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Thursday, June 27, 2013
Title criteria: LSU falls short on offense

By Gary Laney

BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU last won a national championship in the 2007 season, and it's easy to see why the Tigers have not repeated.

Offense.

There are five common statistical traits among the last seven national champions. On offense, the champions finish among the top 23 teams in scoring, the top 38 in rushing and the top 37 in passing efficiency. Also, they finish among the the nation's best in rushing defense and sacks.

LSU has handled its business on defense. But since 2008, LSU's offense has met the offensive criteria only twice in rushing (2010 and 2011) and once each in pass efficiency and scoring (both in 2011). Aside from 2011, only the 2010 offense met any of the criteria.

Zach Mettenberger
LSU will need a better, more consistent performance from quarterback Zach Mettenberger if the Tigers are to contend for another national championship.
A year ago, a sluggish offense behind first-year starting quarterback Zach Mettenberger met none of the three offensive criteria common among national champions.

In the Les Miles era, LSU has had three teams that have met all the team criteria: The 2006 team led by JaMarcus Russell, the 2007 national champion and the 2011 national runners-up. Those teams combined for a 36-5 record.

The perception for LSU is that new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron has been brought in to correct offensive shortcomings that have separated the Tigers from the game's ultimate prize.

Statistical trends show that LSU had good reason to do that.

Meeting the standard

Below are where LSU ranked nationally in five key statistical categories in the last seven seasons, all seasons where SEC teams won national championships. All national championship teams in that stretch fininished in the top 38 in rushing, the top 23 in scoring, the top 15 in rush defense, the top 37 in pass efficiency and the top 40 in sacks. Areas where LSU met that criteria are in bold:

2012: Rushing (50th), scoring (58th), rush defense (9th), pass efficiency (77th), sacks (19th)

2011: Rushing (22nd), scoring (17th), rush defense (5th), pass efficiency (24th), sacks (14th)

2010: Rushing (28th), scoring (45th), rush defense (42nd), pass efficiency (92nd), sacks (17th)

2009: Rushing (90th), scoring (76th), rush defense (46th), pass efficiency (49th), sacks (87th)

2008: Rushing (43rd), scoring (30th), rush defense (17th), pass efficiency (80th), sacks (46th)

2007: Rushing (11th), scoring (11th), rush defense (12th), pass efficiency (37th), sacks (27th)

2006: Rushing (31st), scoring (9th), rush defense (14th), pass efficiency (4th), sacks (6th)