LSU's Playoff path looks easier now than it did with the original schedule
LSU’s attempt to repeat as CFP champion will be unlike any other.
In fact the Tigers’ attempt to repeat as college football’s national champion will be unlike any other – going back to the BCS and even those that predate initials.
Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, preseason preparation and the regular-season schedule for all teams is being adjusted even at this late date.
LSU found out its 2 additional opponents from the SEC East as the conference released the matchups for its expanded league schedule Friday. The entire schedule for all SEC schools is expected to be released next week.
The Tigers drew a home game against Missouri and a road game against Vanderbilt. In other words the SEC did not give LSU any serious impediments to another SEC or CFP championship than already existed.
No offense to Missouri (6-6 and 3-5 in the SEC last year) or Vanderbilt (3-9, 1-7), but their addition reduces the overall strength of a schedule that already included permanent crossover opponent Florida and rotating crossover opponent South Carolina in addition to the annual schedule of SEC West brethren.
When you take into account that Texas, No. 14 in the preseason coaches poll that was released Thursday, was 1 of the 4 nonconference opponents removed from the schedule, the Tigers have a less challenging path back to the Playoff than they had before COVID-19 started messing with everything.
LSU has a recent history with both new additions, and the most recent matchups both featured record-setting offensive production.
Last season, the Tigers went to Nashville and beat Vanderbilt 66-38. The score tells you how lopsided the game was as No. 4 LSU improved to 4-0 as it entered its first open date.
The performance was significant as an early chapter in what unexpectedly became an historic 15-0 story.
Most notably, Joe Burrow had the first record-setting performance on his way to a series of record-setting performances that led to an historic margin in being selected the winner of the Heisman Trophy.
He threw for a school-record 357 yards in the first half and a school-record 6 touchdowns for the game. He finished 25-of-34 for 398 yards after leaving the game early in the 4th quarter.
LSU is 23-7-1 all-time against the Commodores, who last beat the Tigers, 24-21, in 1990 in Nashville.
The last time LSU played Missouri was in Ed Orgeron’s first game as interim head coach on Oct. 1, 2016. The Tigers fired Les Miles after dropping to 2-2 with a loss at Auburn a week earlier.
One of the first things Orgeron did after taking over was dismiss offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and replace him with tight ends coach Steve Ensminger.
The move yielded immediate and spectacular results as LSU gained the most yards it had ever gained in an SEC game (634) in a 42-7 victory.
The only other time LSU played Missouri was in the 1978 Liberty Bowl and Missouri prevailed, 20-15.
It remains to be seen whether the Tigers can get back to the Playoff – but nothing that happened Friday figures to get in their way.