2022 LSU SCHEDULE PREDICTIONS

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by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN

@LonnPhillips


When making these predictions, I peered into the future ahead through an objective lens, taking into account as many factors as possible, including LSU's biggest deficiencies compared against the strengths of their opponents and vice versa, absorbing the finer details of roster depth, high quality players, quarterback ability & depth, performance and leadership in the trenches, as well as which team contained the most all around playmakers.

I did not factor in anyone else's opinions, innuendo, pre-season rankings or hype, just cold blooded film study & roster analysis in what has been an on and off project (of many) for these past 2 1/2 months.

So let's begin LSU's 2022 Odyssey through a tough, blood-thirsty schedule:


9/4

Vs FLORIDA STATE

New Orleans Superdome


Starting on Sunday night inside the New Orleans Superdome, with many calling this a "trap game" for LSU, I feel the Seminoles are being a little over hyped.

There will be errors, LSU won't have everything go their way in Week 1, but Brian Kelly's squad will silence plenty of outsider doubt around college football by way of a stout first half performance.

The athleticism of LSU's defensive line should win out against FSU's O-line, plus Kayshon Boutte & Malik Nabers will have a big day on offense, Noah Cain, Josh Williams and Armoni Goodwin will control the pace of proceedings, and FSU's defense won't have enough physicality to push Denbrock's balanced offense off the field.

Watch for Jayden Daniels' legs to make the difference during critical downs or inside the red zone.

This game will also be a nice preview for the Tigers' up-tempo offense.


LSU WIN

38-17


9/10

Vs SOUTHERN


A celebratory vibe will permeate this game, the first ever battle between these neighboring Baton Rouge schools.

That festive air will supply a party unlike the city has seen for some time, however only one fanbase will really get to enjoy the LSU vs Southern game itself.

It'll be a big day of stat-padding for Brian Kelly's skill position weapons, however I sense a random injury could arrive in this game...one which could hurt Kelly's Tigers down the road.


LSU WIN

52-6


9/17

Vs MISS STATE


The first big test, LSU's SEC Opener comes at home vs Mississippi State, and though their QB Will Rogers is solid enough, LSU's defense will repeat last year's game-defining turnover creation to settle matters.

LSU's pass rush may be negated by the quick strike aerial game of Mike Leach's offense, but I expect the length of Ali Gaye, Maason Smith and BJ Ojulari to help LSU's secondary by clogging passing lanes, while the interior push from Mekhi Wingo and Jaquelin Roy could really make a one dimensional Miss State offense even more singular.

Simply put, LSU's success comes down to capitalizing on turnovers, plus their linebackers and secondary making quick stops after the catch.

Routinely getting off the field on 3rd down is the path for LSU victory, because of that fact, one way or another we will find out an awful lot about Matt House's defense vs Mississippi State.


LSU WIN

37-24


9/24

Vs NEW MEXICO


Yet another flexing of the muscles and a great opportunity for (whoever becomes) LSU's backup quarterback to grab some heavy duty snaps.

Expect plenty of freshmen to receive reps, as well as our starters growing in confidence by padding their stat columns early on in the campaign.


LSU WIN

45-13


10/1

@ AUBURN

A coin toss of a game at Jordan-Haire Stadium in what will be LSU's first road trip of the season & Brian Kelly's rivalry debut within the SEC West.

Auburn is always a tricky, crazy game full of surprises, and I believe this is a game where the Tigers will find their luck nearly running out, Bryan Harsin's squad exposing holes along the roster.

Still, Auburn don't have enough explosive playmakers to beat LSU, even at home.


LSU WIN

29-27


10/8

Vs TENNESSEE


Even with Volunteers' former 5 star WR Bru McCoy ruled eligible and returning senior QB Hendon Hooker looking to be a nice offensive tandem, both fortifying an offense which scored 45+ points in 6 of their last 9 games, I believe LSU will find good fortune at home during a topsy turvy train off the tracks 4th quarter.

