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CFB guru Steele: Inexperienced LSU could be in for rough season


College football analyst Phil Steele believes it could be a down year for the LSU Football Tigers, and he credits the team’s young roster and a very tough slate as the biggest impediments to a memorable season.

“I’m not as bullish on LSU as I normally am this year,” Steele said on WWL Radio’s Sports Talk Tuesday night. “There’s two main reasons for it. The first is the inexperience level. LSU drops all the way down to #129 on my experience chart. Just five starters back on offense and five on defense.”

“The second is that schedule,” Steele continued. “LSU has got a brutal schedule this year. They open up with Miami in Arlington, which right now in Vegas they’re a three-point dog. They have to go to Jordan-Hare Stadium and play Auburn. Remember last year, Auburn beat a couple of #1 teams at home in Alabama and Georgia. They’re a 12-point dog in that game. They have to go to the swamp and play a much-improved Florida team. They have to play Texas A&M on the road. When I talked to Coach Jimbo Fisher this year, he likes the talent he inherited. In fact, they’re one of nine teams in the country that rank in my top units at all eight position categories. Then they host Alabama and host Georgia and could very well be a dog in both of those games.

“As unbelievable as it sounds, they could be an underdog in five or six games this year. That doesn’t mean they’ll lose them all, but it’s a brutal schedule for an inexperienced team.”

Having said that, Steele thinks transfer signal-caller Joe Burrow could be a bright spot for the Bayou Bengals.

“I like Joe Burrow,” Steele said. “I think he’s a solid quarterback. I liked what I saw when he was at Ohio State. I liked what I saw in the spring games each year. He’s a coach’s son, so you’ve got to like that. His dad in fact is the defensive coordinator for Ohio University. I think he’s going to step in, win the job, and do well.”

Steele says while Burrow could stabilize the passing attack, the normally-vaunted Tiger run-game could have its issues.

“My concerns would be the running backs,” Steele said. “Losing a guy like Derrius Guice, also losing Darrel Williams, very inexperienced at the running back position. But there’s plenty of players. They rank in my top units in six of the eight categories, including the fourth-best defensive backs in the country led by Greedy Williams.

“I think it’s a good LSU team. In fact, they’re top 25 in my power poll, but they don’t make my top 25 because of that schedule.”

Steele’s predictions for this year’s football final four: Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, and Washington.

To hear the full audio of Steele’s chat with Bobby Hebert and Kristian Garic, click on the podcast link.

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