PHOTO: USA Today Sports
CBR's "Way Too Early" Top 10
No. 8 LSU Tigers
In nine years as head coach at LSU, Les Miles has double-digit wins in seven of those seasons and has led the Tigers to five top ten finishes. LSU will have to overcome the loss of four early entrants into the NFL Draft as they head into 2014 but in 2013 they lost 11 and still managed to win ten games.
The Good: LSU finished the 2013 season averaging over 200 yards rushing per game and had 37 rushing TDs (which placed second in the conference to Auburn). The offensive line should stay in tact heading into 2014 and the Tigers will also return 1,400 yard rusher Jeremy Hill and Terrence Magee (who averaged over 7 ypc). On defense, the Tigers return a slew of starters and will be able to hit the ground running this off-season instead of having to re-work the entire defense like they did last year.
The Bad: Cam Cameron's passing game takes a big hit with the loss of Zach Mettenberger and his two stud receivers, Odell Beckham Jr and Jarvis Landry. On defense, the Tigers must also fill the middle of the line as both Anthony Johnson and Ego Ferguson will forgo their senior seasons.
The Uncertain: Young Anthony Jennings will take over at QB. He's a big question-mark as he didn't see much action as a freshman but getting #1 QB reps throughout spring and fall practice will be very valuable in his growth. And who will he be throwing to with Beckham and Landry leaving? Rising sophomore Travin Dural could have a break-out season but the depth and quality of the Tigers receiving corps will definitely be a concern.
Verdict: LSU does pick up a tough Wisconsin team in their opener but they also got a gift from their SEC East schedule as Georgia drops off and Kentucky is picked up. Over the last four years, LSU has amassed a record of 44-9 so the odds are more than in their favor to have a very positive 2014.
Be sure to check out the rest of CBR's "Way Too Early Top 10":