Fresh off a national championship, LSU is going to have some proving to do in the 2020 season after losing the majority of its key pieces from last year's team.
On Wednesday, the Tigers were ranked No. 9 in USA Today's preseason top-25, ranking behind SEC rivals Georgia (No. 3), Alabama (No. 5) and Florida (No. 7). Other SEC teams to rank in the top-25 were Auburn (No. 12) and Texas A&M (No. 13) while Clemson and Ohio State took the No. 1 and No. 2 spots respectively.
"The defending national champions have lost more star power than any team in the country, including star quarterback Joe Burrow and the national assistant coach of the year in Joe Brady," USA Today writer Paul Myerberg said. "Ed Orgeron is back, along with enough talent to keep LSU on track for a New Year's Six bowl. Repeating seems like a stretch."
It's been a common theme for this LSU team all offseason as it finds itself in a much different place than a year ago when so much veteran leadership was returning to the fold, led by Burrow.
The Tigers are given 10/1 odds to repeat as national champs according to BetOnline, the fifth best odds of any team in the country.
However, with the suspension of spring practices, it does raise the question if the Tigers will fall behind with so many new faces adapting to new roles. Quarterback Myles Brennan was in his first spring as the No. 1 quarterback, three running backs were competing for time and the offensive line was completely up for grabs with the exception of the right tackle and left guard spots.
In addition, LSU is incorporating the 4-3 under new defensive coordinator Bo Pelini and has brought in new passing game coordinator Scott Linehan. Those are two pretty significant changes to last season's puzzle and now less than a month with the team, the only communication Pelini and Linehan can have with the players is via telephone.
As the number of cases of COVID-19 grow by the hour in Louisiana, it's fair to wonder just when a sense of normalcy will return. With all of this time apart, it will be vital for the Tigers to work hard and fast whenever the time comes the team is allowed to take the field.