LSU college football preview 2021: Question marks abound in Baton Rouge

The 2019 version of the LSU Tigers just about perfected college football, as they ran through entire sport without many issues. For a variety of reasons LSU did not come close to that level last season. The Tigers lost a ton of talented players and coaches, key players opted out of the season assistant coaching hires fell flat and it led to a 5-5 record for for the Bayou Bengals.

Where does this leave the Tigers in 2021? That is anyone’s guess. The range of outcomes for what this program can be this season is significant. LSU could be anywhere from a .500 team to a national championship contender.

The Tigers are still among the best recruiting programs in the sport, so the talent is certainly going to be there. But LSU had a ton of talent on their roster in 2020, and they struggled all season long. Ed Orgeron is not on the hot seat at this point, but he can end any talk of his status with a bounce-back season in 2021.

2020 Season Review

  • 5-5 (4th in SEC West)
  • Allowed 34 or more points in six games, beat Florida 37-34, scored an average of 11.6 points per game in losses to Auburn, Texas A&M and Alabama

2021 Talent

2021 247Sports Composite Ranking: 3
ESPN Returning Production: 79% overall (30th): 82% offense (30th), 76% defense (44th)
Returning Talent Index: 2.57, 1st in SEC
Returning starters: 8/11 offense, 9/11 defense
* All rankings out of 130 FBS schools

Key Player

Quarterback: Myles Brennan (Senior)

One of the most intriguing position battles in all of college football is what will happen with the LSU quarterback position. Myles Brennan and Max Johnson are the two candidates, and it’s anyone’s job at this point. Brennan started the season in 2020 and appeared in just three games before an abdominal injury ended his year, and let’s assume he gets his job back in Week 1. He completed 60.3% of his passes for 1,112 yards with 11 touchdowns and three interceptions.

Offense (non-QB): WR Kayshon Boutte (Sophomore)

Whoever lines up at quarterback for the Tigers will have the luxury of throwing to Kayshon Boutte, who might be the best wide receiver in college football this season. He caught 45 passes for 735 yards with five touchdowns as a true freshman last season. Boutte really broke out late in the season as he went for more than 100 receiving yards in each of the last three games, highlighted by a 308-yard performance in the season finale against Ole Miss.

Defense: CB Derek Stingley Jr. (Junior)

Just about everything defensive coordinator Bo Pelini did last season did not work out. Cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. was a star in 2019 but did not see that level of production last year. He is still an elite cornerback at the college level and under new direction, Stingley should be primed for a bounce-back season in 2021.

Team Stats Projections

2020 SP+ final: 45th overall: 38th offense, 69th defense, 23rd special teams
2021 SP+ projection: 26th overall: 19th offense, 45th defense

To win national title: +2800
To win SEC: +1200
Win total: 8.5 (Over +100, Under -125)

2020 Against The Spread: 6-4-0
2020 Point Total: Over 6-4-0

2021 LSU Schedule

2021 LSU Football Schedule

Date Opponent Time (ET)/TV Spread/Total
Date Opponent Time (ET)/TV Spread/Total
Saturday, Sep. 4 at UCLA 8:30pm/Fox LSU -4
Saturday, Sep. 11 McNeese 8:00pm/ESPN+ N/A
Saturday, Sep. 18 Central Michigan 7:30pm/SECN N/A
Saturday, Sep. 25 at Mississippi State TBA N/A
Saturday, Oct. 2 Auburn TBA LSU -6.5
Saturday, Oct. 9 at Kentucky TBA N/A
Saturday, Oct. 16 Florida TBA LSU -1.5
Saturday, Oct. 23 at Ole Miss TBA N/A
Saturday, Oct. 30 OPEN TBA N/A
Saturday, Nov. 6 at Alabama TBA LSU +22.5
Saturday, Nov. 13 Arkansas TBA N/A
Saturday, Nov. 20 Louisiana Monroe TBA N/A
Saturday, Nov. 27 Texas A&M TBA N/A