LSU Football: Tigers Position Themselves as Best of the 1-Loss Teams

Michael Felder@InTheBleachersNational CFB Lead WriterOctober 14, 2012

BATON ROUGE, LA - OCTOBER 13:  Jeremy Hill #33 of the LSU Tigers celebrates his touchdown run against the South Carolina Gamecocks in the fourth quarter at Tiger Stadium on October 13, 2012 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. While college football is not quite so dramatic a place, in a nation full of mostly blemished teams, the Bayou Bengals rest atop the heap. In beating the third-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks, LSU has positioned itself as, without a doubt, the nation's top one-loss squad. Should it finish the season that way, Les Miles' team would almost certainly find itself playing for a national title.

On paper, the Tigers did themselves a favor in picking up the win. They stay within striking distance of Alabama and remain in control of their own destiny. For them, at least in theory, it is simple: Win and get to Atlanta. That means beating the Crimson Tide in Red Stick next month after taking care of Texas A&M on the road.

Where the actual football is concerned is where things get a bit more difficult. Johnny Football in College Station is growing into a heck of a football player. If the LSU defense is not careful, he could give them fits with both his arm and his legs.

Saturday night's win over South Carolina was a good one; freshman running back Jeremy Hill showed himself to be a monster and the LSU offensive line proved it can block the run. On defense, we saw the aggressive attacking scheme that we've grown used to, as LSU forced Connor Shaw into mistakes and capitalized on those errors.

There is still work cut out for this team if it is to run that proverbial table. The passing game was remarkably uninspiring, as it has been all season. Zach Mettenberger was just 12-of-25 for 148 yards and another interception, bringing his season total to four picks. In pass protection, the offensive line is still a liability, and on defense, big plays were allowed, keeping the Gamecocks in the game.

However, working out those issues is becoming a season-long quest for the Bayou Bengals. From where Les Miles and his team sit, it's a lot better to work on those problems with a mark in the "W" column than another "L."

When the BCS standings debut this weekend, look for LSU to be within striking distance. The Tigers' loss to a high-ranked Florida team on the road, sandwiched with their win over a high-ranked South Carolina team, will keep them ahead of other one-loss squads, and possibly above undefeated teams as well.