LSU Football Comes in at No. 8 in ESPN Preseason Top-25
ESPN released its "Way-Too-Early" preseason top-25 poll on Wednesday with the defending national champs barely cracking the top-10. The Tigers were ranked No. 8 in the country by ESPN, a far cry from where LSU was just a month ago in the college football ranks.
The Tigers were ranked behind SEC powerhouses Alabama (No. 3), Georgia (No. 4) and Florida (No. 7) and ahead of Texas A&M and Auburn, who ranked No. 11 and No. 14 in the poll respectively.
It's true LSU has lost eight juniors to the 2020 NFL Draft and defensive coordinator Dave Aranda and passing game coordinator Joe Brady are no longer with the program. However, LSU has the No. 4 ranked recruiting class coming to town and Bo Pelini and Scott Linehan are two hires that have veteran experience as head coaches and coordinator positions in the NFL and college level.
With so much turnover it's at least understanding to see why ESPN thinks LSU is due for a drop off season after a 15-0 year that saw multiple SEC and NCAA records be either challenged or broken by the offense.
Here's the breakdown from senior ESPN writer Mark Schlabach:
"The paint was barely dry on LSU's dream season before a mass exodus began. A whopping nine underclassmen, including leading rusher Edwards-Helaire, top pass-catcher Jefferson and leading tackler Phillips, left early for the NFL draft. Passing game coordinator Joe Brady, who helped Burrow win the Heisman Trophy, left to become the Carolina Panthers' offensive coordinator. Baylor hired defensive coordinator Dave Aranda as its new head coach. There's no question coach Ed Orgeron faces a monumental rebuilding job, but the Tigers are hardly a one-hit wonder. Orgeron lured Youngstown State coach Bo Pelini back to LSU as defensive coordinator, and longtime NFL coach Scott Linehan will help Steve Ensminger run the offense in 2020. Myles Brennan, who attempted 40 passes in 2019, is the favorite to replace Burrow. At least he'll have Biletnikoff Award winner Ja'Marr Chase and Terrace Marshall Jr. to throw to."
Schlabach makes sure to mention that Orgeron and company are no "one hit wonders" with Pelini and Linehan on board and the return of studs like Chase, Marshall, JaCoby Stevens and Derek Stingley Jr. to help lead the Tigers into 2020.
Orgeron even said on Monday there's a lot this coaching staff still needs to learn about its players and that starts this week with the start of the team's "Fourth Quarter" program.
"It's really the foundation, the start of our fundamentals," Orgeron said Monday on Off the Bench. "It's about doing things right, about taking command under pressure. The guys got tired and did make some mistakes but I thought for the first day there was tremendous energy, tremendous coaching from our staff. Everybody's on the same page."