LSU Will Enter 2014 Regular Season in an Unfamiliar Role
We will always pay close attention to teams like Alabama, Ohio State, and Oklahoma even if they aren't in the running for the national championship.
There was a time when we thought that the LSU Tigers were in that same category. But now, it's not so clear-cut.
With a new college football season almost upon us, the buzz surrounding Les Miles' team is much quieter than usual. All Miles did this off-season was bring in the top overall player in the 2014 recruiting class -- running back Leonard Fournette -- and continue to build an already solid defense. But yet LSU is already being labeled as a potential sleeper team heading into the regular season.
LSU? A sleeper team?
We have become so accustomed to the Tigers being the ones that continually battle Nick Saban's Alabama squad year in and year out for the SEC title.
But now, with Gus Malzahn completely changing the SEC landscape at Auburn and other SEC West teams climbing up the standings, LSU is in a fight to stay towards the top of the division.
The problem for the Tigers in 2014 will be on offense, even with a ridiculous talent like Fournette in the backfield. There are still a lot of unknowns with the quarterback position in terms of whether Anthony Jennings or Brandon Harris will get the start come fall.
It also doesn't help that LSU's top two receivers -- Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. -- have made their way to the NFL. With the Tigers' passing game likely to take a major step back next season, teams will be able to focus in on Fournette.
Defensively, the Tigers should be just fine. But will it be enough to make this team a contender?
Alabama and Auburn will once again be the class of the SEC, however, the two Mississippi schools -- Ole Miss and Mississippi State -- are set to take a big step forward.
Who knows whether or not they will be able to live up to their potential and make a run at the SEC West title, but on paper, it's not out of the realm of possibility for both of them to finish ahead of LSU in the division.
LSU? Fifth in the West?
It's hard to remember the last time that spoke of such a possibility for the Bayou Bengals. Surely it's not possible, is it?
Then again, perhaps that's all the motivation that Miles and company will need to fuel themselves into yet another spectacular season.
How do you see LSU faring in 2014? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below! For more college football talk, follow FanIQ College Football or myself on Twitter!