Winning the SEC West and making a trip to the SEC Championship Game in Brian Kelly’s first season did nothing but fan the expectant fires of LSU fans. And On3’s JD PicKell thinks Tigers fans are right to be high on the Bayou Bengals heading into Kelly’s second season in Baton Rouge.
With Vegas sticking LSU with a 9.5 win total for the 2023 season over/under, PicKell is putting his money on the Tigers making it to double digit wins. Mostly because there aren’t too many obvious losses on the schedule.
“I’m tossing and turning in the bed at night. My wife’s like ‘What’s going on?’ I’m like, ‘Babe, I don’t know. Is LSU going to win 10 games or nine games?’ Because Vegas knows something, now. Nine and a half wins, you and I know, they know something here. It’s going to be very close to either side of this. So you think on it,” PicKell said. “Here’s what I’ve decided: Brian Kelly took this team to Atlanta his year in Baton Rouge. First year in Baton Rouge, Brian Kelly takes them to the SEC title game.
“Now LSU last year, what were the games that they lost? The games that it felt like, from the outside looking in, where LSU beat themselves. Tennessee, maybe you kind of throw that one out. They don’t play Tennessee this year. Show me the three losses for LSU. Just give me losses, show me the three.”
PicKell went through the LSU schedule (included below) and didn’t think there were more than two “gimme” losses for the Tigers.
vs. Florida State (game is in Orlando) on Sept. 3vs. Grambling State on Sept. 9at Mississippi State on Sept. 16vs. Arkansas on Sept. 23at Ole Miss on Sept. 30at Mizzou on Oct. 7vs. Auburn on Oct. 14vs. Army on Oct. 21IDLEat Alabama on Nov. 4vs. Florida on Nov. 11vs. Georgia State on Nov. 18vs. Texas A&M on Nov. 25
Outside of the opener against the Seminoles — which PicKell seemed willing to argue isn’t a “gimme” — and the trip to Tuscaloosa, there isn’t much that deters PicKell from picking a 10-win season.
“What’s the next gimme loss? At Ole Miss? I don’t think so,” PicKell said.
He’s betting on quarterback Jayden Daniels taking a step forward and a defense that gets back a healthy Maason Smith improving, too. And most importantly, PicKell thinks the Tigers aren’t going to hand away a game like they did last year against Texas A&M.
“I think Jayden Daniels improves, I think this defense improves. I think the culture matures. I don’t think we see LSU beat themselves like we saw them do last year against A&M. So we’re taking over 9.5 wins. Again, safe games, safe prizes, go ahead and lock that one in. We like the Tigers for 10 wins on the season,” PicKell said.