When the preseason polls re-installed LSU at the top over the summer, it was on two assumptions. One, that the Tigers would be back to their usual, ferocious selves on defense, fueled largely by the same surplus of future draft picks that ate opposing offenses alive en route to a 13-0 regular season in 2011. And two, that the offense would not be affected by the transition from senior quarterbacks Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee to untested transfer Zach Mettenberger. As it turns out, both assumptions were basically on the money: the defense remains one of the most fearsome, impenetrable units in America, and at the first sign of resistance, the offense is still prone to retreat into the same inept shell that made January's BCS Championship loss to Alabama such an unmitigated disaster.
The most frustrating part of Saturday's six-point meltdown at Florida? Not just the end of the Tigers' 18-game regular season winning streak, but the fact that it could be seen coming from miles away.