Last Modified: Sunday, July 22, 2012 7:22 PM
Given the kiss of death, LSU will try to relive last year’s success story, up until the final chapter that is.
With the media pegging the Tigers as the top cats in the SEC, that means expectations are not just high, they are skyrocketing in Baton Rouge — again.
See, being favored in the SEC means you are more than a factor in the race for that non-playoff national championship proclamation.
This has almost become the SEC’s birth right.
While rarely does the picker end up getting the final pickings, they are always in the title hunt for some time.
And, when you look at LSU’s weak nonconference schedule, the Tigers should be in the hunt at least until early November if not longer.
Of course, with no playoff we will never really know who the best team in the country is in any given year, but that is for another story.
This one is about the Tigers and their position to do this year what they could not do last — finish the job.
With the BCS title game in their home state, the Tigers rolled into the championship game clearly the nation’s best. Then they were hammered by a team that used the fall as practice for its one shot at glory. Actually, it was Alabama’s second shot at LSU that did them in, but who’s counting?
Fair or unfair, the Tide exposed LSU’s only real weakness.
As a national championship slipped through their fingers, the cry from the Tiger nation was loud and clear: “If we only had a quarterback.”
It is the same cry that has been around those parts for the past few seasons. So, this fact was nothing new to those who have watched LSU play.
The Tigers have been a quarterback or two away from being a true national dynasty, but last year it was obvious.
It has gotten so bad around Baton Rouge when it comes to QBs that Les Miles even took part in a television commercial mocking the situation. He calls out Mike the Tiger for putting last year’s Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III in an LSU uniform and having him lead the Tigers in a video game.
Funny but also factual.
Enter Zach Mettenberger, Tiger savior.
Mettenberger enters the huddle this year with a lot of hype after seeing very little action last season. It leaves you to wonder how good he could be if he could not beat out Jordan Jefferson or Jarrett Lee a year ago.
The question must be raised at the very least.
Miles did say the other day that Mettenberger might have been an option in the title game if not for a hand injury that nobody, including it seems even the quarterback himself, knew much about. Mettenberger’s answer to the injury question was something like, ‘OK, I can live with that.’
Hardly a ringing endorsement of the situation Miles portrayed.
Yet, here we are a little over seven months removed from that title game debacle, and all could be forgiven if the Tigers just win ... win them all that is.
One stumble and the BCS computers are going to have trouble forgiving LSU for that weak early schedule. You just don’t get a lot of BCS points knocking off Towson University and North Texas. And with only four road games, it’s hard to play that card.
So, the Tigers find themselves all-in with Mettenberger and the rest. It is the place they want to be, but it is also the same place they were a year ago at this time when they were proclaiming the experience of a new Jefferson would be the key to any title run.
Once again, the pressure is there. This team was able to survive 13 weeks last year with a target on its back. Now, it must do that from July.
At least this time the Tigers believe they have a quarterback to count on.
Jim Gazzolo is managing sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted By: Texas Tiger On: 7/23/2012
Jarrett Lee was good up to a point. He was protected by the offensive line in the first few games. Those defenses were not on par with Alabama by a long shot. When Lee is rushed, he panics and throws off his back foot. That leads to a "lame duck" pass that is intercepted more times than not. Lee has feet of concrete and cannot handle a good pass rush. Also, Lee was a head case, and the coaches (who watch him practice almost every day) did not want to risk a 9 point lead with him. At that point, we were still within striking distance. Another interception by Lee would have sealed the game. At least, we had a shot most of the game. If we had a quality quarterback, we would have won the Championship. This year that shouldn't be a problem.
Posted By: Wild Bill Bryson On: 7/23/2012
Title: If we only had a quarterback?
There are a lot of Tiger fans out here that disagree with that statement. WE believe that we had a really good quarterback in Jarrett Lee who led the team to some really significant wins in those first games (before Jefferson was reinstated) and beat three teams in the top 5 with his abilities. Apparently the coaching staff made the decision to stick with the marginal passing abilities of Jordan Jefferson in lieu of Jarrett Lee in that final game. WE believe that was their biggest mistake in the game. They should have AT LEAST given Lee and/or Mettenberger a few series to try and spark the offense. Maybe....just maybe they have learned from that catastrophic mistake and we will see a different outcome this season. GEAUX TIGERS!!!