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LSU is slated to be one of the top challengers to Alabama in the SEC West, which is nothing new. The Tigers have ultimately disappointed over the last few seasons, which is why Ed Orgeron is now head coach. But this team still has some ways to go, as seen in the spring. In their four losses last season, LSU scored just 37 points and the offense could be an issue again.

Quarterback Danny Etling (59.5% completion, 11 TDs, 5 INTs) was supposed to step up and be the guy in charge, but that's still a major question. He struggled in the spring game and had to get back surgery for an ongoing issue following the scrimmage. Etling is part of what is being called an open competition with Justin McMillan, Lowell Narcisse and Lindsey Scott Jr. also fighting for the starting job. Fortunately for Etling, even with a mediocre spring, no one really stepped up and shined. This is still an offense that's going to focus heavily on the ground game between Derrius Guice (1,387 yards, 15 TDs), Darrel Williams and Nick Brossette. Guice should see another heavy workload behind a solid offensive line with the passing game in doubt. Drake Davis took over in the spring at receiver and he’s joined by D.J. Chark and Russell Gage, but there’s still an unknown for the Tigers in that aspect in Matt Canada’s first season as coordinator.

The defense lost a lot of talent, but as seen in the spring game, have the guys that can step up and help this unit stay elite. The secondary will be the strong suit, which seems to be the case every year. Kevin Toliver, Xavier Lewis and Donte Jackson lead that group with freshman Grant Delpit, while linebacker Devin White was great in the spring game. The Tigers still have some holes to fill in the front seven, but played well in the scrimmage, although some of that was due to an ineffective offense.

While this team looks to have a lot of work to do before the season begins, the Tigers still had the second-best odds to win the SEC at +550 (at 5Dimes Sportsbook), only behind Alabama. But betting on this team to do that would be a difficult thing given the quarterback situation and questions on the defensive front.

At the least, the schedule is somewhat friendly for LSU, in terms of the non-conference slate with BYU and Syracuse being the hardest tests. They open SEC at Mississippi State and face a gauntlet starting in October. The Tigers have to travel to Florida, Ole Miss, Alabama and Tennessee, with home games against Auburn and A&M being equally as difficult. It’s hard to see LSU living up to the odds, especially if Etling doesn't come through at quarterback. Unless Canada figures things out with the offense, it could be a repeat of last season.

2017 LSU Tigers Football Schedule

Sept. 2 vs. BYU (NRG Stadium, Houston)
Sept. 9 vs. Chattanooga
Sept. 16 at Mississippi State
Sept. 23 vs. Syracuse

Sept. 30 vs. Troy
Oct. 7 at Florida
Oct. 14 vs. Auburn
Oct. 21 at Ole Miss
Nov. 4 at Alabama
Nov. 11 vs. Arkansas
Nov. 18 at Tennessee
Nov. 25 vs. Texas A&M

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