Statistical look at Arkansas, LSU shows Hogs with advantage almost everywhere

·1 min read

LSU has been a beast of the SEC for 20-plus seasons. But over the last two years, the Tigers have slipped. Things have become so bad on the Bayou that coach Ed Orgeron will be let go after the season.

From 2009 to 2018, the LSU defense was ranked outside the FBS top 30 just one single time. The Tigers were 31st in 2019 and they won the national championship.

Last year, LSU’s defense ranked 124th out of the 127 teams that had a season. In 2021, LSU has improved. Modestly. It’s 80th.

And while the defense isn’t the sole reason Orgeron’s exit is imminent, it’s a clear sign things aren’t what Tigers faithful want or even expect. At this point, LSU is even considering tossing its starting quarterback, Max Johnson, who has 22 touchdown passes, second in the SEC.

Arkansas’ defense ranks 40th in FBS and 27th against the pass, presumably LSU’s strength. That makes it curious why ESPN’s Football Power Index shows the Tigers with a 59% chance to win Saturday.

Part of the reason is Baton Rouge at night. Tiger Stadium is the fifth largest in the country and LSU has lost at home just once this season, even in the midst of a 4-5 record. Consider, too, LSU’s defense is coming off its best game of the season against Alabama on Saturday and things begin to make a little more sense.

Still, when it comes to numbers, Arkansas has the advantage.