Certain Saturdays in the SEC reveal much, and there is one such Saturday upcoming in Gainesville, Florida.
LSU, the most disappointing 5-0 team in the country (if there is such a thing), will get a most accurate temperature on its 2012 season in the Swamp against the 11th-ranked Florida Gators.
Those LSU supporters thinking they would see a carryover from a spectacular 2011 regular season have instead witnessed what appears to be a hangover from the shutout loss at the hands of Alabama in the BCS championship game.
To be fair, the Tigers have been hit hard by injuries and the dismissal of cornerback/kick returner Tyrann Mathieu.
During LSU's 12-10 win at Auburn, the Tigers were in need of one of those "Mathieu moments," the kind where he forced a fumble or returned a punt for a score.
Meanwhile, the Tigers lost one of their best offensive lineman (Chris Faulk) and perhaps their most complete tailback (Alfred Blue) to season-ending injuries.
Even a program as talented and deep as LSU's will feel the sting of such losses.
It is clear that LSU has yet to replace the deep speed of wide receiver Rueben Randle. Odell Beckham Jr. registered his first 100-yard (128) receiving game against Towson. But no LSU receiver has yet been able to fill the void created by Randle.
Randle's final season at LSU was outstanding. He had 98 receiving yards at Mississippi State, 127 and a touchdown against Florida, 86 and a touchdown at Tennessee, 106 receiving yards and two touchdown receptions against Auburn, and 134 receiving yards against Arkansas.
But, in the BCS title game, Randle was held to 3 catches for 13 yards. In that game, Alabama was determined to take away the option and the running game, and force quarterback Jordan Jefferson to make enough throws to win.
If LSU is going to be a factor in this year's championship chase, the Tigers will have to be more productive in the passing game. So, on Monday it was curious to hear Les Miles say this about the play of quarterback Zach Mettenberger.
"I think our quarterback, by and large is very good. But, I think by trying to extend a play, that puts him in jeopardy. On Sundays you see it, quarterback runs out and makes a big play. Frankly that is not what were are looking for, from him," Miles said.
What Mettenberger must be allowed to do is look downfield for big play opportunities. If not, an LSU offensive line that is clearly adjusting to the loss of Faulk will be under severe pressure. Running lanes will shrink, and so will LSU's chances of victory.
In last season's BCS championship game, Alabama's offensive coaching staff made a decision. In the biggest game of the season, they would put the game in the hands of quarterback A.J. McCarron.
McCarron responded with a giant performance.
The last LSU quarterback to benefit from that level of trust from Les Miles was Matt Flynn in 2007.
The results, back then, were pretty good.
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