Nobody should be foolish enough to ignore Alabama, Ole Miss, Texas A&M or Florida, but it No. 7 LSU (5-0, 3-0) is currently playing like the team with the best chance to represent the SEC in the College Football Playoff. Playing a transplanted road game at home in Baton Rouge, LSU pulled away from South Carolina (2-4, 0-4 SEC) to win 45-24 to remain undefeated with plenty of key games still to play.
Leonard Fournette did not rush for his weekly 200 yards, as he has done the last couple of weeks, but he did go for 158 yards and a touchdown, an 87-yard touchdown run on the second play of the second half to give LSU a 24-10 lead. That lead would grow to 31-10 before South Carolina started to chip away a bit. The damage had been done though and LSU was able to give Fournette a bit of a rest later in the half. That gave Derrius Guice a chance to shine, with 109 rushing yards and a touchdown.
LSU even got a productive afternoon from the quarterback, Brandon Harris. Harris completed 17 of 29 pass attempts for 229 yards, a new career high, and two touchdowns. Harris did not throw an interception either, showing there is potential for LSU’s passing game to get the job done as well. LSU should stick to the running game first and use the passing game as a compliment to whatever Fournette does. Then it falls on the LSU defense, which only allowed 17 points to South Carolina (Gamecocks had one special teams TD) and allowed just 12 first downs. LSU’s defense may not be quite up to the bar we have seen past LSU defensive units, but this Tigers team can still make somethings happen and that makes them as dangerous as any team in the SEC.
Between having a Heisman Trophy candidate running back, a potentially serviceable passing game and a well-rounded defense, what’s not to like about LSU? It might be the schedule.
Next week LSU hosts a rising Florida Gators squad that could be undefeated (Florida visiting Missouri tonight) and the Tigers later will make road trips to Alabama and Ole Miss. Both key SEC West road tests will be key, not to mention the regular season finale at home against Texas A&M. Consistency will be the key to LSU’s SEC and potential playoff success. Right now, LSU is playing like one fo the best teams in the conference, but can they keep it going?
South Carolina, meanwhile, is in danger of falling out of postseason bowl contention. Now at 2-4, South Carolina must win four of their final six games this season. The second half of the schedule includes games against Texas A&M, Florida and Clemson and a road game at Tennessee. South Carolina has not missed the postseason since 2007. This is also the first time Steve Spurrier has started 0-4 in SEC play in his career.