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LSU Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2022

Brian Kelly, LSU Tigers Football

Can the Tigers return to their winning ways with a new head coach at the helm?

Brian Kelly heads south to Baton Rouge to lead LSU as the Tigers look to bounce back from unfamiliar territory. Last year's 6-7 record gave LSY its first losing season since 1999, when Gerry DiNardo went 2-8 before giving way to Hal Hunter in the final week, after which Nick Saban entered for the first of his five seasons in Death Valley.

Kelly’s entrance after 12 seasons at Notre Dame — which featured just one losing campaign, after which the Fighting Irish won at least 10 games in each of the next five seasons — shows that the Tigers’ new head coach knows how to help a team rebound from subpar showings.

But Kelly certainly will not be the only new presence on the LSU sideline this season. Of the coordinators and position coaches, only offensive line coach Brad Davis — who filled in as the interim head coach for the Tigers’ Texas Bowl loss to Kansas State — was with LSU last season and in the same position. Kelly brings with him offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock and defensive coordinator Matt House, who previously spent four seasons at Cincinnati and three seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, respectively. Also joining Kelly from Notre Dame will be special teams coordinator and recruiting coordinator Brian Polian, as well as safeties coach Kerry Cooks and director of athletic development Jake Flint.

Related: LSU Football 2022 Season Preview and Prediction

And looking at the players, freshmen and transfers project to hold at least three of the starting spots on the offensive line, and Arizona State transfer (and three-year starter) Jayden Daniels and redshirt freshman Garrett Nussmeier will be challenging incumbent Myles Brennan for the starting quarterback spot both before and during the season. On the defensive side of the ball, four of the five starters in the secondary will likely be transfers, two of which — safeties Greg Brooks Jr. and Joe Foucha — come from Arkansas while cornerbacks Jarrick Bernard-Converse and Mekhi Garner join from Oklahoma State and Louisiana, respectively.

How will the Tigers perform in their transition from Orgeron to Kelly and with plenty more new faces showing up this season in impactful positions? Here’s a look at the picks on LSU’s 2022 football schedule from some of the experts at Athlon Sports.

LSU Football Game-by-Game Predictions for 2022 

GameSteven LassanMark RossJuan Jose Rodriguez

vs. Florida State (New Orleans)

LSU

LSU

LSU

Southern

LSU

LSU

LSU

Mississippi State

LSU

LSU

LSU

New Mexico

LSU

LSU

LSU

at Auburn

LSU

LSU

Auburn

Tennessee

LSU

LSU

LSU

at Florida

Florida

Florida

LSU

Ole Miss

LSU

Ole Miss

LSU

Alabama

Alabama

Alabama

Alabama

at Arkansas

Arkansas

Arkansas

LSU

UAB

LSU

LSU

LSU

at Texas A&M

Texas A&M

Texas A&M

LSU

Final Record

8-4

8-4

10-2

Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
With just six returning starters and Brian Kelly coming from Notre Dame to take over from Ed Orgeron, an LSU team in transition is one of the hardest teams to gauge in the SEC this year. Roster talent is never an issue in Baton Rouge, but the Tigers have a couple of glaring concerns to address. Although the quarterback battle between Myles Brennan, Jayden Daniels and Garrett Nussmeier will get most of the preseason attention, how the line develops is the biggest concern for the offense. After ranking 13th in the SEC in rushing production and averaging just 3.3 yards per carry, Kelly and coordinator Mike Denbrock have to develop more balance. The front will be stout on defense, especially with the continued development of edge rusher BJ Ojulari and lineman Maason Smith. At least five transfers are slated to see major snaps in the secondary, which looms as the defense’s No. 1 concern going into the fall. LSU has too many questions to push for second in the West behind Alabama. However, look for Kelly’s team to improve significantly during the season, and a favorable home slate should allow the Tigers to pick up a couple of swing-game victories.

Mark Ross (@AthlonMarkR)
It's easy to like LSU's chances of bouncing back with Brian Kelly now calling the shots. But expectations should be tempered given the swath of changes that are taking place along with all of the new faces being counted on. Talent is never an issue for the Tigers but it still needs to come together and perform in the pressure cooker that is the SEC. If a clear-cut QB1 can emerge from the three-man competition sooner rather than later that should help the offense find its rhythm but there are more questions on the other side of the ball. Fortunately for Kelly and company the schedule sets up nicely allowing for plenty of time to get everyone on the same page. That will be necessary too because business picks up come October. The Oct. 1-Nov. 12 stretch of six games that's bookended by road dates with Auburn and Arkansas and also includes Florida and the annual showdown with Alabama will determine how much of success Year 1 of the Kelly era ends up being. There are too many toss-up games to expect the Tigers to compete for the SEC West crown this season but bowl eligibility certainly shouldn't be an issue.

Juan Jose Rodriguez (@JuanJoseRG02)
LSU will open the season on the road against a Florida State team that was winless in the month of September en route to a 5-7 record, but victorious in three of its final four home games. The Tigers will then return home for three straight to close the month of September followed by two of their next three coming on the road. If LSU can start with a win in New Orleans and sustain momentum into its next few games, then this could be a team that surprises many in the conference and across the country heading into the second half of the season. LSU will not square off with a team ranked in the preseason AFCA Coaches Poll until its Week 8 meeting with Ole Miss, the first of four of the Tigers’ final five games against opponents ranked in the preseason poll.

An interesting point: LSU’s final five SEC games appear in the exact same sequence as they did in 2021 (just with opposite locations), when the Tigers took down No. 20 Florida 49-42 in Death Valley before falling short at Ole Miss and Alabama and then at home to Arkansas in overtime. LSU upended No. 14 Texas A&M in its regular-season finale to become bowl eligible, but fans and those within the program hope that they can rely on Kelly’s sustained success at Notre Dame in order to avoid needing to wait until the end to know if the team will have a spot in the postseason.

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