When the LSU Tigers fell on the road against Auburn after a last-second touchdown was called back, the team that had been ranked in the top-five prior to the start of the season appeared to have fallen completely out of contention. The team then fired their head coach, and their star running back had reaggravated a nagging ankle issue.
Article continues below ...
Want your voice heard? Join the Death Valley Voice team!
We knew this team was still very talented, but all indications were that it would be at least another year before we saw a real, successful LSU football team. Coach Ed Orgeron then led the Tigers to a 42-7 conference win over Missouri, and we all quickly hopped back on this team’s bandwagon.
This weekend’s game against the Florida Gators was going to be a real measuring stick game for LSU, but since they did not play, we can continue to hope and dream until another team takes that away from us. With that, I want to take the dreaming to a whole different level. I want to make the argument for why the 2016 LSU Tigers will reach the College Football Playoff.
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
When this season started, the Tigers were a top-five team in college football and one of the betting favorites to win the SEC and make it to the playoffs. Several things have led to the derailment of the team and its expectations since then, as “new-and-improved” Brandon Harris was horrendous and many Les Miles’ errors cost him his job. But, the voters put this team in the top-five, and they did so for a reason.
From top-to-bottom, the Tigers are one of the most talented teams in all of college football. They have multiple guys on defense who will be starting in the NFL pretty soon, and the offense is good-to-great almost everywhere except quarterback. This is one of the most complete squads in the nation, and that’s why they entered 2016 with such high expectations.
While they sit at a rather unimpressive 3-2, you could argue that the team is better at this point than they were at the start of the season. Danny Etling has emerged as a good quarterback, a position LSU simply needs average play from, and Derrius Guice has shown he is a premier talent at the running back position. The defense is playing out of their minds, and the offense is finally putting it together.
Now, after losing two games and firing their head coach, LSU has A LOT of ground to make up down the stretch. But, if you look at the remainder of the team’s schedule, the Tigers have the opportunity to win some of these games and put themselves right back in the thick of things.
Looking at their remaining opponents, LSU will notably face off against:
#12 Ole Miss
#6 Texas A&M
Now, the Florida game has not been officially rescheduled, but for the sake of this argument, we are going to assume that they eventually play it. With that, LSU would face off against five ranked teams in their last seven games. IF the Tigers could run the table and beat those teams, they should easily move their way up in the polls, and they would be a lock for the conference championship game.
You could make the argument that “that’s a big if,” but I really don’t think it is. Just about everyone in the media believed that this team was one of the best in the country to start the year, and poor coaching and waiting too long to move on from Brandon Harris are really the only two things putting LSU at 3-2. This team is still among the top in the nation in terms of talent, whether they have had a couple of slip-ups or not.
It is certainly a long shot. But the LSU Tigers are by no means out of this thing just yet. The remaining games on their schedule give the team an opportunity to move up in the conference standings and skyrocket in the national polls, and if they can get the job done and play to their talent, this team could easily be in the National Championship picture.