LSU's 2020 season can go a number of ways and we've spent the last few days projecting just one of the many outcomes. Through nine games, we've pegged the Tigers at 7-2 with losses at Florida and at home against Alabama.
The final three game stretch doesn't get any easier for LSU with a home game against South Carolina before traveling to Auburn and College Station in back-to-back weeks to finish the season. With two losses already on the season, LSU will be extremely determined to finish on the right note to keep a New Year's Six Bowl appearance alive.
South Carolina- Nov. 14, Baton Rouge, LA
The Tigers and the Gamecocks haven't squared off since 2015, with LSU winning that outing 45-24. In fact, LSU has dominated the overall series against South Carolina with an 18-2-1 record all time.
South Carolina has only won once in its last 21 meetings, which is a trend it'd like to erase in 2020. Will Muschamp is back for a fifth season with the program and returns a relatively youthful squad as the Gamecocks could very well see double digit freshmen starters in 2020.
The quarterback position remains up in the air as Ryan Hillinski returns after starting 11 games as a freshman, completing 58% of his passes for 2,357 yards, 11 touchdowns and five interceptions. Jay Urich and Luke Doty will also compete for the starting job.
“We’re going to compete to have the best guy on Day 1 – starter, to help us win football games,” Muschamp said back in the spring. “Who can be most productive for our football team? We’ll evaluate that as we move through spring, move through the summer, get into fall camp and go from there.”
On senior night, the Tigers will be extra motivated to put on a strong performance for the graduating class. A fast start in Death Valley fuels LSU to a comfortable win to close out the home part of the Tigers' schedule.
Prediction: LSU 34, South Carolina 17
Auburn- Nov. 21, Auburn, Alabama
With two road games to close the season, LSU would do wonders for its postseason bid with solid performances on the road. Just like Florida and Alabama, Auburn is always a consistent threat to knock off the Tigers and it's no different in 2020, whether home or away.
The last three meetings, all LSU wins, have been decided by a combined eight points. In recent years, this game has been an early SEC battle in September or October but with a late November kickoff, the stakes could be even higher.
Auburn returns quarterback Bo Nix, who somehow beat out Derek Stingley Jr. for SEC Freshman of the Year in 2019. Nix completed 57% of his throws as a freshman but struggled mightily against the LSU defense a year ago, completing 15-of-35 passes 157 yards.
By this late in the season, how the LSU offense has gelled will have become quite clear. A lower scoring affair has been the trend in this series in recent years and whichever team gets the ball last could be in position to earn the win.
Prediction: LSU 24, Auburn 20
Texas A&M- Nov. 28, College Station, Texas
Returning to the scene of the crime is rarely an advisable strategy but in the Tigers' case, going back to College Station will be perhaps the most anticipated road game of the season. We all know what happened the last time LSU visited Texas A&M.
In what felt like an LSU win on three separate occasions, the Aggies ultimately won in a seven overtime thriller 74-72, the highest scoring game in SEC history. Kellen Mond returns for a senior season at quarterback as the most experienced returning starter in the conference.
Mond has struggled with accuracy, posting a 58% career completion percentage but the Aggies also see leading rusher Isaiah Spiller and leading receiver Jhamon Ausbon come back as well.
LSU righted the wrong from two years ago in the 50-7 blowout win in Tiger Stadium but will still want to finish on a strong note. Racey McMath brought in two catches for 67 yards and a touchdown from Myles Brennan in this game a year ago.
Look for those two to build chemistry early in the season and carry it into the final regular season game of the year.
Prediction: LSU 37, Texas A&M 28
Following up a championship season where the program lost 20 key contributors with a 10-2 record is no easy feat. Add in the unprecedented circumstances this offseason has thrown at all of college football and there's no other way to look at this than a successful season.
This record would likely ensure a trip to a New Year's Six Bowl against a top notch program. Most teams going through the roster turnover LSU will this year would probably be staring at an 8-4 record or worse.
But despite that turnover, the Tigers return enough talent that will keep them competitive in every game they play this season.