The Hype Train

Kyle Riviere

The LSU football season officially begins this week as they host Georgia Southern, and fans are anxious to see just how this team looks with so much hype and anticipation looming over the program. 

The Tigers come into the season on virtually everyone's top 10. Some have even picked LSU as a dark horse playoff selection.

It's the most expectations the program has faced since the 2016 season, when they began the year ranked fifth. Of course, we all know how that went.

They were upset by an unranked Wisconsin team in week one, and went on to limp to a 2-2 start, sparking the firing of Les Miles.

So, the question is: Will LSU falter again under the heavy aspirations, or will they live up to their potential in 2019?

I believe they have a better chance to succeed than they did in 2016, and it's because of two guys named Joe.

Three years ago, as amazingly talented as LSU was, they were stuck with Brandon Harris at quarterback and the stubborn, unimaginative minds of Les Miles and Cam Cameron running the offense.

That's not the case this season.

They have a senior quarterback in Joe Burrow that I believe has the potential to have a huge year. He now has a season as an SEC starter under his belt.

And remember, Burrow didn't get to campus until June of last year. He didn't have a lot of time to mesh with his receivers. He didn't have a lot of time to get to know a brand new offense. 

He has that luxury now.

Burrow ended last season with a hot hand. In LSU's last four games, he completed 67 percent of his passes for 292 yards per contest. He also threw 10 touchdowns to just one interception.

With that year of experience and with a veteran, ultra-talented receiving corps returning, I think Burrow could have the type of season that Zach Mettenberger had back in 2013.

I am also confident in this year's team because of the new passing-game coordinator Joe Brady. With Brady's hire, I believe LSU is serious this time when they say they're going to open up the offense.

Brady was groomed by Sean Payton. He's coached Drew Brees. He knows a little something about moving the football downfield. 

From what we've been told, under Brady, LSU will run plenty of spread, they will run tempo, they will have receivers running short, precise routes, they're going do a lot of run-pass-option, they're finally going to throw to the tight ends and they're going to pass the ball to receivers out of the backfield.

With the defense being as strong as they are every season, LSU can win a lot of SEC games if Burrow and this Joe Brady offense can score 28 points or more.

My only concern coming into the season is the offensive line. They return virtually everyone from last year, but last season's offensive line struggled mightily.

To be fair, they did have to constantly shuffle guys around due to injuries, but the pass-protection issues were there no matter who they plugged in at tackle.

I think they'll be just fine run blocking, but I worry about them protecting Burrow. If they can't keep him upright and give him the time he needs to find open receivers, we could see the same old struggling Tiger offense.

And of course, LSU has got to stay healthy.

Injuries to the offensive line could be devastating. Also, with Kelvin Joseph transferring, the cornerback position is thinner than they'd like. They really need Kristian Fulton, Derek Stingley, Jr. and Kary Vincent to stay on the field.

They need K'Lavon Chaisson to stay healthy as well. They struggled generating a pass rush all of last season after he tore his ACL.

The schedule is brutal once again. They play five teams ranked in the AP Preseason Top 20. Fortunately, three of those games will be at home.

With this much talent coming back, the Tigers have to win 10 games during the regular season. Another 9-3 year would be a disappointment.