LSU: Great Expectations

In part from success and the current talent level, as well as a coach who isn't timid to speak his mind, the LSU Tigers will be wearing a bull's-eye in 2007.

Hoover, Ala.--Since 2001 LSU has firmly entrenched itself a year in year out contender for the SEC title and occasionally the national title, so it's not as if other teams need much motivation to get up for playing the Tigers. In the offseason, head coach Les Miles referred to Alabama in a not so friendly way (to say the least) and also called out the entire Pac-10, which could work against him if, as predicted, LSU plays a certain team from the Southern part of California in a bowl game.

And now the media of the SEC have left no doubt by selecting LSU in a runaway as the SEC Champions for 2007. The bull's-eye is tattood on the chest of the Tigers as a team to beat from coast to coast this season in college football.

Miles was less-controversial at SEC Media Days.

"I think we understand what we have to go through week by week," Miles says.

If the past repeats itself, history is not a positive omen for the Bayou Bengals. Not since 1995 have the media actually correctly picked the SEC champion. Some years it hasn't even been close. Alabama was the selection in 2000, but went 3-8. Tennessee in 2005 also ended up with a losing season at 5-6.

"It's not something that can be awarded," Miles explains. "There's no ranking that makes a difference. There's no prediction that's ultimate. That just sells papers.

"I don't think our guys playing at LSU, the success they've had in a great university where there are great expectations, read the paper or play much into that. Hopefully we'll get to the back end of this thing (season) and find all those people that made the prediction about us finishing first are right."

At SEC Media Days in Hoover, Ala., LSU received 54 of the 80 votes to win the SEC Championship Game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Dec. 1. The Tigers also dominated the voting in the West, nabbing 63 of 80.

The Tigers had four selections on the first team All-SEC (OG Will Arnold, DT Glenn Dorsey, LB Ali Highsmith, CB Chevis Jackson) and four on the second team (WR Early Doucet, DE Tyson Jackson, LB Darry Beckwith and CB Jonathan Zenon).

It would be hard to argue that any team in the SEC this season has more talent than the Tigers, and the schedule is also in their favor. The road games are against Mississippi State, Tulane, Kentucky, Alabama and Ole Miss.

The home games are Virginia Tech, South Carolina, Florida, Auburn and Arkansas, among other, so everything on paper is in favor of the Tigers. However, motivation can't be judged on paper.

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