LSU set to kick off the season against No. 8 Miami
After a busy summer filled with drama, change and debate, the LSU football season officially begins this weekend.
On Sunday night, the Tigers will play the eighth-ranked Miami Hurricanes in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
There has been a cloud of negativity hovering over the program over the past few weeks. It has helped contribute to Miami being a favorite in Arlington.
Starting guard Ed Ingram, linebacker Tyler Taylor and wide receiver Drake Davis were all indefinitely suspended before or during fall camp, stemming from arrests.
Taylor started five games last year as a true freshman and was set to provide great depth to the linebacking corps.
Also, quarterbacks Justin McMillan and Lowell Narcisse both decided to transfer, leaving LSU with just two scholarship players under center.
One of those QBs is transfer Joe Burrow. Burrow will be the starter on Sunday night. It will be his first collegiate start.
Burrow sat behind J.T. Barrett for two years at Ohio State. He didn't see much of the field. When he did, he went 29-39 for 287 yards and two touchdowns.
It's unclear as to what to expect from the Tiger offense on Sunday night.
In addition to being led by a new quarterback, they'll have a new offensive coordinator calling the plays in Steve Ensminger.
With the suspension to Ingram, the offensive line will have to do some reshuffling.
With no Derrius Guice or Darrel Williams in the backfield, it's uncertain as to how the running game will look. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Nick Brossette and true freshman Chris Curry will most likely see all the carries.
With D.J. Chark gone, Texas Tech transfer Jonathan Giles is expected to become the go-to guy at wideout, but it's still a question mark as to which other receivers will step up.
Miami's defense was one of the most disruptive units in the country last season. Four different linemen had at least 10.5 tackles for loss, and they created 30 turnovers.
Although, they will be without four of their top six defensive linemen this season. Their best returners from the front will be Joe Jackson (6.5 sacks in 2017) and Demetrius Jackson (15.5 tackles for loss in 2017).
But other than the line, Miami returns most of the starters from last year's unit. This includes linebackers Shaquille Quarterman and Michael Pinckney, safeties Jaquan Johnson and Sheldrick Redwine and corner Michael Jackson.
LSU's defense will be pretty stacked as well.
The defensive front will be led by Rashard Lawrence, Texas Tech transfer Brandon Fehoko and pass-rusher K'Lavon Chaisson.
The linebacking corps will be spearheaded by All-American Devin White, while the secondary is led by All-American cornerback Greedy Williams and the talented safety duo of John Battle and Grant Delpit.
They'll be facing a Miami offense that struggled toward the end of the 2017 season.
In the first 10 games, they averaged 34 points per game. All were wins.
In the final three games, they averaged just 14 points per contest. All were losses.
Quarterback Malik Rosir is back. He was a little inconsistent last season. He threw for 3,120 yards, but he completed just 54 percent of his passes and was picked off 14 times.
Rosier also rushed for 468 yards and five scores.
Miami returns most of their offensive line, along with leading rusher Travis Homer. He ran for just under 1,000 yards last season.
The Hurricanes lose their top two receivers from last year in Braxton Berrios and Chris Herndon, but Ahmmon Richards is back.
Richards had his season shortened last year with a knee injury. In 2016, he was a Freshman All-American when he broke Michael Irvin's 31-year-old school record for single-season receiving yards with 934.
The last time LSU and Miami played was back in the 2005 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. LSU won that game, 40-3.