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LSU Football: Tigers' 2022 Schedule Analysis

Missouri vs. LSU Football Prediction and Preview

The Tigers will start the Brian Kelly era with four straight games in the state of Louisiana before dealing with several difficult SEC road tests

The LSU Tigers always have high expectations coming into any season.

It was no different in 2021 as the team was expected to improve from a 5-5 season the year before. Not only did the Tigers have another mediocre year, finishing 6-7, but several changes were made during and after the season.

LSU and head coach Ed Orgeron agreed to part ways after the regular season. The Tigers then hired Notre Dame's Brian Kelly to replace Orgeron with the hopes of returning to championship contender status.

Kelly will have to navigate a difficult 2022 schedule that doesn't provide much opportunity to begin the season on a slow note. LSU will play Florida State, New Mexico, Southern and UAB out of conference.

The good news is LSU won't have to leave Louisiana for the entire month of September. However, the Tigers' SEC slate will be challenging with road games against Texas A&M, Florida, Arkansas, and Auburn all on tap.

Let's look at the Tigers' schedule as a whole and all the challenges it could potentially present.

LSU Tigers' 2022 Schedule

Bye: Week 9

Week 1- Sept. 4 vs. Florida State (Caesar's Superdome in New Orleans)

While high-profile teams sometimes schedule easy opponents during Week 1, the Tigers have a date with Florida State in the Superdome in prime time on Labor Day weekend.

In Mike Norvell's second season with the Seminoles, the team finished 5-7, which slightly improved from their 3-6 mark in 2020. The pressure will be on Norvell to produce a winning campaign this fall.

FSU returns a number of its starters, including 10 on the defensive side of the ball. The Seminoles also will have Jordan Travis back under center, who has had an up-and-down career as a starter.

Week 2- Sept. 10 vs. Southern (Baton Rouge, La.)

After playing Florida State, LSU's home opener is against the Southern Jaguars from the FCS ranks. Southern went 4-7 last season, including three straight losses to close things out, the final one being a 55-3 beatdown courtesy of Troy.

This game should provide a good tune-up before LSU begins SEC play.

Week 3- Sept. 17 vs. Mississippi State (Baton Rouge, La.)

LSU kicks off its SEC schedule at home against Mississippi State. The Tigers defeated the Bulldogs 28-25 last season in Starkville behind Max Johnson's 280 yards and four touchdowns.

Mississippi State still has quarterback Will Rogers, who put up 4,739 yards and 36 touchdowns last season. But even with all that passing production, the Bulldogs went 7-6 in 2021.

Week 4- Sept. 24 vs. New Mexico (Baton Rouge, La.)

After hosting Mississippi State, the Tigers welcome Mountain West member New Mexico to Death Valley. The Lobos went just 3-9 last season as head coach Danny Gonzales is still trying to find his footing after going 5-14 in his first two seasons at the helm.

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Week 5 - Oct. 1 at Auburn (Auburn, Ala.)

LSU returns to conference competition with its first true road game of the season to begin October. Auburn finished the 2021 season 6-7, but that certainly wasn't the most significant story surrounding the program. There has been plenty of speculation about head coach Bryan Harsin's job security, particularly following an offseason marked by the departures of numerous players and assistant coaches.

Week 6 - Oct. 8 vs. Tennessee (Baton Rouge, La.)

LSU returns home to face a Tennessee team that has the potential to be even better in 2022 after going 7-6 in Josh Heupel's first season at the helm. The Volunteers return plenty of pieces of their potent offense, including quarterback Hendon Hooker. The Tigers better be at their best for this one.

Week 7 - Oct. 15 at Florida (Gainesville, Fla.)

LSU's annual crossover matchup with Florida will take place in mid-October in Gainesville. Like the Tigers, the Gators also have a new head coach in Billy Napier, who is looking to turn things around after a 6-7 record in 2021 and plenty of turmoil under Dan Mullen.

Florida has several questions to answer but having quarterback Anthony Richardson healthy is significant. Last season, Richardson threw for 529 yards and six touchdowns in limited duty.

Week 8- Oct. 22 vs. Ole Miss (Baton Rouge, La.)

Lane Kiffin led the Rebels to a 10-3 record and an appearance in the Sugar Bowl last season. But if Kiffin is going to be a force in the SEC West once again, it will have to be without quarterback Matt Corral, who is expected to be an early-round pick in the upcoming NFL draft.

Also gone are running backs Jerrion Ealy and Snoop Conner, as well as receivers Dontario Drummond and Braylon Sanders. Kiffin did land USC transfer Jaxson Dart as Corral's potential replacement, but he will have to be out Luke Altmyer for the starting quarterback job.

Week 10- Nov. 5 vs. Alabama (Baton Rouge, La.)

The defending SEC West champions may have come up short against Georgia in the national championship game, but the Crimson Tide will likely enter this season as the favorites.

Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young returns after passing for 4,872 yards and 47 touchdowns. Alabama also has arguably the best defensive player in the country in linebacker Will Anderson Jr.

If LSU has any chance of winning the SEC West, the Tigers need this game, especially since it's at home.

Week 11- Nov. 12 at Arkansas (Fayetteville, Ark.)

It doesn't let up after Alabama, as the Tigers head to Fayetteville to face an Arkansas team that surprised many last season. The Razorbacks finished 9-4, including a 16-13 overtime road victory over LSU.

Quarterback KJ Jefferson returns, but he will need a new favorite receiver with Treylon Burks off to the NFL. LSU could see a familiar face with defensive end Landon Jackson transferring to Arkansas, but he's been out much of the spring recovering from an injury.

Week 12- Nov. 19 vs. UAB (Baton Rouge, La.)

Before its regular-season finale against Texas A&M, the Tigers host a non-conference opponent they better not take lightly. UAB finished 9-4 last year, including a 31-28 Independence Bowl victory over BYU. Since restarting the football program in 2017, Blazers head coach Bill Clark has led the team to five straight winning seasons.

Week 13 - Nov. 26 at Texas A&M (College Station, Texas)

As has been the case the last few seasons, LSU will finish the season against Texas A&M. This fall the game takes place at Kyle Field, one of the toughest places to play in the country. The Tigers won last season's meeting 27-24 at home and no doubt the Aggies would love to return the favor, especially since they potentially could be a College Football Playoff team.

This game also could take on some additional intrigue if quarterback Max Johnson, LSU's starter last season who transferred to Texas A&M, is under center. Johnson must beat out Haynes King and Conner Weigman for the No. 1 spot on the depth chart.

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— Written by Antwan Staley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and has extensive experience covering Florida sports teams. Staley has written for Bleacher Report, Pro Player Insiders, and is a reporter for Sports Talk Florida. Follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.