LSU football: What’s at stake for the Tigers against Texas A&M?

LSU already has won the SEC West.

It’s going to Atlanta on Dec. 3 to play Georgia for the SEC championship.

Nothing that happens in the regular-season finale at Texas A&M on Saturday is going to change that.

But the Tigers still have a whole lot at stake against the Aggies, who are the inverse of them.

LSU is arguably the biggest surprise team in college football this season, and A&M is arguably the most disappointing team in college football.

But this is the SEC, and everyone has talented players — and the Aggies have more talent than most, despite their underachievement.

It was barely a week ago when the Tigers went to Arkansas and very nearly were upset by the Razorbacks. So they know the visit to College Station can be dangerous — and damaging despite their guaranteed trip to Atlanta.

LSU, which easily handled UAB 41-10 on Saturday night in Tiger Stadium, is No. 6 in the CFP rankings.

If it beats No. 1 Georgia, it will have a chance to get into the CFP. Of course, other outcomes and the evaluation by the CFP committee will also be significant factors in the Tigers’ fate.

But none of that will matter if LSU loses to Texas A&M.

First and foremost, the Tigers have to beat the Aggies to keep alive their highest aspirations.

But there’s more at stake than just getting out of there with a win so they don’t mess up their Playoff hopes.

They will have to play their best game of the season in order to beat Georgia — much better than they played in beating Ole Miss, even better than they played in beating Alabama.

LSU’s game against A&M is an opportunity to hone its game to the point that it will be primed to potentially beat Georgia.

Head coach Brian Kelly seemed to have this on his mind Saturday when he played many starters longer than was necessary to secure victory, trying to keep the team’s edge.

Certainly, next week’s game provides an even better opportunity to keep sharpening.

It’s an opportunity for the offensive line to continue its season-long growth, to spar with the Aggies’ really talented defensive front as preparation for going toe to toe with the Bulldogs’ elite defensive front.

It’s an opportunity for Jayden Daniels to continue the momentum from his performance against UAB (297 passing yards, 111 rushing yards) as he became the first LSU quarterback to throw for 290-plus yards and rush for 100-plus yards in the same game.

Daniels will have to be smart, efficient and dynamic against Georgia.

It’s an opportunity for Kayshon Boutte to keep trying to regain some semblance of the late 2020/early 2021 version of himself.

It’s an opportunity to sort out the running back position, as Josh Williams and Armoni Goodwin were held out Saturday, John Emery Jr. fumbled twice and Noah Cain became an important factor.

It’s an opportunity for the defense to continue its evolution so it can contain Stetson Bennett IV and the Georgia offense enough for Daniels to have a chance to be a difference-maker.

It’s an opportunity for the special teams to put their recurring disasters into the review mirror and emerge as a positive factor in a championship push.

It’s an opportunity for Kelly and his staff to identify the areas that need sharpening most critically for the Georgia game, and to use the game against the Aggies to do the sharpening.

No. 5 Tennessee’s loss to South Carolina on Saturday night did LSU a world of good. Surely, the Tigers will be No. 5 when the CFP rankings are updated on Tuesday night.

With No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Michigan playing next Saturday, LSU should have an opportunity to pass the loser and enter the CFP if the Tigers win the last 2 — though nothing is guaranteed when subjective decisions are made.

And all the CFP speculation becomes moot if 2 weeks from now, LSU can’t pull off the most improbable winning performance in a season filled with them.

But none of that matters unless the Tigers beat the Aggies.

That’s what’s at stake for LSU.

View Comments

  • You can’t forget about USC when it comes to the playoff picture. Interesting that ND could be a huge factor in this.

    • Yep. SC has a good chance if they win out. I think there are 2 playoff spots up for grabs (UGA & Big Champs have 2). There are 4 teams in play for those 2 spots in USC, LSU, TCU, and Clemson. Anyone of them lose a gm the rest of the way and they are out. Should be an interesting finish to a crazy season. I’m here for it.

      • looser of OSU VS Michigan will also still be in the hunt for that 4th spot.

        Only Georgia and winner of OSU VS Michigan are guaranteed at this point no matter what

  • "It’s an opportunity for the defense to continue its evolution so it can contain Stetson Bennett IV "

    Yeah, but UGA has an even better defense. UGA could win 9-0 over LSU in a snoozer of an SEC Championship game. LSU is not scoring on that UGA defense.

    • Mizzou scored in that defense! People say the silliest things. UGA is the clear best tm in CFB I don’t see them losing a gm the rest of the way. But to suggest LSU can’t play a competitive game vs them is idiotic. But then when I consider the source it makes sense…..

        • Winning or losing isn't the statement you made. You said they wouldn't score against UGA. Gonna be nice seeing you eat your words. Just like Auburn is gonna eat that L this weekend and not have a bowl game. Guess you'll be watching all the other teams play in the post season.

    • I am sure the plan to contain the MilkMan will be the same as the plan to contain Bryce Young-- set that freshman linebacker to spy and attack if Stetson leaves the pocket.

  • LSU fans seem to be focused on UGA. Sort of the same vibe as TN had all last week. It should serve as a cautionary tale.

    • That's what Alabama fans used to say about us. We're focused on the team going as far as possible, and Georgia happens to be in the way. It used to be Alabama, now it's Georgia. Regardless, the fans don't play the games.

        • He said LSU fans seem to be focused on UGA, and he's right to some extent. I think many of us, myself included, are taking A&M for granted. But I'm sure the team is not.

  • If LSU uses this game as a lab experiment to learn about their team, they may well lose. I have observed this first hand very recently! Their focus should be on one thing and one thing only: winning.

    • Your right…..that’s why sports writers aren’t head coaches. They think they know everything about a particular sport, but in reality many aren’t even novices.

  • were i not a man who hath humbled hisself i would gloat like a ruttin hog.

    I told yalls weeks ago that Brian McKelly had brought the Bible back the bayou and would prevail because he Pleaseth Yawheh Jehovah.

    Yalls didnt believe. Now yalls should eat a little crow.

    LSU languished in obscurafication for years cause they Went to Mardi Gra and engaged in transgedrification with the horlots of The Big (going to Hades is) Easy.

    Bryant O'Kelly put a stop to that.

    THe great Saban has returnd to God. Now these two teams shall compet for the National CHimpion CHip.

  • All LSU has to do is score 30 points. That number is like a cross to a vampire for TAMU. The game should not be close. One team has something to play for, the other is already a laughingstock. Of course, if LSU does not win that game, then it will show they have no business in the playoffs. I think LSU wins it by 3 possessions or more. They are going to get after the TAMU QB and that will create opportunities for TOs.

    • Not soooo fast. A team w nothing to lose, w the 12th man of Kyle Field legend, and Lsu's history of looking past opponents. Anything can happen in this SEC regular season finale.

  • This seems like a dangerous game for LSU. A&M much like SC when they played Tennessee has nothing to lose. There will be no bowl game - playing the No.6 team is as close as they'll get.

    • Have to agree with you uga tim, I expect atm to go for most 4th downs, run reverses, half back passes, fake punts/field goals etc and do everything they can to win their "bowl game" this Saturday. LSU wins if all 3 phases play very well, not necessarily great just do their jobs. GEAUX TIGERS

Published by
Les East