Updated: Sep 15, 2021
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by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
I will be releasing a game by game explanation of each pick in even greater detail today, too, JOIN US WITH QUESTIONS AT THE READY HERE!
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 and first game ever inside the iconic Rose Bowl.
Chip Kelly's UCLA squad will be an intriguing and potentially pesky 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 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 was not a fluke...2020 is.
KEY THREAT: QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson & RB Zach Charbonnet
SECRET WEAPON(S): UCLA's OL, returning their top 5 performers from 2020.
PREDICTION: 38-28, LSU WIN
MAX JOHNSON: 311 yards, 3 TDs
TDP: 116 yards, 22 carries and 1 TD
KAYSHON BOUTTE: 161 yards, 1 TD
BRIAN THOMAS JR: 54 yards, 1 TD
JACK BECH: 58 Yards, 1 TD
ANDRE ANTHONY: 2.5 SACKS
MICAH BASKERVILLE (11 TACKLES)
ELI RICKS: INT RET FOR TD
NAVONTEQUE STRONG: STRIP / SACK ON UCLA QB DTR
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 game week at Death Valley as Coach Ed Orgeron prepares to scheme a way to defeat his own 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....
Coach O will be hoping to ground his son's dual threat capabilities, taking the car keys back for one more Saturday night.
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.
KEY THREAT: Cody Orgeron at QB is a dynamic dual threat QB who could give LSU's defense some serious issues. Remember, this is a defensive unit who were exposed by some solid running QBs, namely John Rhys Plumlee from Ole Miss in 2019, or Auburn's Bo Nix & even Arkansas' Feleipe Franks during 2020.
SECRET WEAPON(S): Cody himself is a great player & will have a hell of a game against his father's team, I really do believe that he'll pull out all the stops, but one man can't win a football game.
PREDICTION: 45-17 LSU WIN
MAX JOHNSON: 304 Yards, 3 TDs; 1 rushing TD 56 Yards Rushing
TDP: 92 Yards, 2 TDs
KAYSHON BOUTTE: 113 Yards, 2 TDs
SAIVION JONES (1.5)
MIKE JONES JR (13)
CODY ORGERON (150 RUSHING & 140 PASSING)
9/18 CENTRAL MICHIGAN
Jim McElwain's program 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 Central Michigan...expect extreme velocity from LSU's defense in this game as they get geared up for a nice 2021 rebound.
KEY THREAT: Offensive Tackle Bernhard Raimann is an absolute beast (he'll play in the NFL, too) that could really limit LSU's pass rushing off his edge....although the Tigers should have success from the other flank.
SECRET WEAPON(S): If he can overcome an appendix surgery in time to make the game, McElwain's gritty, detail-driven play-calling could run the show and keep Daronte Jones' defense on their toes...and there's no better weapon to suit his play-calling than their #1 WR, Kalil Pimpleton (transfer from Virginia Tech), one of the best overall offensive threats in the MAC.
PREDICTION: 52-13 LSU WIN
MAX JOHNSON: 471 Yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT
TDP 119 Yards, 1 TD
JARAY JENKINS: 144 Yards, 2 TDs
B.J OJULARI (2.5)
JAY WARD (9)
MCELWAIN HAS A SHARK TOSSED AT HIM ALONGSIDE OTHER DECEASED CRUSTACEANS.
9/25 @ MISS ST
Will Mike Leach's mutinous squad pull off another upset of the Tigers after 2020's humiliating 44-34 defeat 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 shtick Pelini did last year (refusing to switch to some sort of zone coverage, failing to show multiple fronts, blatant non-rotation, then it'll be a shocking catastrophe for Coach O's Tigers to succumb to yet another defeat against Mississippi State.
KEY THREAT: Though he didn't earn a statistic vs LSU, WR Jaden Walley racked up 718 yards receiving last year, looking to be a premium SEC receiving threat....although he was short on the finishing part (only 3 touchdowns).
SECRET WEAPON(S): QB Will Rogers is going to make mistakes....he's going to throw picks....he's going to be out of his depth on occasion...but overall, I think this young man is a dynamic quarterbacking talent, one who has the perfect abilities to play well under Coach Mike Leach.
PREDICTION: 34-18 LSU WIN
MAX JOHNSON: 291 Yards, 1 TD, 2 INT
TDP: 186 Yards, 3 TDs
MALIK NABERS 91 Yards, 1 TD
ALI GAYE (1.5)
MAJOR BURNS (9.5)
-On Max's 2nd interception, WR Kayshon Boutte forces the Miss St CB to fumble the ball, LSU reclaiming possession. TDP would score on the next few plays, a big change in the game.
-Ali Gaye grabs his 2nd LSU interception during this battle, hauling in a batted pass from Will Rogers outside of his own 15 yard line.
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 former impresario Gus Malzahn's firing.
Though Auburn picked up former LSU quarterback TJ Finley in the transfer portal, they will still 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.
KEY THREAT: RB Tank Bigsby went for 834 Yards (5th in the SEC) while scoring 5 TDs while ranking 2nd in the SEC for kickoff return yards
SECRET WEAPON(S): Is this the year senior running back Shaun Shivers Jr can form a formidable partnership alongside Bigsby?
PREDICTION: 31-15 LSU WIN
MAX JOHNSON: 277 4 TDs
TDP: 119 Yards, 1 receiving touchdown
KAYSHON BOUTTE: 90 Yards, 1 TD
MAASON SMITH & NEIL FARRELL JR (2)
JAY WARD (11)
Daronte Jones' defense holds Auburn to five field goals and 0 touchdowns
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 Will Levis & above average 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...
KEY THREAT: RB Christopher Rodriguez Jr is about to embark upon his 4th season at Kentucky, sporting 17 touchdowns (11 in 9 games last year), 7.1 yards per carry over his career and 1,361 yards.
