SEC football: Questions every championship contender needs to answer in 2020

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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NEW ORLEANS, LA – JANUARY 13: (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA – JANUARY 13: (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) /

LSU Tigers

The LSU Tigers are coming off a truly perfect season. LSU had an undefeated record, at least 26 points in every game except one, and a defense that more than did its part to protect the Tigers’ leads.

Head Coach Ed Orgeron is one of college football’s greatest stories. The man couldn’t win at Ole Miss and had a losing record as a head coach. He was just a guy LSU was stuck with for a while in 2016. Three years later, Orgeron is leading the Tigers to the pinnacle of college football.

Can LSU reload, or is 2020 a rebuilding year?

14 players from last year’s team, including Heisman Trophy Winner Joe Burrow, were drafted into the NFL. Several more entered the league as undrafted free agents. Plus, offensive coordinator Joe Brady is now the head coach of the Carolina Panthers and defensive coordinator Dave Aranda is now the head coach of the Baylor Bears.

The Tigers are replacing starters at quarterback; running back; wide receiver; tight end; four offensive line positions; five defensive front seven positions; cornerback and safety. This much loss has placed a mountain of doubt on LSU’s potential.

LSU hasn’t recruited at the hyper-elite level since 2016. The 2018 class dropped to No. 15 nationally and even though the 2018 and 2019 finished in the top five, there’s a huge gap between them and the top three classes in the 247Sports Composite rankings.

LSU isn’t out of talent, and winning is very contagious, so the Tigers are going to be competitive this year. But in the SEC West, competitive isn’t good enough, especially with a game against Texas scheduled for week two. An SEC West Championship might be asking too much out of LSU this season. A National Championship isn’t even on the table as of right now.