BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU had to deal with three ranked teams from outside the SEC West -- TCU, Georgia and Florida -- during the first seven weeks of the season and suffered a loss to the Bulldogs.
But aside from a non-conference breather against Furman in two weeks, the rest of the season is all about the SEC West.
If LSU runs the table -- no easy feat with Ole Miss, Alabama, Texas A&M and Arkansas awaiting -- it will win the West and head to Atlanta for the conference title game.
A young defense has gone through growing pains, but appears much improved, and if the Tigers win at Ole Miss on Saturday, they'll head to Tuscaloosa to face No. 1 Alabama on Nov. 9 with their SEC title hopes still in their own hands.
"This is what you come to the SEC for," LSU cornerback Jalen Mills said, "this stretch run that we're going on right now. You prepare for this through the offseason and the summertime so we should be ready."
LSU is coming off its best defensive performance of the season in a 17-6 victory against Florida last week. Given the way the Tigers have been performing offensively, they shouldn't need much more than solid if unspectacular defense to have a chance to run the table.
"The games before, it was just mistakes," linebacker Kwon Alexander said. "We had to fix those mistakes to be one of the great teams."
The Tigers have allowed just three field goals in their last six quarters.
"Defensively all we've got to do is do what we did this past week the rest of the season and I don't think anybody can beat us," defensive tackle Anthony Johnson said.
LSU saw two school-record offensive streaks end against the SEC's No. 1 defense last week - six straight games with 35 or more points and six straight games with 400 or more yards.
In addition to facing the Gators' stingy defense, another factor was that LSU chose to lean on its running game to control a very physical game.
"The offense in my opinion did exactly what it needed to do: Controlled the game, moved the football, was smart with the ball and finished the game," Tigers coach Les Miles said. "In the back end of the game, the opponent trying to get the ball back, felt like the right strategy was employed, and we just kept it kind of how it's supposed to go."