SECRET WEAPON(S): Behind OL Darian Kinnard & former LSU tackle Dare Rosenthal, Kentucky may be able to control the line of scrimmage for extended periods in this game.
PREDICTION: 27-21 OT LSU LOSE
MAX JOHNSON: 343 Yards, 3 TDs
COREY KINER: 66 Yards
BRIAN THOMAS JR: 149, 2 TDs
JAQUELIN ROY, ALI GAYE & ANDRE ANTHONY (1)
DAMONE CLARK (16)
This game will be a bloodbath: chippy, physical, a few injuries....can't run the ball.... everything you don't want to see if you're LSU....
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, Brian Thomas Jr, Jack Bech, Trey Palmer, Chris Hilton, Deion Smith, Jontre Kirklin or Malik Nabers???
Not to mention LSU's unbelievable running back stable, Ty Davis-Price, John Emery, Tre Bradford, 2021 stars Corey Kiner & Armoni Goodwin, plus walk on stud Josh Williams....what a group on paper....
I have faith 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:
Losing 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 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...
Still, it's always a battle with Florida...these LSU vs Florida meetings always brings out the best of the SEC & college football as a whole.
KEY THREAT: CB Kaiir Elam is a baller, posting 39 tackles, 1 TFL, 11 PDs and 2 INTs over 12 games last year; Elam grabbed 2 picks in both 2019 and 2020. At WR, Jacob Copeland will be asked to raise his game from last year's 23 catches, 435 yards and 3 scores. Although each season, Copeland improved.
SECRET WEAPON(S): QB Emory Jones' rushing abilities.
PREDICTION: 29-23 OT LSU WIN
MAX JOHNSON: 404 Yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
TDP: 135 Yards, 1 rushing TD, 1 receiving TD
TREY PALMER: 202 Yards
MAASON SMITH (1.5)
TODD HARRIS (8.5)
An unbelievable high after a week of big time lows and soul searching; Max brings the magic again vs Florida, despite struggles finishing drives.
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 defense 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), QB Matt Corral still finished 3rd in the SEC for passing 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?
KEY THREAT: Matt Corral's passing will guide this team, win or lose.
SECRET WEAPON(S): Transfer WR Jalen Knox caught 77 passes for 1,031 yards & 4 TDs during his 3 years at Missouri....he could be dynamic.
PREDICTION: 42-29 LSU WIN
MAX JOHNSON: 381 Yards, 5 TDs, 1 INT
JOHN EMERY JR: 88 Yards
JACK BECH 153 Yards, 3 TDs (2 inside RZ)
DAMONE CLARK (1.5)
MICAH BASKERVILLE (7)
LSU's defense forces 4 turnovers & buries Corral for 7 sacks.
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...
KEY THREAT: DE Will Anderson could absolutely give LT Cam Wire a lot of problems throughout the 60 minutes in Tuscaloosa this November.
SECRET WEAPON(S): The refs? Greg Sankey?
PREDICTION: 37-35 LSU WIN
MAX JOHNSON: 387 Yards 3 TDs, 1 rushing TD
TDP: 108 Yards, 1 TD
KAYSHON BOUTTE: 157 Yards, 1 TD
BRIAN THOMAS JR: 109 Yards, 1 TD
JARED SMALL & ZAVIER CARTER (1)
MICAH BASKERVILLE (12.5)
Sage Ryan with a scoop & score before halftime! Max Johnson deals to both Boutte & BTJ, but also Ty Davis-Price runs in the game-sealing TD.
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 (even if we stole his OL Coach), and it'll always be historically tough to play Arkansas.
PREDICTION: 37-13 LSU WIN
MAX JOHNSON: 302 Yards, 3 TDs
ARMONI GOODWIN: 124 Yards, 1 TD
JONTRE KIRKLIN: 99 Yards, 2 TDs
ANDRE ANTHONY (3.5)
DEREK STINGLEY JR (8)
CBs Eli Ricks & Derek Stingley Jr both pull off interceptions in this game.
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 3 or 4 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.
PREDICTION: 57-3 LSU WIN
MAX JOHNSON: 190 Yards, 3 TDs, 1 Rushing
GARRETT NUSSMEIER: 208 Yards, 2 TDs
ARMONI GOODWIN: 124 Yards, 1 TD
JONTRE KIRKLIN: 99 Yards, 2 TDs
DEION SMITH: 95 Yards, 2 TDs
CAM LEWIS (7.5)
LSU score 2 defensive touchdowns, a pick six from DE Phillip Webb (from only 15 yards out) and Derek Stingley with his first ever LSU TD by way of a scoop and score.
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 all to the NFL.
These losses also coincide with the departures of wide receiver Jhamon Ausbon and quarterback Kellen Mond.
Despite so many believing "this is the year" for Jimbo's A&M, I can't see it.
PREDICTION: 29-20 LSU WIN
MAX JOHNSON: 317 Yards, 1 TD
TDP: 229 Yards, 3 TDs
JARAY JENKINS 112 Yards
NAVONTEQUE STRONG (1)
JARED SMALL (10)
LSU immediately unveil their newly designed cups, emblazoned with 29-20's eternal score....get it? (LOL)
MAX JOHNSON FINISHES REGULAR SEASON:
3,978 PASSING YARDS & 35 TDs
REGULAR SEASON: 11-1
ADVANCE TO THE SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME VS UGA
SEC TITLE GAME PREDICTION:
34-30 UGA BEATS LSU
LSU IN THE OUTBACK BOWL VS CLEMSON:
by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
Copyright 2021 Uninterrupted Writings Inc
SHOUTOUTS: Our 2021 Tigers! LET'S GEAUX!!!