Updated: Aug 23, 2021
JOIN LSU ODYSSEY FOR THE MOST UP TO DATE & ACCURATE CONTENT. BREAKING NEWS FOR SUBSCRIBERS, ASKING INTERVIEW QUESTIONS & MORE (Odyssey Friend Mike Watson asked Kayshon Boutte & B.J Ojulari some questions, among others).
by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
9/4 @ UCLA
Traveling to the Rose Bowl, with the purple, gold and white shimmering in the California sunset, this will be LSU's first trip to California in nearly 80 years (according to Jordy Culotta).
Chip Kelly's squad will be a tough test for LSU straight out of the gates...after 2020, I'm not giving the Tigers a single easy win until we prove ourselves capable of finishing off easier opponents.
That means not giving up 623 passing yards in Week 1...or surrendering 40+ points to Miss State at home to a team who won 2 games all year...that means beating UCLA out of the gates by making a statement to the college football world:
2019 wasn't the fluke...2020 was.
It's incredibly early to predict these games, still LSU should win this by 8-10 points in fine fashion amidst the Rose Bowl's starburst California sunset.
Taking on his son Cody Orgeron, the starting quarterback for McNeese State, Week 2 will be one of the most intriguing games on the schedule due to this bizarre, once in a lifetime opportunity where father faces son in a high profile Division I faceoff.
Any other year an LSU v McNeese game looks like just another gimme warmup for the Tigers....however this season, it'll be a very different discussion heading into gameweek at Death Valley vs Orgeron's son.
Coach Orgeron will have to gameplan against his own son's weaknesses, orchestrating a vicious enough pass rush from his D-Line to conquer his namesake....
It'll be a very moving game in Baton Rouge that Saturday between opposing father and son & an LSU classic never to be forgotten.
Don't forget the tissues.
9/18 CENTRAL MICHIGAN
Jim McElwain's program just grabbed transfer QB Jacob Sirmon, who has some interesting potential. Could this be a Costello 2020 sequel coming this fall?
A transfer QB gutting LSU through the air with an offensive journeyman coach?
Beware of McElwain's offensive nous, but still...this is Daronte Jones' bloodhound 2021 unit taking on his Central Michigan unit...expect extreme velocity from LSU's defense in this game as they get geared up for a nice 2021 rebound.
9/25 @ MISS ST
Will Mike Leach's mutinous squad pull off another upset of the Tigers after 2020's 44-34 win behind K.J Costello's record-breaking 623 yards?
Will Leach's Air Raid offense be able to surgically destroy Daronte Jones' pass defense?
Well, let's put it this way...if Jones falls for the same schtick Pelini did last year (refusing to switch to some sort of zone coverage, failing to show multiple fronts or removing injured Tigers like Jay Ward), then it'll be a shocking catastrophe for Coach O's Tigers to succumb to yet another defeat against Mississippi State.
A good happy birthday present for my Mom will be a Miss St beat down.
In Brian Harson's first season at Auburn, he will have little to work with in what should be a rebuilding season on offense, especially after a mass exodus from 2021 decommits and 2020 transfers in the wake of Gus Malzahn's firing.
Though Auburn picked up former LSU quarterback TJ Finley in the transfer portal, they will still likely stick with Bo Nix....remember, Bo torched us for 300 yards in the air and 78 on the ground last year (he also ran over Jacoby Stevens on his way into the end zone.....)
Regardless, I expect things to be massively different this time around.
2021 is a great chance for depraved revenge on Auburn's 48-11 beatdown against us last Halloween.
10/9 @ KENTUCKY
Kentucky could be a trap game here....
This is an opponent that worries me....
With Brad White's highly rated, opportunistic, turnover-causing defense, quarterback Beau Allen & solid Head Coach Mark Stoops, this Kentucky trip comes at a time where LSU could be injured & beaten-up following Auburn the week before or distracted by Florida the week after...
Let's stop pretending Florida's defense is a top unit...they've been awful for the last few seasons and their nadir came last year, when we also witnessed Kyle Trask pretend to be Joe Burrow and fail miserably.
There's a reason Max Johnson ripped the Gators' guts out like a Gregor Clegane Thanksgiving:
Florida's 2020 defense ranked 96th in defensive pass efficiency and 88th in yards allowed per pass attempt. So... it was no surprise two firings came in the secondary and mid-level of the field: Florida hired away Auburn's former DBs Coach Wesley McGriff and brought in Jules Montinar, who got his coaching career started as a linebackers coach at Eastern Kentucky (2008-2009) and studied the game as a GA (graduate assistant) under Nick Saban at Alabama for a couple seasons (2012-2013).
Florida will be slightly improved on defense as a scheme, barely refreshed in personnel with a few elite guys here or there, but will it be enough to stop LSU's quarterbacks throwing to Kayshon Boutte, Koy Moore, Jaray Jenkins, potentially Arik Gilbert, Trey Palmer, Chris Hilton, Deion Smith, Malik Nabers, potentially Brian Thomas and Jack Bech???
