2010 record: 11-2 overall, 6-2 conference
2010 Bowl Game: 41-24 win over Texas A&M in Cotton Bowl
2010 ATS: 6-7
2010 O/U: 5-8
Returning starters: 16 total (9 on offense, 7 on defense)
Over the month of August, our team of writers will be previewing the top teams heading into an exciting 2011 campaign. The college football handicappers at Maddux Sports are also preparing and have season-long packages readily available for clients.
Let’s head south to the Bayou and take a look at Les Miles’ squad as they begin to prepare for a season opener against the Oregon Ducks at Cowboys Stadium on Sept. 3.
LSU returns nine starters, including four on the offensive line, from a unit that averaged 29.7 points and 341.3 total yards per game in 2010. The program is also excited to have Steve Kragthorpe remain on staff, as he was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
The Tigers return a pair of senior quarterbacks in Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee, who have both combined to start 36 games in their careers. Jefferson is an all-around playmaker, throwing for 1,411 yards and seven touchdowns, while also rushing for 450 yards last year.
Lee saw action in 12 of 13 games a year ago, throwing for 573 yards in 2010, while compiling 2,643 and 18 touchdowns over the course of his career.
A major hole needs to be filled in the backfield with the departure of All-SEC player Stevan Ridley, who entered the NFL. The Tigers do have some depth at the position, but three of the school’s top four rushers are sophomores, while the fourth is a redshirt freshman.
The receiving corps welcomes back two of its top three players, including junior Rueben Randle, who caught 33 passes for 544 yards in 2010. Junior Russell Shepard is also a big-time contributor, finishing with 33 receptions.
Four starters return on the offensive line, as the unit has combined for 78 starts. In total, eight players that make up the depth chart have made at least one start in their careers inside the program.
LSU always has a top-flight defense and 2010 was no different, ranking second in the conference and 11th nationally in scoring defense. The Tigers lost three key members from that unit, including All-American cornerback Patrick Peterson.
Both starting defensive ends return, led by senior Kendrick Adams, who had 27 tackles last year.
The linebacking core needs to fill the hole left behind by middle linebacker Kelvin Sheppard. Kevin Minter and Karnell Hatcher are both vying for the role of playing such an important role on the defense.
Three starters return in the secondary, as junior cornerback Morris Claiborne takes over the No. 1 spot with the departure of Peterson.
The placekicking duties will likely be handled by junior Drew Alleman, who was a former All-State kicker in high school. He has shown the coaching staff the ability to hit from 40-yards and out during the spring.
It’s anyone’s guess who will serve as the punter come September, as three players are vying for the spot.
Ron Brooks figures to play a larger role in the return game, averaging 23.1 yards a return during the 2010 season.
Against the Spread
LSU has tallied an unimpressive 19-28-4 ATS mark over the last four years. Make sure to check out the college football lines page each week for their games.
The Tigers have fared quite well in traveling to Knoxville, covering the last three meetings against Tennessee at Neyland Stadium.
It’s not out of the realm of possibility that LSU could be undefeated heading into its season finale against Arkansas, which will allow bettors to profit in their 0-4 ATS mark in the series.