Although Tennessee have improved, Josh Heupel's crew are also an opponent who's defense allowed 5.8 yards per play and placed among the SEC's worst overall defensive units last year, allowing 479 yards per game.

It will be a slug fest and an entertaining one at that, a game where LSU's multiple playmakers at receiver can really go out and make the difference.


LSU WIN

42-37


10/15

@ FLORIDA


Nothing more than a bad night at the office, with first year Gators Head Coach Billy Napier and former LSU DBs Coach Corey Raymond enjoying a win over their former dream job and alma mater / employers.

LSU's inability to secure reliable talent on special teams will prove to be a pivotal reason why the Tigers lose to Florida for the first time since 2018.


LSU LOSS

41-34


10/22

Vs OLE MISS


A return to Death Valley means a return to form against Lane Kiffin's Rebels.

This will be a straight forward victory for LSU, one where the Tigers' dominant defensive front will devour QB Jaxson Dart whole.

The Rebels won't have a good year overall and their woes will continue against an LSU squad hellbent on turning around the "shame" from losing to the Gators.

This will be a much-needed pick-up game for DBU, needing turnover creation and confidence-boosting pass break ups to find their apex.


LSU WIN

31-16


11/5

Vs ALABAMA


Yes.....as fun as it is to predict an LSU win over Alabama, inside Death Valley, and on my birthday, I just can't pull that trigger just yet.

While Alabama are reloading at DB, WR and OL, that's what they do best, and after sealing a wealth of top O-line talent in 2021 or poaching 2022 high octane freshmen prospects Aaron Anderson, Shazz Preston and superfreak Kendrick Law from Louisiana, Nick Saban will have his team aiming to avenge their embarrassing National Championship Game defeat to Georgia.

Potential consecutive Heisman-winning QB Bryce Young holds a legitimate opportunity for an even better season than 2021, but at the same time, 2022's Crimson Tide are beatable.

Kelly will be set on beating Saban's Alabama, keeping it close, staying competitive until the final stretch, when a game-sealing field goal will put the eternal rivalry's latest match-up out of reach (the Tigers losing by 9 despite a strong defensive showing).

LB Will Anderson will continue to produce unbelievable plays against LSU, haunting us for yet another season.

An absolute heat-seeking missile when penetrating the backfield, even Jayden Daniels won't be able to escape the 2022 Heisman-candidate.

This game will also be a reunion for Eli Ricks, coming back to Death Valley for what should be an intense reaction from LSU's fanbase. One of the most beloved Tigers during his two injury-plagued, yet star-studded seasons (5 INTs and 2 INT TD returns), the emotions will be strong against the Southern California native 5 star corner.

We will witness some huge performances from LSU's freshmen and sophomores (Bech, Taylor, Nabers, Welch), taking the torch and leading the way during a night where some Tiger veterans get bowled over by the occasion.


LSU LOSS

35-26


11/12

@ ARKANSAS


Despite my willingness to believe Arkansas won't enjoy nearly as good of a season as many analysts are predicting (as far as 11-1 and as low as 9-3 across the board), the Razorbacks will be a good veteran team, led by QB K.J Jefferson and elite offensive coordinator Kendal Briles (though they may experience a dose or two of trouble replacing outgoing WR Treylon Burks).

Just like any Sam Pittman team, they'll also boast a solid offensive line capable of busting up Jamar Cain's elite front, taking advantage of a tiring unit.....worn down after leading Matt House's defensive charge from the front all campaign.

After November 5th, LSU's squad will be worn down from the bloodbath vs Alabama, and now traveling to Fayetteville the week after for yet another physically intense SEC West outing, there may be significant injuries for the Tigers, especially in the trenches.

And if they aren't injured or gassed, 2021's All-SEC freshman running back Raheim Sanders could produce one of the stronger rushing performances of 2022 against LSU's defense.

Another reunion against former Tiger defenders Dwight McGlothern and Landon Jackson, as well as becoming the second battle between OL Coach Brad Davis and his mentor Sam Pittman.


