Phil Steele in his "Phil Steele"s College Football Preview" states the the Tigers will end the season ranked 17th. He goes on to state that their schedule is the hardest is the SEC West (true), and the defense is porous.
Before we get into the defense, the offense showed its true potential at the end of the year. Jordan Jefferson, Charles Scott jelled the offense around them and routed Ga. Tech in the Chick Filet Bowl. The offense should be as solid as any in the SEC West, including Alabama and Ole Miss.
The defense was lacking last year, and that's a fact. To remedy this Les Miles brought in John Chavis, the defensive coordinator from Tennessee. With 20 years of experience coaching in the SEC and the last 14 at Tennessee, he brings the experience and a hardnose approach to this years defense. In the 14 years at Tennessee, 10 of those years had his defense in the top 4 in the SEC. He has had 4 linebackers named 1st Team All Americans. Jerod Mayo, the 10th player selected in the 2008 draft was named the 2008 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. The Tigers, already loaded with talent, will definitely benefit from what Coach Chavis brings to the table. The man can coach, period! It showed in the enthusiasm and hard hitting in Spring training and in the Spring Intra-Squad Game. The defense will be improved, no doubt about it.
Even if LSU doesn't win the SEC West this year, an outside chance I do admit, for I feel Alabama still has the best all-around team in the West, they will lose no more than 3 games and one of them might not be Bama; just because of the schedule in the West, plus Florida and Georgia(who they should beat). Obviously, I'm a homer, but looking at what 16 teams could be ahead of them, I just don't see it. I figure that they will be 2nd in the West, one year away from the SEC championship, but I digress. At the end of the season, I can count possibly only 10-11 teams ranked higher and this is if all of the teams, including LSU, live up to their potential and remain relatively injury free.
17th in the Nation. HA!