Breaking down every LSU opponent on its new, 10-game SEC schedule – The Advocate
LSU received its entire 10-game, Southeastern Conference schedule Monday evening, the same day the Tigers began preseason camp. Below, we analyzed how every opponent enters the 2020 season.
Week 1, Sept. 26: Mississippi State
2019 record: 6-7 overall, 3-5 SEC
LSU begins the season by hosting Mississippi State and its new coach, Mike Leach. In eight seasons at Washington State, Leach used an Air Raid offensive scheme to average 32.3 points per game. Washington State led the country in passing four times. Leach will try to transform an offense that averaged 179.5 passing yards per game last year.
Week 2, Oct. 3: at Vanderbilt
2019 record: 3-9, 1-7
An unexpected rematch of LSU’s 66-38 victory over the Commodores last season, this game was added after the Southeastern Conference decided on a league-only schedule because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Vanderbilt hasn’t won more than six games since 2013. It finished in the bottom-third of the country last season in total offense and total defense.
Week 3, Oct. 10: Missouri
2019 record: 6-6, 3-5
First-year coach Eli Drinkwitz came to Missouri from Appalachian State, where he led the Mountaineers to a 12-1 record and the Sun Belt Conference championship last season. Drinkwitz created an offense that finished ninth nationally in scoring at 39.4 points per game, but he has work to do at Missouri. First and foremost: Choose a new quarterback.
Week 4, Oct. 17: at Florida
2019 record: 11-2, 6-2
Florida has improved dramatically under coach Dan Mullen by winning at least 10 games in each of his two seasons. The Gators will now try stepping into championship contention with senior Kyle Trask entrenched as the starting quarterback. They must replace three of their best players: defensive end Jonathan Greenard, linebacker David Reese II and cornerback C.J. Henderson.
Week 5, Oct. 24: South Carolina
2019 record: 4-8, 3-5
South Carolina appeared on the cusp of breaking out last season. Then the Gamecocks lost five of their final six games, failing to reach bowl eligibility. Will Muschamp now enters his fifth season at the helm. He has won one bowl game. Muschamp hired old friend Mike Bobo as offensive coordinator, but South Carolina has a lot of ground to make up in the SEC.
Week 6, Oct. 31: at Auburn
2019 record: 9-4 overall, 5-3
Coach Gus Malzahn redirected the program after a disappointing 2018 season, but Auburn lost the vaunted defensive front that carried the team and its entire starting offensive line. Pressure now shifts to sophomore quarterback Bo Nix, who completed 57.6% of his passes last season.
Week 7, Nov. 7: Open date
After six straight games to begin the season, LSU has a break before it plays Alabama. As usual, the Crimson Tide also has an open date the week before the matchup.
Week 8, Nov. 14: Alabama
2019 record: 11-2, 6-2
Alabama was held out of the College Football Playoff for the first time last season. The Crimson Tide lost some of its best players, including quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, but it signed the country’s No. 2 overall recruiting class, reloading the roster once again.
Week 9, Nov. 21: at Arkansas
2019 record: 2-10, 0-8
Sam Pittman has a lot of work to do. The former Georgia offensive line coach took his first head coaching job at Arkansas, which has not won an SEC game since Oct. 28, 2017. The Razorbacks gave up 36.8 points per game last season, making them last in the conference in scoring defense. The offense didn’t fare much better. It averaged 21.4 points per game.
Week 10, Nov. 28: at Texas A&M
2019 record: 8-5, 4-4
Is this the year Texas A&M steps into championship contention under coach Jimbo Fisher? Now in the third year of a 10-year contract, Fisher has signed two-straight top-6 recruiting classes. He has to improve an offense that finished No. 62 in scoring for Texas A&M to reach the upper echelon of college football.
Week 11, Dec. 5 – Ole Miss
2019 record: 4-8, 2-6
Much like its arch-rival, Ole Miss replaced its coach for an offensive-minded leader. Enter Lane Kiffin. The former USC, Oakland Raiders, Tennessee and FAU head coach has a proven offensive track record. Now Kiffin must energize an offense that scored 26.6 points per game last season. Ole Miss has some intriguing players, starting with sophomore quarterback John Rhys Plumlee. He was the SEC’s leading rusher last year at 113.6 yards per game.