Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel and Pete Thamel, and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde discuss LSU’s sudden collapse this season after their magical run to the title last year, and Pete asks how long the leash is on head coach Ed Orgeron.
DAN WETZEL: How bad is LSU? I mean, this could get really ugly really quick. We've talked about the perils of a ten game SEC season. There are no cushions, there are no easy wins, you are not going to be 3-1 and then start an eight game season. LSU could have a very, very poor season here if Missouri is the bar that they're losing to.
Now, I understand, that game got shifted at the last moment. There was a hurricane that hit-- you know, our thoughts are with Western Louisiana again. That could have affected some of the players mindsets-- some of the kids are from out there. You know, there's a lot of factors that go into this. But you can't let a backup QB at Missouri with no receivers torch you like that-- and they did. So is LSU on the brink here?
PETE THAMEL: Here's a question. We can talk about this for a while. LSU at Arkansas-- is Arkansas favored if that game is Saturday?
DAN WETZEL: Yeah.
PAT FORDE: Wow. Wow.
PETE THAMEL: Think about that. [INAUDIBLE]. Before the season, that's a 35 point line. Right? A 35 point line-- maybe a 28 point line. Maybe. Right now--
DAN WETZEL: If they aren't favored, I'm betting them.
Arkansas is pretty good, man!
PAT FORDE: Last year, the line for Arkansas at LSU was 42. And this year, we're talking, we might say Arkansas should be favorite. I mean, it's crazy.
DAN WETZEL: Crazy.
PAT FORDE: I mean to see the defending champion just plummet like this. Here's a couple defensive stats for you. This is how bad it is right now for Bo Pelini-- who's getting $2.3 million as their coordinator. Missouri, in games that were not against LSU, is averaging 15.5 points and 330 yards. Missouri against LSU-- 45 points, 586 yards.
Mississippi State in games not against LSU-- eight points a game, 358 yards. Mississippi State against LSU-- 44 points, 632 yards.
PETE THAMEL: I think it gives you an appreciation of, like, how difficult it is to do what Saban does every year-- to send off the eight, nine guys to the NFL and plug-and-play. And really the staff turnover-- like, Dave Aranda was probably the most underappreciated assistant on that staff. Joe Brady was a genius. He went off, and he's doing just fine with Matt Rhule in Carolina now.
But Dave Aranda-- even before he got to LSU-- remember, he was considered one of the five best coordinators in college football. So I think Aranda really managed that unit. And, again, Orgeron was always not the easiest guy in the world to work for. Now, when he started winning, he had changed, and everything went-- but I'd like to see what that facility looks like today.
DAN WETZEL: Ooh.
PETE THAMEL: Do you think that Ed Orgeron-- the guy from "60 Minutes", the guy they're writing books about. I would think it's Ed Orgeron scrambling and fighting for his job and his livelihood right now. Because remember, he was the fallback hire to Tom Herman. They had Joe Alleva, who was sort of the incompetent AD, who is kind of this bungling boob who was mocked in SEC circles, who basically they didn't trust to hire a real coach.
And all the politics, and all the nonsense, around LSU is crazy. And mind you, it's a good time to remind you that the LSU football program is tied into the basketball scandal that's unfolding right now in that they have the Our Lady of the Lake hospital guy paying off players. And as of right now, Pat-- correct me if I'm wrong-- those are under the same umbrella of an NCAA investigation.
So if you want to see, like, this brilliant, once-a-generation dominant season fall apart-- well, you have the on-field fall apart and then you have an off-field time bomb ticking, unless that gets separated, which they want it to. So I really think it's an interesting time for LSU. And for as much praise, and as much sort of prose was thrown out at, like, Ed O's mom, and all the Cajun stuff-- that's all great. He is, right now, a failing coach in the SEC. And there is, on the horizon, imminently, more failing coming.