2021 LSU football schedule analysis: Can Tigers make the most of top 10 SEC showdowns?

 Blake Lovell   in Football

(USA Today)

Here are some thoughts on LSU's football schedule for the 2021 season.

SCHEDULE

Sept. 4 at UCLA

Sept. 11 vs. McNeese

Sept. 18 vs. Central Michigan

Sept. 25 at Mississippi State

Oct. 2 vs. Auburn

Oct. 9 at Kentucky

Oct. 16 vs. Florida

Oct. 23 at Ole Miss

Nov. 6 at Alabama

Nov. 13 vs. Arkansas

Nov. 20 vs. ULM

Nov. 27 vs. Texas A&M

ANALYSIS

- LSU opens the season on the road against a UCLA team that may finally take a step forward in Chip Kelly's fourth season. The Bruins finished 3-4 a season ago, but there are a few reasons for optimism. UCLA returns a lot of starters on defense, the improvement of quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson will determine the potential of the offense.

- As for the other non-conferences matchups, Central Michigan is the best of the group. The Chippewas, coached by former Florida head coach Jim McElwain, have a capable offense and 10 starters returning on defense. 

- Projecting LSU's shot at an SEC title typically hangs on one game: Alabama. This season, the Tigers must travel to Tuscaloosa in early November. The Crimson Tide has won nine of the last 10 meetings in the series.

- While LSU hits the road for a pivotal game against Alabama, two other potential top 10 teams in Florida and Texas A&M travel to Baton Rouge. Both expect to challenge Georgia and Alabama, respectively, in their divisions.

- Elsewhere, LSU's schedule seems manageable. Road games at Mississippi State, Kentucky, and Ole Miss are all winnable. The Tigers also figure to be favored in home games against Auburn and Arkansas.