LSU Tigers 2021 Game-by-game predictions from Athlon Sports

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Count it down, we have just over a week remaining until the LSU Tigers kick off the 2021 season against the UCLA Bruins. This is the first time that the Tigers have faced off against the Bruins but not the first time for head coach Ed Orgeron.

In 2013 as the interim head coach of the USC Trojans, Orgeron lost that match up 35-14. This game will be a good early-season test for the Bayou Bengals to gauge exactly where they are ahead of the home opener against McNeese State on Sept. 11.

What should we expect from the Tigers this season?

Athlon Sports’ analysts Steven Lassan, Mark Ross, and Juan Jose Rodriquez each gave it a shot at predicting the Tigers’ 2021 season. Here is how they compared to our game-by-game breakdowns:

Sept. 4: at UCLA Bruins

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Game predictions for LSU vs UCLA

Series History: First-ever meeting, Orgeron 0-1 vs UCLA

Predictor

LSU Wire

Lassan

Ross

Rodriguez

Prediction

LSU

LSU

LSU

LSU

Record Tally

1-0

1-0

1-0

1-0

Sept. 11: vs McNeese State Cowboys

Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

Game predictions for LSU vs McNeese State

Series History: Won 32-10 in 2010, LSU leads 1-0

Predictor

LSU Wire

Lassan

Ross

Rodriguez

Prediction

LSU

LSU

LSU

LSU

Record Tally

2-0

2-0

2-0

2-0

Sept. 18: vs Central Michigan Chippewas

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Game predictions for LSU vs Central Michigan

Series History: First-ever meeting

Predictor

LSU Wire

Lassan

Ross

Rodriguez

Prediction

LSU

LSU

LSU

LSU

Record Tally

3-0

3-0

3-0

3-0

Sept. 25: at Mississippi State Bulldogs

Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Game predictions for LSU vs Mississippi State

Series History: Lost 44-34 in 2020, LSU leads 75-36-3

Predictor

LSU Wire

Lassan

Ross

Rodriguez

Prediction

LSU

LSU

LSU

LSU

Record Tally

4-0

4-0

4-0

4-0

Oct. 2: vs Auburn Tigers

John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Game predictions for LSU vs Auburn

Series History: Lost 48-11 in 2020, LSU leads 30-23-1

Predictor

LSU Wire

Lassan

Ross

Rodriguez

Prediction

LSU

LSU

LSU

Auburn

Record Tally

5-0

5-0

5-0

4-1

Oct. 9: at Kentucky Wildcats

Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Game predictions for LSU vs Kentucky

Series History: Won 41-3 in 2014, LSU leads 39-16-1

Predictor

LSU Wire

Lassan

Ross

Rodriguez

Prediction

LSU

LSU

LSU

LSU

Record Tally

6-0

6-0

6-0

5-1

Oct. 16: vs Florida Gators

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Game predictions for LSU vs Florida

Series History: Won 37-34 in 2020, LSU trails 33-31-3

Predictor

LSU Wire

Lassan

Ross

Rodriguez

Prediction

LSU

LSU

Florida

Florida

Record Tally

7-0

7-0

6-1

5-2

Oct. 23: at Ole Miss Rebels

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Game predictions for LSU vs Ole Miss

Series History: Won 53-48 in 2020, LSU leads 64-41-4

Predictor

LSU Wire

Lassan

Ross

Rodriguez

Prediction

Ole Miss

Ole Miss

Ole Miss

LSU

Record Tally

7-1

7-1

6-2

6-2

Nov. 6: at Alabama Crimson Tide

Gary Cosby-USA TODAY Sports

Game predictions for LSU vs Alabama

Series History: Lost 55-17, LSU trails 54-26-5

Predictor

LSU Wire

Lassan

Ross

Rodriguez

Prediction

Bama

Bama

Bama

Bama

Record Tally

7-2

7-2

6-3

6-3

Nov. 13: vs Arkansas Razorbacks

Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

Game predictions for LSU vs Arkansas

Series History: Won 27-24, LSU leads 42-22-2

Predictor

LSU Wire

Lassan

Ross

Rodriguez

Prediction

LSU

LSU

LSU

LSU

Record Tally

8-2

8-2

7-3

7-3

Nov. 20: vs Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks

John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Game predictions for LSU vs ULM

Series History: Won 31-0 in 2014, LSU leads 3-0

Predictor

LSU Wire

Lassan

Ross

Rodriguez

Prediction

LSU

LSU

LSU

LSU

Record Tally

9-2

9-2

8-3

8-3

Nov. 27: vs Texas A&M Aggies

(Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Game predictions for LSU vs Texas A&M

Series History: Lost 20-7 in 2020, LSU leads 34-22-3

Predictor

LSU Wire

Lassan

Ross

Rodriguez

Prediction

LSU

A&M

LSU

A&M

Record Tally

10-2

9-3

9-3

8-4

What Steven Lassan Says

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

While the offense wasn't exactly the main issue from last season, the team brought in Jake Peetz and DJ Mangas from the Carolina Panthers to run Joe Brady's offense. The system could put quarterback Max Johnson and wide receiver Kayshon Boutte into the upper echelon conversation in 2021.

LSU is the hardest team to figure out in the SEC for 2021. Talent certainly isn’t an issue in Baton Rouge, but the Tigers – thanks to a combination of bad assistant hires, roster question marks and injuries in spots – slumped to 5-5 after winning the national title in ’19. Coach Ed Orgeron used the offseason for a major overhaul of the staff, and the hires of Jake Peetz (offensive play-caller) and Daronte Jones (defense) seem to be a step in the right direction. But how far can this team mesh with the new assistants in one offseason? Quarterback Max Johnson and receiver Kayshon Boutte are breakout candidates, but the offensive line and rushing attack remain a concern

What Mark Ross says

(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Daronte Jones comes in as the new coordinator to replace Bo Pelini to run the defense. Under Pelini, the Tigers gave up more points per game than they have in 50+ years. That is a level of incompetence that wasn't going to be tolerated. With Jones calling the shots, expect Derek Stingley and Eli Ricks' game to rise.

LSU is another hard team to get a handle on not only because of last season's up-and-down, at times mystifying, 5-5 campaign, but also the fact that quarterback Myles Brennan is out indefinitely with an arm injury. Max Johnson showed glimpses when given the opportunity to play in 2020 but the Tigers' plan was to start Brennan. There's also the matter of what kind of defense LSU will play with a new coordinator after such a poor performance last season. Once again, talent will not be an issue for Ed Orgeron and there's no doubt the 16 returning starters haven't forgotten what happened in 2020

What Juan Jose Rodriguez says

(AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

As we pointed out previously, the Tigers defense is going to have a lot of eyes on them this season. Especially after giving up 600+ yards in the season opener a season ago. Ali Gaye, Andre Anthony, and BJ Ojulari are ready to put more pressure on opposing offenses and hopefully create more opportunities for the offense through turnovers and short fields.

Starting off the season on the road against UCLA should be a healthy barometer of whether LSU can rebound from its 5-5 season in 2020. All four of the Bruins’ losses last season came by six or fewer points, and a UCLA offense that averaged more than 35 points per game in 2020 ought to show whether or not the Tigers have patched up some of their holes defensively. While this year’s LSU team may not climb all the way back to its 2019 national championship success, it should present a return back to the Tigers’ customary spot among the SEC’s premier programs with some opportunities to make a resounding statement in the second half of the season.

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