LSU football: Three reasons LSU will make the College Football Playoff in 2024

Brian Kelly finished with back-to-back ten win seasons to start his tenure with LSU football. Expectations are growing in Baton Rouge and fans want a trip to the College Football Playoff now. Kelly’s program will make it happen in 2024 and here’s why.
ReliaQuest Bowl - Wisconsin v LSU
ReliaQuest Bowl - Wisconsin v LSU / Mike Ehrmann/GettyImages

College football looks much different in 2024. Everything from a rabid transfer portal to significant coaching changes threatens the status quo. Nevertheless, LSU football is a program on the rise and within striking distance of a second CFP appearance this season.

I think that we will see the TIgers return to the CFP this season for these three reasons.

1. An improved LSU football defense

The defensive side of the ball prevented LSU football from winning enough games to sniff the CFP in 2023.

Recently, I published my opinion that LSU must fire Matt House. Thankfully, Brian Kelly fired the defensive coordinator and the defensive staff. He followed up with hiring Blake Baker to run the 2024 defense with an improved defensive staff.

Regarding the new LSU football defensive assistants, I think that bringing Bo Davis back to Baton Rouge to coach the defensive line is Brian Kelly's biggest staff change of the offseason. As such, the Tigers should be drastically better stymieing opposing offenses in 2024.

2. Nick Saban has retired

Nick Saban retiring means Alabama's stranglehold over college football is over.

Folks from every fanbase outside of Tuscaloosa continue to celebrate Saban's retirement and for good reasons. Alabama's dominance over the sport is over and the door is open for LSU football to regain control of the SEC West.

I also think Kelly will greatly benefit from Saban's retirement on the recruiting trail. Current and prospective Crimson Tide players have jumped from Bama's ship and into the transfer portal at an alarming rate. The uncertainty of Alabama's fortunes under new leadership should help LSU convince talented players to play ball in Death Valley.

3. The CFP has expanded to 12 teams

The CFP is expanding from four to twelve teams in 2024, a move that affords LSU football a clearer path to the national championship.

More teams in the playoff means LSU can compete without winning the SEC Championship. Looking back, the Tigers were in position to play in a 12-team playoff in Kelly first season as head coach. However, losing more than one game in the four-team format was a postseason death sentence.

Losing a couple of games will unlikely keep a program of LSU's caliber out of the new CFP format. Moreover, the Tigers have an opportunity, if seeded 5th through 8th, to host a December playoff game in Baton Rouge.

Could you imagine a home playoff game for LSU? An electric atmosphere in Death Valley is certainly more exciting than a meaningless bowl game. Nevertheless, the Tigers goal must be winning the SEC and earning a first round CFP bye as a top four seed.

Ultimately, anything less than a playoff appearance will be a massive disappointment for LSU football in 2024.

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The national championship will be played in New Orleans next season. As such, there is no better way to finish the next college football season than LSU winning another national championship inside the Super Dome in New Orleans.