The start of the Leonard Fournette era will mark one of the greatest individual seasons in FBS history, with the highly touted freshman running back establishing himself as a legitimate Heisman candidate from his first touch in the Aug. 30 opener against Wisconsin in Houston.
It will be the kind of debut that helps Fournette set in motion goals he's already established for himself, telling Ben Glicksman of SI.com that "Heisman candidate, All-American, national title" are what he expects to accomplish with the Tigers.
From there, all eyes will be on Fournette and LSU, which, other than back-to-back games at Auburn and Florida, looks to have a schedule that can be worked with. The SEC West will have its usual three players in Alabama, Auburn and LSU, but this is the year the Bayou Bengals come out ahead in that grouping.
Brandon Jennings rights his own ship and proves to be a pretty effective quarterback, needing only to do just enough to get by thanks to Fournette. The defense, restocked like it never lost anyone to the NFL, plays harder and is more stout than in recent years.
In the end, LSU emerges from the West and knocks off either Georgia, Missouri or South Carolina en route to a slot in the Sugar Bowl as one of the College Football Playoff semifinalists.
Fournette turns out to be good, but not great. At least in his first year, he doesn't prove to be the greatest running back in college football history, which means LSU's offense still needs to be diverse. But neither Jennings nor Brandon Harris, who eventually takes over the quarterback job, is able to play well enough to keep Les Miles from throwing his hat on a regular basis.
The Mad Hatter himself has an off year, with most of his trick plays and wild gambles not paying off. This starts with a loss to Wisconsin, then, after some easy home wins, results in him trying to go for the big play too soon at Auburn and having it blow up.
When the year is all done, LSU still has eight or nine wins but is far from being a contender for anything more than the Belk Bowl.