LSU sees itself as an SEC title contender even after losing leading receiver Jarvis Landry to the NFL.
In a battle of two top 15 teams, the SEC’s LSU Tigers will take on the Big 10’s perennial contender Wisconsin Badgers in the first week of college football.
While the Tigers managed to rebound from a failure to win the SEC title by winning the Outback Bowl, the Badgers stumbled to a 9-4 finish and a loss in the Capital One Bowl.
Both teams will try to make a statement early as they try to take advantage of a seemingly weak top tier of opponents in their respective conferences.
Who Is Gone?
The Tigers offense was essentially purged of playmakers – WRs Odell Beckham Jr. (Giants), Jarvis Landry (Dolphins), and James Wright (Bengals) are gone, as is former starting QB Zach Metenberger (Titans). RBs Jeremy Hill (Bengals) and Alfred Blue (Texans) also flew the coop.
The Badgers did not lose anyone particularly notable in the draft, mostly mid- and late-round picks on the defense – Dezmen Southward (Falcons), Chris Borland (49ers) and Beau Allen (Eagles). At the skill positions the team lost RB James White (Patriots) and WR Jared Abbrederis (Packers).
Who Is Here?
LSU was able to make some transition from QB Zach Mettenberger last year when they started Anthony Jennings due to Mettenberger’s injury. Jennings competed with Brandon Harris for the starting job and appeared to win, but head coach Les Miles decided that both QBs will get playing time.
Wisconsin will make an interesting move by starting former safety Tanner McEvoy at QB. However, Badgers head coach Gary Andersen stopped short of naming McEvoy the starter for the entire season.
More often than not, the SEC has had the Big 10’s number – Wisconsin’s last game against the SEC was a loss to South Carolina in the Capital One Bowl while LSU’s last game against the Big 10 was a definitive win over Iowa in the Outback Bowl.