Not to mention LSU's unbelievable running back stable, Ty Davis-Price, John Emery, Tre Bradford, 2021 stars Corey Kiner & Armoni Goodwin & walk on Josh Williams....what a group....and Jake Peetz, Kevin Faulk & D.J Mangas will know exactly how to use them.
Will Florida have a chance?
Don't think so....their only route to victory over LSU in 2021 is with mountains of points and luck:
Well, with word that they're about to lose highly successful Offensive Coordinator Brian Johnson to the Philadelphia Eagles, Heisman candidate (until Eli picked him off) QB Kyle Trask, WR/TE Kyle Pitts and....sadly for LSU, Marco Wilson has declared himself a shoe-in for the 2021 NFL Draft.....so a reprise of the Shoe Incident may not be on the cards, but hey Dan Mullen is still their coach...anything is possible when a game is on the line...
LSU should exercise dominance and victory over the Gators in a clinical fashion, like a perfect mix between 2020 and 2019.
10/23 @ OLE MISS
Grabbing former Bama DB Nigel Knott in the transfer portal is a big boost for Lane Kiffin's struggling defensive unit at Oxford.
Everyone knows his offense will continue to rack up the points and yards, however if his group could get a few stops, they'd win far more games.
Against this 2021 LSU offense, I don't expect many stops, but could it be another shootout for a 3rd straight year?
Despite throwing 5+ interceptions on two occasions (5 to our Tigers and 6 vs Arkansas), Corral still finished 3rd in the SEC for pass efficiency...a crazy statistic which speaks to his ability to forget the last play.
Can LSU survive a 3rd straight shootout vs Ole Miss, or is this the year LSU's defense comes to play in Oxford, taking 2020's 5 turnovers and adding domination to the winning gumbo?
11/6 @ ALABAMA
The big one...
Alabama's new starter Bryce Young, out of the same high school as Eli Ricks & Raesjon Davis, Mater Dei in Southern California, looks to be a sultan...
Yet he's still an unproven sophomore, receiving little unquantifiable time as a freshman on the 2020 unit while games were far from close... is this a big chance for the Tigers to take down the Tide in a hangover year?
It looks like it could be LSU's time to strike, with big time junior losses QB Mac Jones, WR Jaylen Waddle, CB Patrick Surtain II, Christian Barmore and seniors like stalwart Dylan Moses and superstar wideout Devonta Smith, all heading to the NFL.
Could this be Alabama's year to finally feel the same pain LSU felt in their 2020 NFL Draft / personnel shift?
Could this be the game LSU take full control of their 2021 destiny?
The Tigers are forced to overcome Saban's Tide on the road in Tuscaloosa on our way to a title game, much like 2011 and 2019, and I'm more confident in these odd-numbered years than the even-numbered home games....contests where LSU haven't had fortune of any kind...
We'll geaux deeper into this matchup coming up, but there's still so much time and personnel decisions to be decided before then.
Sam Pittman's squad lost a bruising affair in a 27-24 loss, helped by incoming junior CB Jay Ward blocking a last second game-tying field goal to preserve the win.
Auburn transfer QB T.J Finley started and finished the game with a victory on the road when LSU last faced the Razorbacks, but it was the running of Ty Davis-Price which settled this one early.
National Championship-winning RB Ty Davis-Price flew past Barry Odom's defenders with grace as well as bruising ease, cutting runs away from the protection and creating his own alleys or running lanes with his supernatural vision, scoring a TD off 135 rushing yards from 22 carries.
It was a dog fight out there...it wasn't pretty...it wasn't easy, but 2020 LSU got the job done.
I expect an easier game for the Tigers this season, with a weaker Arkansas roster...
But Odom stayed on as the Razorbacks' DC, Pittman will always be a great coach, their offensive line play will be solid due to Big Sam's presence, and it'll always be historically tough to play Arkansas.
Hiring former Auburn head coach Terry Bowden to the same position back in December, ULA-Monroe is hell bent on turning the page on their winless 0-10 record from 2020.
ULA-Monroe's offense ranked 122nd (from 127 total teams) in scoring, putting up 16.3 points per game and were rated 124th in the nation for scoring defense, allowing a startling 42 points each outing to opponents...
Regardless if Terry Bowden goes above and beyond, earning a 5 or 6 win season in 2021 (which would be a "second coming of Saban" masterstroke), against these Tigers they'll have their hands full against Offensive Coordinator Jake Peetz's aggressive offensive efficiency.
Jimbo Fisher picked up a few big time recruits on defense for the 2021 class, headlined by DB Jardin Gilbert, however it won't be enough to stuff LSU's circus of offensive madness.
Jimbo is losing some key leaders after A&M's near CFP breakthrough, but Coach O will have experience, youth & options along both trenches, which is exactly where A&M will suffer most in 2021: losing DT Bobby Brown, center Dan McCollum, left tackle Dan Moore and RG Jared Hocker.
These losses also coincide with the departures of wide receiver Jhamon Ausbon and quarterback Kellen Mond.
Premature Projections: 10-11 wins in 2021
by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
Copyright 2021 Uninterrupted Writings Inc LLC
SHOUTOUTS: GEAUX JAZZ!!!