LSU head coach Les Miles has been remarkable.
Miles has won 95 games in nine seasons, which is eight more than any other SEC program in that span. LSU has gone to a bowl game and finished in the AP Top 25 in each of those years as well.
This season could be Miles' toughest. LSU enters 2014 with much uncertainty, especially on offense. But a talented class of freshmen could lead the Tigers back to Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game.
Here are five bold predictions for the Tigers this season.
LSU Wins 10 Games
LSU will finish 2014 with a final record of 10-3, making it five straight years the Tigers will have accumulated double-digit wins.
A win to start year No. 10 of the Miles era will not be easy. Saturday, LSU will face Wisconsin in the 2014 AdvoCare Texas Kickoff in Houston, Texas. The Tigers and Badgers were ranked No. 13th and 14th respectively in the preseason AP Top 25.
LSU's SEC West slate will be brutal. Alabama and Auburn are the popular picks to top the conference, but emphatic wins from Texas A&M and Ole Miss on Thursday night showed they will be in the mix. Arkansas and Mississippi State are no pushovers either, as both teams return experienced starters on both sides of the ball.
The Tigers have rough patches throughout their schedule, highlighted by back-to-back road contests against Auburn and Florida. Nevertheless, expect LSU to find a way to make it to 10 wins.
Leonard Fournette Rushes for Over 1,100 Yards
LSU running back Leonard Fournette will captivate the college football world in 2014.
Fournette is LSU's most talented running back despite never having played a college down. Seniors Terrence Magee and Kenny Hilliard will still get carries, mainly though to give the 5-star talent from New Orleans a breather.
Quarterback Brandon Harris and receivers Trey Quinn and Malachi Dupre are other true freshmen that will get their opportunity to shine. But expect Fournette, Miles' most prized recruit ever, to lead the way. He accumulates over 1,100 yards and scores eight touchdowns.
DeSean Smith Scores Five Touchdowns
LSU has not had a tight-end catch a touchdown pass in the past two seasons. Sophomore DeSean Smith will look to change that trend in 2014.
Smith's 6'5'', 242-pound frame will give defenses nightmares in the red zone. He has great hands and displayed better separation skills in his route-running this spring.
A tight end can be a young quarterback's best friend. Whether it is freshman Brandon Harris or sophomore Anthony Jennings under centre, expect them to target Smith often.
LSU's Secondary Will Be the SEC's Best
Class will be back in session for "Defensive Back University" in 2014.
Sophomore cornerbacks Tre'Davious White and Rashard Robinson will form the best duo in the conference. White and Robinson's ability to play man coverage will open up the playbook for innovative defensive coordinator John Chavis. Backups Jalen Collins and Ed Paris will also contribute.
Chavis must find the two safeties that work together the best. Jalen Mills, Corey Thompson, Rickey Jefferson and Ronald Martin all return with starting experience, but 5-star freshman Jamal Adams has created buzz at fall camp for his playmaking ability.
Mills and Dwayne Thomas will be effective blitzers when Chavis' runs his 3-2-6 "Mustang" package. The Mustang was the most effective formation for the Tigers' 2011 SEC Championship Unit.
LSU's defense will lead the conference in interceptions and passing yards allowed in the SEC.
Kwon Alexander Makes First Team All-SEC
It is time for LSU linebacker Kwon Alexander to shine.
Alexander started last season at strongside linebacker and averaged five tackles per game. He moved to weakside this offseason to replace leading tackler Lamin Barrow.
The position switch will free up Alexander to make more plays. In the spring game, he returned an interception for a touchdown.
Alexander's athleticism allows him to play both the run and pass effectively. Chavis will use this to his advantage next season when calling plays.
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