National media outlet explains why LSU football could ‘crash the playoff’ in 2021

Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports /

It’s been two years since LSU Football dominated college football and walked away with the 2019 national championship.

A lot has happened in those two years.

The Tigers no longer have defensive coordinator Dave Aranda and passing game coordinator Joe Brady on the sideline. Offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger is retired. And the bulk of the talent that made up LSU’s roster in 2019 is now in the NFL.

Thanks to those changes, the 2020 version of LSU was nowhere close to what we saw in 2019.

Last season, the Tigers struggled on defense. There was disharmony in the locker room and among the coaching staff. It was, to put it bluntly, a mess.

LSU head coach Ed Orgeron, however, made the right moves this offseason to get the program back on track. Coach O hired Daronte Jones to replace Bo Pelini as the Tigers’ defensive coordinator. He also brought in Jake Peetz and DJ Mangas to run a Joe Brady-style offense this season (Peetz as the offensive coordinator and Mangas as the passing game coordinator).

Orgeron focused heavily on bringing youthful energy to the coaching staff.

As a result, there are plenty of national analysts who feel like LSU is a program that’s on its way back up.

247Sports’ Chris Hummer is one of those analysts.

247Sports thinks LSU football could “crash the playoff” in 2021

247Sports’ Chris Hummer put out a list of programs this week that are ranked outside of the preseason AP Top 10 that he believes could “crash the playoff” in 2021.

From 2015 to 2018, there was a team each season that was ranked outside the preseason AP Top 10 that reached the playoff.

2015: No. 12 Clemson
2015: No. 19 Oklahoma
2016: No. 14 Washington
2017: No. 15 Georgia
2018: No. 12 Notre Dame

Hummer listed four teams from outside this year’s preseason AP Top 10 that he thinks could reach the playoff.

No. 11, Oregon, No. 12 Wisconsin, No. 15 USC, and No. 16 LSU.

Here’s what Hummer had to say about LSU and the playoff:

"“The Tigers return the nation’s top 1-2 cornerback combo in Derek Stingley and Eli Ricks, and they’ll be buoyed by a stronger group of safeties and linebackers this year. Offensively, LSU seemed to find something late last season with freshman Max Johnson inserted as the starting QB. He’ll have to take a step and the o-line must answer a few questions yet there’s no question that the Tigers will employ one of the best skill groups in the country.A schedule that includes road games at UCLA, Kentucky, Ole Miss and Alabama – in addition to hosting duties for Florida and Texas A&M – isn’t doing LSU any favors. But if this team can rebound, it’s more than talented enough to compete in the SEC West.”"

The schedule certainly isn’t easy for LSU. The game against UCLA will set the tone for the season. And the matchup against Alabama will likely determine whether or not the Tigers have a legitimate shot at reaching the playoff. LSU can’t overlook home matchups against Florida or Texas A&M, either (I think the game against the Aggies is the bigger threat).

Next. Eli Ricks makes bold claim about LSU's defense. dark

The Tigers have plenty of talent. They have the best cornerback duo in the nation. And the defensive line is going to be filthy. If quarterback Max Johnson plays like he did to close the 2020 season, there’s a legit possibility that LSU will be a playoff contender in 2021.