LSU begins and ends its new SEC schedule against its Mississippi border rivals.

The defending CFP champion Tigers begin their season against Mississippi State on Sept. 26 5 and end it Dec. 5 against Ole Miss. Both games will be played in Tiger Stadium.

LSU’s original schedule had Ole Miss supplying the opposition in the conference opener, but the Rebels’ trip to Baton Rouge was delayed 70 days in the revised 10-game conference-only schedule released by the SEC on Monday night.

The opener marks the SEC debut of new Bulldogs head coach Mike Leach, a former head coach at Texas Tech and Washington State known for high-scoring offenses, and doesn’t give first-year Tigers coordinator Bo Pelini and the revamped defense any time to ease into the season.

The opener also marks the highly-anticipated debut of junior quarterback Myles Brennan as the successor to Joe Burrow, who won the Heisman Trophy by a record margin as part of a record-shattering season in 2019.

The Rebels also feature a high-profile new head coach in former Oakland Raiders, USC, Tennessee and Florida Atlantic head coach Lane Kiffin, but his program will have nine games of experience by the time it plays LSU.

In between the games against the Mississippi schools, the Tigers will have their toughest challenges pretty well spaced out.

They don’t play Alabama on the first Saturday in November as they traditionally have, but they meet just a week later on Nov. 14 in Tiger Stadium. More important, they retained the traditional open date before playing the Crimson Tide, providing a buffer between that game and the one against the other SEC West powerhouse from Alabama (Auburn) on Halloween in Jordan-Hare Stadium.

The most challenging stretch of the season comes during the second half of October as the game against Auburn is preceded by games at Florida (Oct. 17) and against South Carolina in Tiger Stadium on Oct. 24.

The 2 late additions to the schedule from the East Division face LSU on back-to-back Saturdays immediately after the opener as the Tigers visit Vanderbilt on Oct. 3 and face Missouri on Oct. 10 in Tiger Stadium.

LSU has back-to-back road games just once the whole season and that comes with the final two road games squeezed between the game against Alabama and the one against Ole Miss. The Tigers visit Arkansas on Nov. 21 and Texas A&M on Nov. 28.

The nation-best 16-game winning streak appears to have a good chance of reaching at least 19 games before being seriously threatened.

LSU figures to be heavily favored to be 3-0 when it goes to Gainesville to face the preseason No. 8 Gators. The No. 5 Tigers have three other teams ranked in the coaches preseason poll on the schedule in No. 3 Alabama, No. 11 Auburn and No. 13 Texas A&M.

If LSU successfully defends its West Division title it will face the East Division champion in the SEC Championship Game Dec. on 19 in Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.