Back in August RBR worked backwards through the 2013 schedule and attempted to preview the unknown. Some prognostications were fairly close and others were, well....off the mark.
How close or how far off were we?
Today we'll look back at the previews, starting with Auburn (sigh), Mississippi State and LSU and find out.
Excuse my french, but shit...
To be honest, this was a fair preview of Auburn given what I knew at the time. Nick Marshall had yet to be named the starter and no one, not even their own fan base, believed Auburn would once again become a team of destiny.
I reviewed some of the Auburn previews around SBN and most had Auburn winning anywhere between 6-8 games and none had them beating Alabama. That makes me feel a little better about wholly underselling the Auburn Tigers.
Outside of basically calling for a blowout, I actually feel pretty good about this preview. If Bully wanted to beat Alabama, those three points would be a great place to start. The thing is, they held 'Bama to 20 points and took advantage of Alabama sleep walking. What they couldn't do is muster any sort of running game or take advantage of four Alabama turnovers.
CLANGA, when Alabama gift wraps you a win, you gladly accept it and say thank you.
How LSU Might Win- Simple, the same way they almost won in 2012. Play solid defense, especially against the pass, run the ball effectively, dink and dunk Alabama's defense down the field and on offense continue to convert easy 3rd downs (they were 50% on 3rd down in 2012).
Admittedly, no one knew what to completely expect from LSU in 2013, not even their own fan base. This is from ATVS' preview of the LSU wide receivers.
The returning starters feature four names we're all pretty familiar with by now: Jarvis Landry, Odell Beckham Jr., Kadron Boone and James Wright. Last season, we wondered whether they would be a strength or a weakness without a true, No. 1 go-to guy like Rueben Randle. It was one of the 2012 team's major questions, and frankly, it wasn't answered in a positive.
We've said it several times, but it bears repeating: this felt like a group of complimentary wide receivers without a bona fide, go-to top guy. Now, maybe one of the new guys we'll cover in the next point can be that guy, but that's a lot to ask of a new player. I still think we haven't seen the full ceiling of this group, at least when it comes to Beckham and Landry
Again, the dilemma when previewing a team in the preseason is making assumptions, not based on facts but on what happened the previous year. (This is why preseason polls need to be done away with IMO).
LSU started the year throwing the ball (see the UGA game) and then went back to the power rushing game mid-season (see UF) and finished with a more balanced attack.
Where I was most certainly wrong was in thinking LSU would be able to simply plug and play on the defensive side of the ball. LSU finished the year ranked 20th in total defense but given the near unstoppable combination of Mettenburger, Landry and ODB Jr, their three losses can be firmly placed at the feet of the defense and offensive line.