ESPN Insider's "20 teams that can win it all" series is previewing each of the top 20 teams in Brian Fremeau's five-year program metric, with the help of ESPN's Stats & Information group (for a full explanation and links to all of the previews as they are published, click here). This is the entry for LSU.
BATON ROUGE, La. -- When one thinks of the factors that make the LSU Tigers a national contender -- or limits the their chances -- visceral images, like a grass-chewing Les Miles playing smashmouth Big Ten offense or the Honey Badger taking what he wants, come to mind.
It adds up to a perception of a team with a conservative offense that is augmented by an opportunistic, big-play defense.
Are these perceptions born from emotional reactions to a Tyrann Mathieu big play or a one-game offensive meltdown against Alabama? Or is it what LSU is at the end of the day?
Eyes can be deceiving, but stats don't lie. So let's go to the stat sheet to see why LSU might -- or might not -- be ready to make another run at a crystal trophy this fall.