LSU Football: 10 Teams That Benefit Most from Tyrann Mathieu's Dismissal
The LSU Tigers have already lost six starters on the defensive side of the ball that they will have to replace heading into the 2012 season. Now they can add another key player that will no longer be on the roster.
This time it is Tyrann Mathieu—yes, the "Honey Badger," the same guy who made big play after big play and was a Heisman Trophy finalist. He has been dismissed from the team for violation of team policy.
While this of course is going to hurt the Tigers' defense, the loss will also benefit other teams throughout college football.
With the season set to begin in just a couple of weeks, here are 10 teams that are smiling after hearing the news.
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With the news being so fresh, I'm sure Mathieu has no idea what he is going to do next with his football career. But with the season set to begin in a couple of weeks, he would be wise to transfer to a lower-division school so he can contribute immediately.
Where would he end up is anyone's guess, but he would instantly become the best player on the team and help fill seats for that lucky program.
Texas A&M may be the new kids on the block, but don't think head coach Kevin Sumlin is going to let that intimidate his ballclub. The Aggies return 14 starters, including eight from an offense that averaged 39 points per contest.
These two schools have great history playing each other, and it won't take much time for the rivalry to heat up once again with Texas A&M joining the SEC West. The Aggies have won six of the last eight meetings, and you can bet that they will feel confident when the Tigers have to travel to College Station.
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South Carolina has not had much success with its football program over the years, and certainly have not been much of a threat to the LSU Tigers. In fact, the Gamecocks' last win over the Tigers was in 1994, and they are 2-16-1 against LSU all-time.
The Gamecocks' luck seems to be turning the corner, as Steve Spurrier is beginning to find his coaching touch once again and South Carolina returns 13 starters from a team that won 11 games. Traveling to Baton Rouge is one of the most difficult things in college football, but it just got a little easier without the Honey Badger present.
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Florida had no chance against the Tigers last season, and was one of the two teams against which Mathieu had an interception. The Gators still aren't much of an offensive team heading into this season, but they do return 10 starters from a defense that was ranked No. 8 in the country.
And although last year’s matchup wasn't close (30-point victory for LSU), six of the last eight meetings between these two teams have been decided by two touchdowns or fewer. Will Mathieu not being there make the difference in this year’s meeting?
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Auburn still seems to be a year away from competing for an SEC title, but returning 16 starters will make them better than the 8-5 team they were a season ago. The Tigers will likely still have a hard time with LSU in this year's matchup, but not facing Mathieu sure will help its young quarterbacks.
LSU also has to travel to Jordan-Hare Stadium, a place where they have lost five of their last six meetings.
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Washington is a team that showed signs of life last season, averaging 33 points per game and competing with teams such as Nebraska and Baylor. They return 15 starters from a year ago and have a playmaker at the quarterback position in Keith Price.
Can they find a way to knock off the Tigers in Week 2 of the regular season?
I'm not saying it is going to happen, but it is an early matchup—that doesn't give Les Miles and company much time to find a replacement for Mathieu. I gave the Huskies a slight chance for an upset before this news broke. Now that Mathieu is no longer around, watch out.
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Georgia seems to be everyone's pick to win the SEC East this season, as it returns the majority of last year's squad and without question has the easiest schedule in the conference. No, the Bulldogs won't have to play the Tigers this year, but there was a good chance they would have met in the SEC Championship Game once again.
When these teams met in Atlanta last season, Mathieu racked up four tackles on defense and returned a punt for a touchdown. The Bulldogs will still have to earn their way to their first SEC title since 2005, but they will take all the help they can get right now.
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I think everyone can agree that if an SEC team is going to win this season's BCS Championship, it will be the USC Trojans. They have an offense that is capable of scoring on anyone in the country, a much underrated defensive unit, and arguably the best quarterback in college football.
Many would argue that Matt Barkley and company have yet to face a defense that is SEC-caliber. Of course they would likely have to do so if they are fortunate enough to reach the national championship, but without Mathieu, it is one fewer player for which they will have to prepare.
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LSU manhandled Arkansas in last year's meeting by a score of 41-17. The Razorbacks really had no chance in the game from the start, as the Tigers' defense simply became too much as the game continued to drag out.
But without Mathieu, things have just gotten a little easier for Tyler Wilson and company—this time, the game will take place in Fayetteville. Arkansas won't have to deal with the Honey Badger and the offense will get a healthy Knile Davis in the backfield.
Things are looking good for that sleeper team in the SEC West division.
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LSU was the only team to knock off the Alabama Crimson Tide last season, and were the only team that the Tigers lost to as well. Heading into the regular season, these are the top-two teams in the country according to the USA Today coaches' poll.
Both the Crimson Tide and the Tigers will likely battle it out for the SEC West title once again. Without a key difference-maker on the defensive side of the ball, Nick Saban's club is looking a little bit better without doing anything special to their team.