The LSU Tigers dropped to No. 9 in the Associated Press college football poll following last week’s 14-6 loss to the Florida Gators at Gainesville. Florida climbed to No. 4, the position held by LSU before the Tigers went to Florida.
“This could make or break our season,” LSU middle linebacker Kevin Minter said before the Tigers’ dismal performance at Gainesville. Minter had 20 tackles, only one under the school record. But coming close to a school record for tackles is not an indication that a team turned in an especially good defensive effort. One player doesn’t have an opportunity for a lot of tackles when his defense is dominating the game. That obviously wasn’t the case for the Tigers at Florida.
It won’t get any easier in the next few weeks. LSU plays host to South Carolina this week, travels to Texas A&M next week and then plays host to Alabama.
But the loss at Florida didn’t make LSU’s season. Whether it broke the Tigers’ season remains to be seen. The worst is yet to come. If LSU can look this bad against Florida, you have to wonder how bad it will be when they play Alabama.
The Tigers are no better than No. 3 in the Southeastern Conference, and they may be a notch or two lower.
Zach Mettenberger may be the best LSU quarterback in the last 10 years, but he isn’t good enough to overcome the Tigers’ problems at other positions. LSU’s running game was a joke at Florida. Spencer Ware led the Tigers in rushing with 21 yards in eight carries, a whopping 2.6 yards per carry. Nobody else had more than 16 yards, and Kenny Hilliard needed a 13-yard run to get that many. Mettenberger was sacked four times. He blamed one of the foul-ups on LSU not having the right personnel in the game for the play that was sent in. But the real problem is that LSU doesn’t have the right personnel to do anything on offense, and isn’t much better on defense.
Based on the Florida debacle, LSU was easily the most overrated team in the nation in the first month of the 2012 season. Their ranking was based on what LSU did in previous years, not on anything this team has shown.
LSU still has a decent shot at an eight-win season this year. At many places, college football teams would be satisfied with that. Unfortunately, LSU isn’t one of those places.
The Tigers’ pathetic performance at Florida served notice that this isn’t one of the great LSU teams. Every team has its ups and downs, but great teams don’t turn in performances like the egg that LSU laid at Florida.
Alabama? Forget about it! If Nick Saban is able to get his team to Tiger Stadium for that one, the outcome is a foregone conclusion. If you can’t win a game at Florida, you can’t beat Alabama anywhere.