The LSU Tigers are coming off a disappointing 9-3 campaign which saw them finish 1-3 after a 7-0 start. The Tigers were able to build some momentum with a 56-27 blowout win over Texas Tech in the Texas Bowl.

Still, a lot more was expected than a T-3rd in the SEC West. LSU’s perfect season came to an end on the road against rival Alabama. They suffered a big letdown the next week with a 14-31 loss at home to Arkansas. That followed with an ugly 17-38 defeat at Ole Miss.

At one point it looked like LSU was ready to move on from head coach Les Miles. An outcry by the fans persuaded the program to keep him around for at least one more year. Entering his 12th season on the job, the pressure is on Miles to get this team back on top the SEC West.

Last Season
SEC (West)
Overall
ATS Record
Over/Under
Points For
Points Against
5-3 (T-3rd)
9-3
6-6
7-4-1
32.8
24.3
2016 Schedule
DateOpponentSpread (Est.)Win Chance
9/3Wisconsin (Green Bay)
9/10Jacksonville State
9/17Mississippi State
9/24@ Auburn
10/1Missouri
10/8@ Florida
10/15Southern Miss
10/22Ole Miss
11/5Alabama
11/12@ Arkansas
11/19South Alabama
11/24@ Texas A&M
Estimated Wins: TBD

*We take the win chance by using the college football win percentage chart for each point spread.

For a second time in three years, the Tigers will open the season against Wisconsin. They last met in Houston to kickoff the 2014 campaign. LSU won that matchup 28-24, despite trailing 7-17 at the half.

This time they take on the Badgers in their back yard, as the game will be played in Green Bay. While Wisconsin isn’t as dominant as they were just a few years ago, it’s a great test to start the year.

After taking on Jacksonville State, they open SEC play at home against Mississippi State. They have have two road games at Auburn and Florida sandwiched around a home game versus Missouri.

Following a home game against Southern Miss, the schedule really picks up. The one everyone will talk about is the home game against Alabama on Nov. 5. What concerns me is the road the game after facing the Tide against Arkansas. That’s a major letdown spot regardless of the outcome against Alabama.

They also have a tough road game to finish up the season at Texas A&M. There’s a good chance they will need to win this game to win the West.

Roster Breakdown

The Tigers are loaded with 17 starters back from last year. For a team that typically loses a lot to the NFL, they only had 1 player taken in the first three rounds.

The offense will have 8 of those starters back on their side of the ball. The one everyone will be talking about is Heisman candidate Leonard Fournette. He’s coming off a sophomore season where he rushed for 1,953 yards and 22 touchdowns.

What’s impressive is Fournette did that with defenses knowing he was getting the ball. LSU only averaged 180 ypg through the air (only 13 passing touchdowns).

The key to the season will not be Fournette. It’s going to be the play of junior quarterback Brandon Harris. He’s got to be better or LSU is going to disappoint once again. Harris only completed 54% of his passes for 2,165 yards. That’s just unacceptable given all the attention defenses are paying to the running game.

Not to mention LSU has two of the best wide outs in the SEC in Travin Dural and Malachi Dupre. The key thing to keep in mind is Harris doesn’t have to be great, he just has to be better than he was in 2015.

Defensively the Tigers will be loaded, as 9 of the 11 starters from last year are back. LSU also added in Wisconsin defensive coordinator Dave Aranda. A big time higher by Miles, as Aranda’s defenses the last 3 years with the Badgers have been dominant. It also gives them an edge in the opener against Wisconsin.

Aranda will transition the Tigers into a more 3-4 look than their traditional 4-3 scheme. Switching up defenses can sometimes be a negative, but LSU has the players to fit the new style.

They will be anchored in the middle by junior nose guard Davon Godchaux. Seniors Lewis Neal and Christan LaCouture will be on opposite sides of Godchaux. It has the makings of one of the best defensive lines in the SEC.

At linebacker the Tigers lose one of their stars from last year in leading tackler Deion Jones. The good news is Kendell Beckwith turned down the NFL and is poised to dominate in 2016. LSU is also expecting big things out of sophomore outside linebacker Arden Key.

The secondary is loaded with talent and experience, as all 4 starters are back. They have two stars leading the unit in corner Tre’Davious White and safety Jamal Adams.

Future Odds
Regular Season Win Total
SEC West Odds
SEC Championship Odds
Playoff Odds
National Championship Odds
9.5
+258
+400
+310
+1000
Odds Courtesy of 5Dimes

*Odds updated live on our college football odds page

Season Predictions

Most are going to just peg Alabama as the winner of the SEC West. I wouldn’t blame them. The Crimson Tide have won or shared the title in each of the last 4 years. I’m going to go in a different direction and call for LSU to return to the top in 2016.

The Tigers have as much talent as any team in the country, it just all comes down to Harris at quarterback. I believe he’s going to make a decent jump in his second season as the full-time starter. Most importantly, LSU gets that all important game against Alabama at home.

I do have the Tigers losing on the road to Florida early in the year to end up at 7-1 in the SEC and 11-1 overall. I also have Alabama going 7-1 in the conference, so a second loss will likely doom the Tigers. It’s time for LSU to play up to their potential.

2016 Projections
SEC (West)
SEC Record
Overall Record
Win Total Prediction
1st
7-1
11-1
OVER 9.5
More College Football Predictions