LSU LOSS

31-23


11/19

Vs UAB


UAB actually lay claim to a good team, but they won't stand a chance against an angry, pissed off Tigers crew heading back to Death Valley after their first two consecutive defeats of the Brian Kelly era.

It's another huge win, possibly a game for both quarterbacks to enter the game (maybe even freshman Walker Howard receiving a few redshirt reps??)....but once again, another 50 point performance from LSU's offense.


LSU WIN

51-13


11/26

@ A&M


While so many are penciling in A&M or Arkansas as the SEC West's 2nd best team, I see a few problems for the Aggies heading into 2021.

Sure, the Aggies aren't short on star power, especially due to their highest ever rated 2022 freshman class, although how many debutants will actually make an impact on November 26th, 2022???

Former LSU commit Jake Johnson comes to mind, lining up as an unstoppable tight end target, he'll be linking with his older brother Max, LSU's 2020-2021 starter and the quarterback who last beat A&M.

Once again, a major transfer portal-induced reunion, this time between LSU's defense and their former quarterback, while many of the Tigers' freshmen grew close to Max's brother Jake.

But this is a rivalry game that'll be decided by an LSU running back, either Emery Jr, Cain, Williams or Goodwin, tearing up A&M's depleted front.

Though they signed some 5 stars in this last recruiting cycle, only one or two are ready to play whatsoever; losing their 3 top pass rushers Michael Clemmons, DeMarvin Leal and Tyree Johnson, leading tackler Aaron Hansford and current 49er safety Leon O'Neal Jr (108 tackles, 6 INTs in 4 seasons), there is a lack of steel and bite through the center of A&M's defense.....will LSU be able to take advantage?

I'm predicting a score-fest, where LSU's defensive backs allow large amounts of yards to announced starter Haynes King or Max Johnson and his receiving corps (his brother Jake will be a star in this game), yet on the other hand, LSU's running back rotation turns A&M's inexperienced front into mincemeat;

The one factor which will override everything and decide this game?

LSU's receiving corps, two Max Johnson turnovers, and the Tigers' improving special teams.

Running the ball on the ground with strength and intensity will open up Kayshon Boutte, Jack Bech, Malik Nabers etc upon etc for big time plays downfield.


LSU WIN

36-31


FINAL RECORD: 9-3


If their best playmakers can stay healthy, if their O-line can cash in on their promising rise, and if John Emery Jr can be reinstated, I believe LSU will not only rack up points and remain competitive throughout 2022, I feel the Tigers' offense are ready to enjoy a really strong campaign under offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock.

Grabbing one of the highest rated transfer portal quarterbacks, solving issues along the offensive line, packing their wide receivers group to the brim with NFL prospects, ensuring the team still possess a #1 back if Emery Jr remains ineligible (Noah Cain), this offense will put up points, they will force defenses to cover every blade of grass on the field, and I feel we will witness 1,000+ yard seasons out of WR Kayshon Boutte and whichever running back becomes the top choice (Cain or Emery Jr), backed by high-rising, high-flying seasons from Malik Nabers, Jack Bech, Kyren Lacy, veteran efficiency from Jaray Jenkins, and second year running back Armoni Goodwin.


Obviously, LSU's quarterback play will define their season; if likely starter Jayden Daniels shrinks in the big moments, Brian Kelly and co would only suffer one, maybe two defeats at most before pulling Daniels for red shirt sophomore Garrett Nussmeier.

Either way, Tiger fans should feel really good about their quarterback options, especially when 2022's #1 class QB Walker Howard is waiting behind the pair.

Yes, the offensive line will be an issue through LSU's three defeats, however OL Coach Brad Davis holds such a wide variety of depth, I believe he would mix and match until finding the right combination if problems arose.

But right now, Brad Davis' trenchmen appear settled on a 5 man starting group with 2 rotational pieces: Campbell, Shorts, Frazier, Dellinger, Bradford, Wire and Thomas.

