board from the NFL to take over the Tiger offense, you have to believe Zach Mettenberger may be on tap for a potentially good season. Considering the competition LSU constantly has to face annually and the fact that each loss was by an average margin of 4 points… LSU had a better defense than the statistics show. LSU lost Give LSU their credit… they schedule tough competition on top of an already brutal SEC schedule and they continue that trend in 2013 right from the start.
8/31 TCU (in Arlington, Tx)
I am hereby referring to this game as the Battle for the Better Purple! These two teams will meet at a semi-neutral field in Arlington, Tx, but I fully expect the Cajun Contingent will make a good showing. This should be a good game especially defensively. Gary Patterson was on my Top 5 list of coaches to replace Urban Meyer when he left Florida. In their first season in the Big12, the Horned Frogs went 7-6 with losses to Iowa State, Texas Tech (in OT), Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Oklahoma, and Michigan State. TCU and LSU are both defensive minded teams. Trevone Boykin returns for his sophomore season as starting QB and should improve upon the 2054 yards he accounted for in 2012. The total points scored in this game may not exceed 40, but LSU has a lot of depth at just about every position across the board. LSU by 7.
The Blazers went 2-6 in C-USA. Do I really need to say anymore? T. I. G. E. R. S. by 30.
9/14 Kent State
Cupcake #2 right? Noootttt necessarily, well only sorta. Tell me if these names look familiar to you. Lou Holtz. Gary Pinkel. Nick Saban. All successful coaches at the college level. The Golden Flashes averaged 36 points per game won in 2012, and allowed an average of 24.5 points per game total in a MAC schedule. Their three losses came to Kentucky (47-14), N. Illinois (44-37 OT), and Arkansas State (17-13). If the Wildcats can hold the Flashes to 14 points, LSU can hold them to no more than 7 and maybe scoreless. LSU by 21.
Bama’s cousins to the East travel south to Baton Rouge for a kitten cage match. For as bad as Auburn was in 2012… this game last year was just uuuuugggggggglllllllllyyyyyyyyy. Both teams combined for a total of 534 yards of offense, 5 turnovers and only 24 first downs. LSU accounted for 351 of those yards alone but only managed to win this game by 2 points. Both teams factor to be considerably improved on the offensive side of the ball, but LSU has the edge defensively while Ellis Johnson continues to build the defense. This could come down to the key defensive stops LSU will probably make in this game while Auburn continues their work to become competitive again. Cajun Tigers by 14.
Before the Cajuns head East to face the Slobberhounds in Athens, the Mutts will have faced @Clemson, South Carolina and North Texas before the Tigers roll into down for a good ole fashioned clash of cats and dogs. This should prove to be a good game between two teams who are pretty equal on both sides of the ball. LSU has a slight edge defensively, whereas the Leghumpers have a slight edge offensively. Because of such they will battle to the very end, but the LSU defense will wear down that UGAly offensive line. Jawjuh hasn’t fared well vs. tough competition early on in the season. LSU by 10.
10/5 @Mississippi State
This will be round two of a Cat and Dog fight for both teams and both teams likely to be the winner of round 1. Miss State has a week off prior to this match up, but they are 0-5 vs. LSU since 2008 and lost by an average margin of 13.8 points. In 2012, the Bullmutts lost by 20 points. Both teams managed over 300 yards of offense, but MSU just could not capitalize on the score board. LSU may be on the road and have cowbells ringing in their ears for weeks, but they win this pretty handily. Cats win by 14.
10/12 THE FLORIDA GATORS
Les Miles has this game circled on his calendar with a note that reads “Dear SEC, Please take them off our schedule. Thanks. LSU”. In the last five years of this divisional series, THE FLORIDA Gators have a 1 game advantage and the average margin of victory for the winner has come by 16.4 points. THE FLORIDA GATORS, however, have not done well vs. SEC-West teams and probably even worse on the road vs. those same teams. The winner of this game will come down to whose defense can make more key stops than the other and whichever QB has the better day with. Since this game is in Death Valley, LSU will have a slight edge in this game. Tigers by 3.
10/19 @Ole Miss
By this point of the season, you almost want to feel bad for the Rebels. Before LSU heads to Oxford, and after an open date following a road trip to Austin, Ole Miss will have traveled to Tuscaloosa, Auburn, and played Texas A&M likely going 3-1 in that stretch. The Rebels will be beaten, and likely just exhausted after that stretch. Since 2008, the Rebels have one victory vs. LSU and the average margin of points for the win in this series is 16.4. The Rebels will give LSU all they can handle, but LSU pulls it out. Tigers by 7.
The Paladins went 3-8 in Division 2 football. The LSU starters will be on the bench resting up and getting healthy for the big showdown in a few weeks by halftime. Tigers win by 30.
There may be the same number of NFL scouts as the combined number of players from these two teams at this game. Most of them probably eyeing the defensive side of the ball. Fans of the Iron Bowl won’t like me much for saying this, but this game is probably bigger and most important on either team’s schedule. Not including the National Championship game in 2011, the winner of this game has won by an average margin of a whopping 4 points. Alabama has a slight regular season edge in the W column after winning in 2012. Both lost a ton of talent to the NFL, and both teams have returning QBs and both have the week before off to prepare. This game is in Tuscaloosa.. but that hasn’t really mattered much in this series. I think the Mad Hatter has a few tricks up his sleeve he’s itching to use. LSU by 3.
11/16 OPEN DATE
11/23 Texas A&M
The Tigers schedule works out nearly perfect for them. What better gift can you ask for than to have a week off before and in-between what are likely your two best contenders to ruin your season. There are two teams the Aggies really wish they could have another shot at that were roadblocks into their inaugural season in the SEC. THE FLORIDA GATORS and LSU. Fortunately for the Aggies, they will get their shot and travel to Baton Rouge and get a nasty taste of a rowdy stadium in Death Valley. There were a total of 716 total yards of offense in this game last year, however, Manziel accounted for 3 interceptions and there were 2 additional turnovers committed by the Aggie offense. NOT what you want to happen against a Defense like LSU has and is likely to have again in 2013. The Aggies will give the Tiger faithful heart failure in this game… and either there is a very untimely turnover in this game, the Mad Hatter will strike again… or the LSU defense will hold off A&M just long enough for the clock to run out. Get your Richter Scales ready. LSU by 1.
By this point of the season, LSU has probably ridden a very emotional and physical roller coaster, but they see the light at the end of the tunnel… and a big prize in the distance and only a home game with the Arkansas Razorbacks is in their way. This will be Bret Bielema’s first trip to Death Valley and by this point in his first season as Head Hog he will likely know what he has in his team and how to use them best. The problem with the Razorbacks will be depth and an inexperienced QB. LSU is too deep and too motivated not to let this one get past this one. Tigers win by 13.
LSU will be in several games that could easily go either way, but LSU always finds a way to scheme and trick their way to a win. It is entirely possible that the Tigers go undefeated in the regular season and play for a shot at another SEC Championship and possibly a National Championship.