Ed Orgeron’s teams are the equivalent of Bourbon Street after midnight: you never know what’s going to happen, but you’re certain it will be memorable.
This should be no different in 2019 as the LSU Tigers return … wait, am I seeing things correctly? … a STARTING QUARTERBACK in Joe Burrow. It’s been a long time since LSU returned a starting quarterback it trusts.
Fast and strong athletes are abundant at the skill positions and on defense. LSU has finished fifth, second, seventh, 15th and fifth in the 247Sports Composite recruiting rankings the last five years.
LSU still plays in the SEC West, though, and its tough schedule includes a Big 12 championship contender and an SEC East challenger.
Let’s look at some odds for the LSU Tigers in 2019:
Over/Under: 9 wins
The Tigers play two tough road games: Texas on Sept. 7 and Alabama on Nov. 9. LSU hosts its three other big games (Florida, Auburn and Texas A&M). Tigers fans will consider winning less than nine games to be a major underachievement. Which leads us to…
Ed Orgeron: +500 to be first SEC coach fired
Do you trust Orgeron? And do you trust offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger? Orgeron might be a native son, but if the Tigers don’t start competing for SEC championships, the fan base will turn on him. Look at what they did to Les Miles.
Orgeron’s odds to be the first SEC coach fired trail only Auburn’s Gus Malzahn (+100) and Arkansas’ Chad Morris (+300). Morris is in his second season with the Razorbacks. If Auburn starts well and LSU doesn’t, Orgeron could be smart money.
Hooking ’Em in Austin: LSU (-3) at Texas
This is one of college football’s best nonconference games in 2019. Texas team will enter coach Tom Herman’s third season with a lot of hype after winning 10 games, including the Sugar Bowl against Georgia. Sam Ehlinger, a Heisman Trophy dark horse, returns as the Longhorns’ quarterback. This line will move between now and Week 2, but not much. Take Texas now.
Gators on the Bayou: Florida at LSU (-2.5)
Dan Mullen’s first Florida team improved as the season progressed last year. Mullen secured 10 wins and a blowout victory over Michigan in the Peach Bowl. He made major progress on offense in spite of QB Feleipe Franks. I lean toward the home team in LSU here, but if the Tigers offense falters, I could change my opinion in favor of the Gators.
Keeping the Streak: Auburn at LSU (-7.5)
Death. Taxes. LSU beating Auburn in Baton Rouge. The orange-and-blue Tigers have not won in Tiger Stadium since 1999, including a disaster in 2017. Malzahn turned into a ghost of a coach, allowing LSU to come back from a 17-0 deficit for a 27-23 victory.
Major voodoo happens when the two Tigers get together. I’ll take LSU.
Stopping a Streak: LSU at Alabama (-17)
The Tide have dominated this rivalry since the BCS National Championship Game, winning eight straight. LSU has lost by at least 14 points during its last three trips to Tuscaloosa, and the games haven’t seemed that close. This line will move up or down based on the teams’ seasons. Stay away until the week of the game, but if you want to get in now, I lean toward LSU and the big number.
Consider taking LSU over 9 wins
LSU fans would be angry with less than 10 wins. LSU will be a heavy favorite in six games (Georgia Southern, Northwestern State, Vanderbilt, Utah State, Ole Miss, Arkansas) and probably will be home favorites in three others (Auburn, Texas A&M, and Mississippi State). Bayou magic and 11 wins is not impossible. Ed Orgeron has made bettors a lot of money against the spread vs. SEC competition. I lean toward over 9 wins, and I don’t expect LSU to go 8-4.