LSU Tigers 2016 Football Schedule and Analysis

Besides hosting Alabama and running the typical SEC West gauntlet, LSU also opens the season at Lambeau Field against Wisconsin

At the very start of the 2015 season, LSU fans, the coaching staff, entire team, and, perhaps more importantly, running back Leonard Fournette, were prevented from picking up an easy victory in the opener against McNeese State due to inclement weather. The missing “W” from a cancelled game skewed how some fans, alumni and boosters viewed the Tigers’ 9-3 campaign and left Fournette 47 yards shy of the 2,000-yard rushing mark, which may have cost him an invitation from the Downtown Athletic Club as a Heisman Trophy finalist.

 

LSU won its first seven contests behind a stingy defense and the tough running of Fournette but hit a three-game skid in November that included losses to Alabama (30-16), Arkansas (31-14), and Ole Miss (38-17). Tigers head coach Les Miles was put on the proverbial hot seat in the midst of last season, seemingly given one more chance to beat Alabama, win the SEC West, and capture a SEC championship, a feat that has all eluded LSU since the 2011 season.

 

Related: LSU Football Schedule 2018

 

LSU Tigers 2016 Schedule

 

Bye: Week 9

 

Wk Opp. Date Location
1.

Sept. 3

3:30 PM ET

ABC

Green Bay, WI

The last time LSU played Wisconsin, the Tigers snuck past the Badgers in NRG Stadium in Houston, claiming a 28-24 victory to open the 2014 season. Melvin Gordon blistered the Tigers for 147 yards rushing and a touchdown, but was limited to three carries in the second half after sustaining a hip flexor injury. The Badgers won 10 games in 2015 but none of them were against a quality opponent. Even their season-ending 23-21 win over USC in the Holiday Bowl was against a Trojans team that never fully recovered following head coach Steve Sarkisian’s dismissal prior to their sixth game.

2.

Sept. 10

7:30 PM ET

ESPNU

Baton Rouge, LA

Critics will point to these Gamecocks as a reason to not take SEC non-conference scheduling serious, ignoring the opening week game in Green Bay against Wisconsin. Jacksonville State, which went 13-2 and lost to North Dakota State in the FCS championship game, pushed Auburn into overtime before falling 27-20 last September. LSU best beware.

3.

Sept. 17

7:00 PM ET

ESPN/ESPN2

Baton Rouge, LA

The Bulldogs went 9-4 last year when everyone had picked Mississippi State to finish last in the SEC West. Dan Mullen proved many pundits wrong thanks to the efforts of All-SEC quarterback Dak Prescott, but there will be new a signal-caller this fall. LSU eked out a 21-19 victory in Starkville last season, and 2016 is shaping up to be a rebuilding campaign for the Bulldogs.

4. Sept. 24 Auburn, AL

LSU pounced on Auburn 45-21 last year before the rest of the country could make heads or tails of Gus Malzahn’s team. The offense sputtered but the defense had improved under then-defensive coordinator Will Muschamp. The other Tigers finished 7-6 and looked like a mess. Auburn could be much improved this fall, but exactly how much remains to be seen.

5. Oct. 1 Baton Rouge, LA

Missouri may still be feeling its way under new head coach Barry Odom five games into the season. Chances are Mizzou will be tough on defense but the offense will likely be a work in progress.

6. Oct. 8 Gainesville, FL

Florida is another team still in transition from one coaching staff to another. LSU had a tougher time beating the Gators in 2015 than the Tigers should have had with starting quarterback Will Grier suspended. The Tigers won at home 35-28 over then-No. 8 Florida but should have an easier go in 2016, even on the road in The Swamp.

7. Oct. 15 Baton Rouge, LA

After four consecutive SEC games and what could be two tough non-conference games, LSU should get a home breather against Southern Miss before digging deep into the heart of the second half of the season.

8. Oct. 22 Baton Rouge, LA

LSU will have played some tough games but Ole Miss, if healthy this late in the season, could be the first big test for the Tigers in 2016. Hugh Freeze gets Chad Kelly back at quarterback, which should help drive the Rebels to a winning season despite big losses of key personnel on both sides of the ball. If LSU stays focused, this could be a revenge game win that builds momentum heading into the bye before the showdown with Alabama.

10. Nov. 5 Baton Rouge, LA

All the marbles could hinge on LSU beating Alabama, as it usually does. The Crimson Tide held serve at home last year, winning 30-16. The defense shut down Fournette while eventual Heisman winner Derrick Henry ran roughshod over the Tigers.

11. Nov. 12 Fayetteville, AR

The schedule works out in favor of Arkansas against LSU no matter how the records of either team look heading into this game. Arkansas is a physical team that will beat on the opposition, similar to the styles employed by LSU and Alabama. This figures to be a tough turnaround for the Tigers, coming off either an emotional high or low at home against the Crimson Tide. The Hogs rolled into Baton Rouge last season, leaving with a 31-14 victory over a depleted Tigers squad.

12. Nov. 19 Baton Rouge, LA

The Jaguars played tough at home last year but did not fare well on the road against Power Five teams, losing 48-9 to Nebraska and 63-13 to NC State. This is a needed “play them and sit them by halftime” kind of game for LSU.

13.

Nov. 24

7:30 PM ET

ESPN

College Station, TX

Miles claimed the head-to-head matchup against former defensive coordinator John Chavis in 2015, winning 19-7 at home. The Aggies’ defense will continue to get better but the offense still appears to be in turmoil under head coach Kevin Sumlin. Trevor Knight has won the starting quarterback job, but how long will that last with Sumlin lurking over every bad throw?

 

— Written by Ryan Wright, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and an established media professional with more than two decades' worth of experience. Over the years, Wright has written for numerous sites and publications and he recently started his own recruiting site, www.recruitingnewsguru.com. Follow him on Twitter @HogManInLA.

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