LSU Football: Where Tigers Stand in the Always-Dominant SEC Conference

Sean MerrimanCorrespondent IMarch 27, 2013

BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 17:  Les Miles, head coach of the LSU Tigers, takes the field prior to a game against the Ole Miss Rebels at Tiger Stadium on November 17, 2012 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

I've been watching college football as far back as I can remember, and I have to say, I'm really enjoying the landscape of the sport in this day and age.

But I think I know why people love watching this sport. Fans see it as the SEC vs. the rest of the pack.

The most popular question has flipped from, "Who will win this year's national championship?" to "Which SEC team will roll in this year's BCS National Championship?"

The SEC has been college football's version of the giant as of late, but in this tale, Jack hasn't been able to slay the giant in quite a long time now.

It's been seven years now since a non-SEC team has won a national title in college football. Alabama has been crowned college football's best three times over those past seven seasons, with Florida winning it twice and LSU and Auburn each taking the title once as well during that time frame.

In fact, ever since the BCS National Championship game was implemented back in 2006, an SEC school has won the game every year.

This season shouldn't be any different.

Alabama is expected to be the top-ranked team in the country heading into the 2013 college football season, and many other SEC programs should follow.

But where does LSU fit in the mix?

On offense, the Tigers look as strong as ever, returning eight starters on that side of the ball, including every skill position.

Quarterback Zach Mettenberger should be much better with a year of starting experience under his belt, and the same can be said for his explosive duo at wide receiver with Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr.

The Tigers did lose running backs Michael Ford and Spencer Ware to the NFL, but Jeremy Hill, Alfred Blue and Kenny Hilliard all return this season, which should make for an explosive backfield in Baton Rouge.

Under Les Miles' watch, LSU has been known as a defensive powerhouse program. But strangely enough, that is where the majority of the questions lie with this team heading into the 2013 campaign.

How are the Tigers going to replace the departure of all four starting defensive linemen?

Who fills in the secondary with the loss of All-American Eric Reid?

Who takes over that middle linebacker spot after Kevin Minter bolted early for the NFL draft?

There are plenty of questions surrounding this team, but with Miles in charge, this LSU group should be just fine.

Yes, the SEC will be a gauntlet again in 2013. But really, when isn't it?

That type of competition on a weekly basis is why SEC teams have been so dominant in past national championship games.

In order to be the best, you have to play against the best.

And in LSU's case, there is no doubt about that.