Massachusetts Daily Collegian

FBS Preseason Top 10 Countdown: No.1

By Greg Romagna

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With college football just a few weeks away, I have finally come to No. 1 in my Preseason Top 10 countdown. Without further ado, last year’s national title runner-up:

1. LSU Tigers

2011 Record: 13-1 (8-0 SEC)

Bowl Game: Lost to Alabama 21-0 in BCS National Title Game

Overview: 2011 looked to be LSU’s year from the opening game when they dispatched national title contender Oregon in Cowboys Stadium. The magic run continued up until the eve of the national title game against Alabama. The day of the game however, it became clear that LSU’s magic had run out. They were dominated by the Crimson Tide and had trouble putting together any offense whatsoever. New starting quarterback Zach Mettenberger hopes to be the answer to the Tigers’ lack of a vertical passing game, an aspect that was sorely lacking from the arsenals of quarterbacks Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson. The front seven will once again be formidable but the secondary will be a question mark, even more so now that star CB Tyrann Mathieu has been dismissed from the team. As is the case with most SEC schools, talent is stockpiled in Baton Rouge, so don’t be surprised if the secondary steps it up.

Offensive Player to Watch: Zach Mettenberger (Junior) – Quarterback

In Zach Mettenberger’s first collegiate season as a starter, he is being touted as the difference between winning and losing a national title; big expectations for a kid who has only completed eight passes on the major college level. That being said, Mettenberger has an extremely strong arm and if he can make a few big throws it will allow the Tigers’ run game to become even deadlier. The junior does have big game experience as he led his junior college team to the national title game in 2010. If Mettenberger harnesses even a small portion of his enormous potential, expect to see Les Miles allow him to air it out game in and game out.

MCT

Defensive Player(s) to Watch: Defensive Ends Barkevious Mingo (Junior) and Sam Montgomery (Junior)

In the SEC you can find some of the fiercest defensive lines in the country. LSU’s line is no exception, as Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery form possibly the best defensive end tandem in college football. Last year as sophomores the duo combined for 17 sacks, 95 tackles, and 18.5 tackles for loss. Mingo is the quicker of the two but Montgomery is the more complete player, as he is capable of dominating a game. Both players have been named to the Rotary Lombardi Award watch list which is given annually to the country’s best lineman. The ability of this duo to disrupt the quarterback is even more important this year as the Tigers look to replace three of four starters from last year’s starting secondary.

Key Games: October 13 vs. South Carolina, November 3 vs. Alabama, November 23 @ Arkansas

2012 Prediction: 12-0 (8-0 SEC)

Wins: North Texas, Washington, Idaho, Auburn, Towson, Florida, South Carolina, Texas A&M, Alabama, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Arkansas

Losses: None

Greg Romagna can be reached at [email protected]

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