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Predicting the 2018 SEC Football Season: LSU & the Ed Orgeron Quagmire

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This time next year, LSU could have 3 head coaches on the payroll.

NCAA Football: Louisiana State at Alabama
The boys in Crimson enjoy a Guice Sandwich.
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

In perhaps one of the most inept business moves in all of sports, LSU AD Joe Alleva gave former interim head coach Ed Orgeron a 5-year contract worth $3.5M per year before the 2017 season. LSU is Coach O’s dream job. He probably would’ve signed a one year $1M non-guaranteed deal. Instead, this bungle leaves the Tigers stuck with Mr. Mediocrity for four more seasons with former head honcho Les Miles still on the payroll until September 2022. If the Tigers decide to part ways with Big Ed this year, it will cost them $8.5 million, $6 million in 2019, $4.5 million in 2020 and $1 million in 2021.

Coach: Ed Orgeron (31-33 overall; 15-6, 10-4 SEC in 2 seasons at LSU)

2017 LSU record: 9-4 (6-2 SEC, third in the West Division)

CB969 2017 Prediction: “I know I have LSU at a 10-2 record and that sounds ridiculous. They are bound to lose a third (or fourth) regular season game to someone they should not.” Yup.

Looking back: In all reality, 9-4 is not too bad of a record for a football team. In the NFL, it would win a division title. However, in the high-stakes world of FBS college football, it leaves you with consolation prize of the Citrus Bowl. LSU started out 2-0 but was handed a 37-7 shellacking by MSU. They followed that gem up with a lethargic win over Syracuse and an upset loss to Troy. To their credit, the Cajun VooDoo conjured up by Coach O worked its majik as the Bayou Bengals won six of their next seven - all SEC games - with the one loss coming to Alabama. However, they fell flat against Notre Dame in Orlando on New Year’s Day.

Returning starters: 3 on offense, 4 on defense, punter.

Key losses: RB Derrius Guice (Round 2, Redskins), WR D.J. Chark (Round 2, Jaguars), CB Donte Jackson (Round 2, Panthers), EDGE Arden Key (Round 3, Raiders), CB Kevin Toliver (Round 6, Falcons), G Toby Weathersby (Round 7, Patriots), RB Darrel Williams (Round 7, Saints), WR Russell Gage, C Will Clapp, G K.J. Malone, DT Greg Gilmore, LB Corey Thompson, DL Christian Lacouture, OL KJ Malone, QB Danny Etling, projected starting guard Ed Ingram (suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules).

Top returnees: LB Devin White, CB Andraez “Greedy” Williams (6 INTs), OL Garrett Brumfield, DL Rashard Lawrence, OL Saahdiq Charles, S John Battle, S Grant Delpit, TE Foster Moreau, P Zach Von Rosenberg, Defensive Coordinator Dave Aranda.

Top newcomers: Transfer: WR Jonathan Giles (Texas Tech); Grad-transfers: QB Joe Burrow (Ohio State), DB Terrence Alexander (Stanford); JUCO: LB Travez Moore, OL Badara Traore; HS: WR Terrace Marshall, DB Kelvin Joseph, WR Ja’Marr Chase, DE Jarell Cherry, OL Chasen Hines.

Names you need to know: Devin White was converted from running back and is still learning the linebacker position. That is pretty impressive considering he logged 133 tackles and 4.5 sacks last season. He was first team All-SEC and projects as a mid-first round draft pick in 2019... WR Jonathan Giles took a redshirt last season after transferring from Texas Tech. As a sophomore in Lubbock, he recorded 1,158 receiving yards and 13 TDs.

Strengths: Some experience in the secondary... Returning punter Zach Von Rosenberg averaged 43.0 ypp last year... Some bright spots on OL... Burrow?

Weaknesses: Many new starters on both sides of the ball... A black hole at running back... Jack Gonsoulin was 5-11 kicking field goals a year ago while sharing duties with departed Connor Culp... Promotion of former TE coach Steve Ensminger to OC was an unpopular move... Oct 6-Nov 3 could be heartbreaking and backbreaking...

Outlook: LSU believes that Joe Burrow is the long-awaited answer at quarterback but there is not much sample size to make an informed decision quite yet. It will be a big challenge nonetheless with several of their biggest playmakers from last season now in the NFL. Someone named Clyde Edwards-Helaire might just be the starting running back in Red Stick this year. 2018 will reveal Orgeron’s recruiting acumen as he attempts to reload.

2018 SCHEDULE:

Sun, Sept 2 vs Miami (JerryWorld) - L - The ‘Canes return running back Travis Homer and a strong defense that may be too much for a rebuilding LSU.
Sat, Sept 8 vs SE Louisiana - W
Sat, Sept 15 @ Auburn - L - There is a chance they could pull an upset here.
Sat, Sept 22 vs LA Tech - W
Sat, Sept 29 vs Ole Miss - W
Sat, Oct 6 @ Florida - L - Another potential upset.
Sat, Oct 13 vs Georgia - L - Madame L’Angelle could have a nice spell formulated by the time this game rolls around but prolly not.
Sat, Oct 20 vs Mississippi State - W - MSU is good but not this advanced.
Sat, Oct 27 bye
Sat, Nov 3 vs Alabama - L - bye-bye
Sat, Nov 10 @ Arkansas - W - Potential face plant.
Sat, Nov 17 vs Rice - W
Sat, Nov 24 @ Texas A&M - L - Road game against Jimbo might be too much to ask of this team.

Let’s go Bowling! Yes, they probably win a game they shouldn’t and then lose one they shouldn’t but get just enough to make it to a bowl game in Birmingham or lovely downtown Shreveport.

Poll

Regular Season Wins for LSU:

This poll is closed

  • 34%
    9 or more
    (373 votes)
  • 23%
    8
    (254 votes)
  • 23%
    7
    (250 votes)
  • 11%
    6
    (121 votes)
  • 7%
    5 or less.
    (79 votes)
1077 votes total Vote Now

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