The real concerns for me?

Obviously, special teams is a big one.

Without Cade York and Avery Atkins for the first time in 3 seasons, Brian Polian's bare bones special teams unit remains a little worrisome.

Brian Kelly & Brian Polian did as well as they could to make up for York & Atkins' NFL-bound absence, bringing in veteran Notre Dame transfer Jay Bramblett at punter, backed up by Peyton Todd, while Damian Ramos is taking the most kicks at this moment over Nathan Dibert.

Regardless of any concerns, three of those names listed above are former #1 overall punters or kickers in their own respective class. It may take time, there will be errors that cost a game, however LSU put in the work to get the right components needed to eventually become a solid unit (key man: transfer long snapper Slade Roy).

Another major spot of worry?

LSU's ability to bring players to the ground or stop elite receiving talent at corner or linebacker.

While I am confident in Matt House's ability as a coach, just as much as I really like Mike Jones Jr as their "heart & soul" or newly minted starter Greg Penn III, wily veteran Micah Baskerville's improvements over the past two seasons, intriguing sophomore transfers West Weeks and Kolbe Fields & freshman freak Harold Perkins, I have questions concerning the durability & effectiveness of this Tigers' linebackers unit.

At defensive back, I may believe in Jay Ward, Joe Foucha, Major Burns and second year former 5 star Sage Ryan, but we also witnessed LSU's cornerbacks getting routinely roasted by Cortez Hankton's receiving corps.

Colby Richardson, Mekhi Garner, Sage Ryan, Laterrance Welch and Greg Brooks Jr created turnovers, were able to move on after disappointing plays, and appeared the most stout of anyone at corner or nickel;

At the same time, during recent Fall Camp practices, Brooks Jr was burned on some big time plays by a variety of LSU wideouts, along with high potential transfer Jarrick Bernard-Converse and Ohio State's former CB Sevyn Banks only just recovering from injury lay-offs.

Does this mean DBU is in tatters?

Or is this simply an indication of just how damn good the Tigers' own receiving corps happen to be?

I'd say more of the latter; at the same time, I'm well aware this secondary will surrender huge plays through miscommunication, missed assignments and missed tackles, a by-product purely born from a lack of familiarity between teammates....something that can't be earned through mere practices; what Brian Kelly & Matt House need is a bond that can only be forged through live on-field reps.....a hard thing to achieve game to game mid-season.

I believe Matt House's defense will be an above average unit against the run, allow most of their yards through the air and rely on big plays up front, but do not dismiss Robert Steeples' ability to coach up a group of wayward young corners if the season isn't going their way.

In conclusion, LSU are being overlooked by their preseason ranking outside of the top 25.

Much of the college football world is divided on Brian Kelly's LSU, with wild negativity hurled at Kelly or his staff clouding objectivity.


I rarely hear anyone talk about the amount of talent at Brian Kelly's disposal this fall, from quarterback, wide receiver, offensive line & defensive line, this team have elite options at key spots.

Many are discounting the palpable threat of LSU's receivers or powerful defensive line rotation, two pillars that'll keep the Tigers in games, even on off nights.

There will be some head scratching moments, awe inspiring plays, 4th quarter comebacks, second half collapses and individual or collective errors, yet I'm predicting a season where LSU trends in the right direction, Brian Kelly making an enigmatic impact during his first SEC season while his coaching staff should impress more often than not, becoming targets for other teams to steal this coming off season.


AWARDS


OFFENSIVE MVPs

KAYSHON BOUTTE

JACK BECH

JAYDEN DANIELS


DEFENSIVE MVPs

BJ OJULARI

JAQUELIN ROY

JAY WARD


FRESHMEN OF THE YEAR

WILL CAMPBELL

HAROLD PERKINS


CHECK OUT OUR SEASON PREVIEW

by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN

@LonnPhillips

Copyright 2022 Uninterrupted Writings Inc

RIP TIM,

BELOVED MAN &

LSU SUPER FAN

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