The 2010 Louisiana State University Football schedule is set and Tigers fans can start to look ahead and prepare for what is sure to be another wild and crazy season in Baton Rouge.
The schedule sets up nice for the Tigers, giving them what could be a great strength-of-schedule rating for the beloved BCS rankings.
Opening up at a neutral site, but not an unfamiliar one, the Tigers travel to Atlanta to take on ACC North Carolina in the Chick-fil-A College Kickoff game on ESPN Sept. 4.
The Tarheels are an up-and-coming program that has the potential to give the Tigers a good game for a quarter or two, but should not be close at the end if LSU plays up to the level that they are capable of. Superior speed and athleticism should give LSU an easy victory on national television and help them on their inevitable climb in the rankings.
The Tigers then travel to Vanderbilt, which should be a three-touchdown win without any problems, and host Mississippi State, which should produce similar results.
Sept. 25 is a game that could have a serious effect on LSU’s BCS Bowl chances, as they take on national media darling West Virginia. WVU comes into Baton Rouge knowing that they must win or at least stay close to have any chance at a BCS Bowl game.
The Tigers are by far the best team that the Mountaineers will face in 2010, so look for WVU to be well prepared and give LSU everything they have in this game. LSU will again have a size and speed advantage against Big East West Virginia, but WVU does run the dreaded spread offense which can be full of surprises and tricks to use the opponent’s speed against them.
This will be a game that LSU will need to be really prepared for if they want to show SEC dominance on a national stage.
Tennessee then comes into Baton Rouge for the third home game in as many weeks for the Tigers. This game has extreme potential to be a trap game for LSU.
With West Virginia the week prior, and Florida the following week, Les Miles will have to ensure that the Tigers do not let this Tennessee game that is sandwiched in between them go overlooked.
Tennessee, despite having lost their coach at the midnight hour, will be a tricky matchup for the Tigers.
Derek Dooley , a former assistant under Nick Saban at LSU, is very familiar with Baton Rouge, Tiger Stadium and all of the chaos that normally throws young head coaches and inexperienced teams for a loop.
Dooley has never worked with as much talent as a head coach as he will have this season at Tennessee. Watch out for the Volunteers in this matchup. Look for Dooley to come out swinging and catch the Tigers off guard in the first half. But in the end, LSU comes out victorious in front of the Tiger faithful in Baton Rouge.
As it does every season, the Florida game will make or break LSU’s championship chances. Even though the Tigers are traveling to the Swamp in 2010, I see them coming out on top of the Gator due to changes in the coaching staff and the loss of The Great One, Tim Tebow.
After the Florida game the Tigers will get a needed mid-season break as they take on McNeese State. It will be shocking if this game is within 40 points. It should be a good chance to rest some key players and any players that have nagging injuries before the stretch run of the Tigers’ SEC schedule.
Following the break, LSU goes on the road to take on the much improved Auburn Tigers.
Auburn is finally back on the map thanks to the phenomenal recruiting of head coach Gene Chizik . Chizik has brought the Tigers back to the status that they are accustomed to and this will be no walk in the park for LSU.
The Auburn game will be a battle and could go either way, but because they essentially have a week off before the game, I see the Bayou Bengals squeaking out a victory and going into the real off week undefeated.
Following the bye week, the Tigers play what will be the biggest game of the regular season as they host the defending National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide.
This has the potential to be a game for the ages with dozens of story lines for the fans and media to blow out of proportion.
As always, Nick Saban is a major story line. The Saban hatred has been getting more intense for Tiger fans year after year rather than fading away. To diehard Tiger fans, Saban coming into Baton Rouge is like Satan walking through the pearly gates of Heaven.
There is also the controversial "toe on the line" call from 2009 that should motivate Tiger players and fans to step up their levels of intensity even higher. I would watch for Patrick Peterson to come out throwing haymakers in the defense’s first couple of drives.
With the extra week to prepare, the Tigers should be able to move the ball on a depleted (but still very good) Alabama defense and win this game, propelling themselves into the National Championship picture.
The schedule following the Alabama game once again sets up nice for the Tigers as they get a nice little break from the grueling SEC schedule as they take on the University of Lousiana-Monroe in Tiger Stadium before hosting potential season spoiler Ole Miss.
Ole Miss always cherishes the opportunity to spoil any SEC team’s title hopes, but none more than LSU.
The rivalry is one of the most underrated in college football, but anyone close to either team knows the intensity and significance. The fans of both teams look forward to winning and having a year to bask in the glory and gloat.
To most fans of these programs, the only thing that could even come close to losing to the other is losing a national championship. To others, there is nothing worse.
Ole Miss should have no chance of beating LSU in 2010, but in this matchup, anything could happen.
Rounding out the regular season is a trip to War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock for a matchup against the pesky Arkansas Razorbacks.
The Tigers have had trouble with Arkansas in recent history, but should be able to close out the year with a win and put themselves into the SEC Championship and into the BCS Bowl picture.
The 2010 season could be a great one for the Tigers, but hinges on the success of quite a few young players. Hopefully Miles and the coaching staff can have these guys not only ready to compete, but ready to compete consistently.