August is here at last. Schools will be starting up soon, and that means it's time for football. The preseason USA Today Coaches Poll came out Thursday. The coaches, in their infinite wisdom, ranked the LSU Tigers at 13th with five – yes FIVE – other SEC teams ahead of them.
You can't argue with Alabama being ranked 1st; but Georgia, Texas A&M, South Carolina, and Florida are ranked 5th, 6th, 7th, and 10th respectively. Are the Tigers really just the 6th best team in the SEC?
Sure, LSU had 9 players selected in the NFL draft. Sure, LSU lost their top five sack leaders and two of their top three tacklers. Sure, the secondary took a hit when Tharold Simon and Eric Reid (who ended up being a first rounder) left early for the draft. Sure, the Tigers' top running back, Jeremy Hill, is currently indefinitely suspended. And sure, quarterback Zach Mettenberger struggled at times last year.
But would I really say that LSU would only be the 6th best team in the SEC this season? No. Way. New offensive coordinator Cam Cameron should inject some life into what has often been an anemic offense. The Tigers still have a solid stable of running backs.
The defense lost a number of players, but there are veterans like Lamin Barrow, Jalen Mills, and Anthony Johnson still around. Plus, guys like Micah Eugene, Jalen Collins, and Danielle Hunter are waiting in the wings. LSU's last 4 recruiting classes have ranked 6th, 6th, 18th, and 6th. There is plenty of talent on this LSU squad.
And there's also the matter of Les Miles. The Mad Hatter has won at least 10 games in six of his eight seasons in Baton Rouge.
LSU has a tough schedule, no doubt. The Tigers will play 5 teams ranked in the preseason top 25, with only two of those being home games (Florida and Texas A&M). At first glance, 13th overall sounds about right with all the questions facing the LSU. But 6th in the SEC? I don't think so. The good news is that the Tigers will have ample opportunity to prove the coaches wrong.