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While it isn’t all sunshine and daffodils for the Bayou Bengals, we do see things a little differently for the team. They kick off the year against UCLA and follow that up with McNeese State and Central Michigan before SEC play begins. The Tigers could find themselves 3-0 before they seek retribution against Mike Leach.
This could be a make-or-break season for head coach Ed Orgeron, who changed out his staff ahead of this season. The team has a young quarterback but they are an experienced group. The team returns most of their starters from a season ago.
However, it is time to get bold. We have five bold predictions for the LSU Tigers in 2021:
A new face steps up when called upon
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
Let's start it off blazing. Freshman quarterback Garrett Nussmeier showed he can be an absolute gunslinger in the two scrimmages during fall camp. After passing for six touchdowns and over 500 yards combined, Nuss proved that he might be more game-ready than expected. For the very first bold prediction, let's go with Nussmeier getting two starts this season and leading the Tigers to wins in both.
LSU's final record prediction
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Last season the LSU Tigers finished with an abysmal 5-5 record needing wins over Florida and Ole Miss in the final two weeks to reach that mark. Going into this year, the expectations are much higher. Head coach Ed Orgeron reshuffled the coaching staff at the top, we will finally get to see if they make the difference starting at the Rose Bowl. Record Prediction: 10-2 (2nd in the SEC West)
A clean sweep for player of the year awards
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
For the LSU Tigers to finish with the 10-2 record as predicted, they will need big plays in all three phases of the game. Sophomore wide receiver Kayshon Boutte needs to build upon how he finished 2020. If he and Max Johnson can build their chemistry, it could be a big year for both. Derek Stingley Jr needs to be the player he was as a freshman. He can impact the game in a variety of ways, especially in coverage. A big year for the former No. 1 cornerback recruit of the 2019 class could be on the way. Cade York is climbing up the list in LSU history with his ability to make kicks. The Tigers feel comfortable relying on his leg to get them points in tricky situations. York could be a big-time scorer for this team in 2021. SEC Offensive Player of the Year: Kayshon Boutte SEC Defensive Player of the Year: Derek Stingley Jr SEC Special Teams Player of the Year: Cade York
A future SEC battle to take place in the New Years Six
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Last year the LSU Tigers were expecting to host the Texas Longhorns in Death Valley for the first time since 1953. That season LSU won 20-7 against the No. 11 ranked Texas team. They tied the No. 5 Alabama Crimson Tide the next week before the wheels eventually came off. The Tigers never got their 2020 matchup due to the pandemic-shortened season. Not only do we predict the 10-2 season, Texas will finish second in the Big 12 setting up the battle with the Tigers in Louisiana. Bowl Prediction: LSU vs Texas in the All-State Sugar Bowl
LSU takes home SEC coaching honors
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The Tigers knew they needed to change it up on offense and Steve Ensminger moved to an analyst role with LSU. Head coach Ed Orgeron knew he wanted to bring back the Joe Brady offense, so he snagged two assistants from Brady in Carolina. The new passing game coordinator DJ Mangas and offensive coordinator Jake Peetz are expected to bring back the high-power offense. Broyles Award Prediction: Jake Peetz takes the award just as Brady did in 2019