If it's August, it's time for my annual Fearless Football Forecast, in which I seek to prove that a fan who watches games from a La-Z-Boy (product placement alert!) can be just as wrong as someone who watches from a press box.
As usual, I'm optimistic about the season ahead for the LSU Tigers, but realistic enough to see a couple of stumbles along the way.
LSU gets off to a roaring start with a decisive victory over BYU in Houston. The Brigham Youngsters, sturdy Mormon lads, are no match for the more ecumenical group from Baton Rouge.
The Chattanooga team enjoys its trip to Tiger Stadium, except for the game itself. After a one-sided loss, the visitors head back to the hills with a hefty check for their troubles.
The cowbells toll
The Tigers next journey to Starkville (the "Stark Vegas" gag has gotten stale) to meet Mississippi State. As usual, State is tough. As usual, the Tigers win. The Bulldog's traditional after-game party at the Starkville McDonald's is a somber affair…
Orange you glad?
Syracuse is next up, and the return to the friendly confines of Tiger Stadium is good for the Bayou Bengals, who survive a shaky first half and go on to pull out a victory.
Not this time
Troy comes into Baton Rouge with memories of a near-upset in 2008, when the Trojans led 31-10 in the fourth quarter and LSU had to score a record 30 points for the comeback 40-31 victory. But there's no chance of a repeat this year, and the Trojans head back to Alabama sadder but richer.
With a 5-0 record, the Tigers are feeling pretty good about themselves. But Florida's Homecoming game in Gainesville, against a team it's been chomping at the bit to meet again, proves too steep a hill to climb, and the LSU team limps back home with its first loss.
The undefeated Auburn Tigers cruise into Baton Rouge expecting another big win that will propel them into the Iron Bowl with Alabama to decide the SEC West champions. But the other Tigers get up off the mat from their Florida defeat and eke out a close (one field goal) triumph that proves all the pro-Auburn pundits wrong (unlike me).
Ripping the Rebs
LSU charges into Oxford, the stronghold of the Confederacy, in a "take no prisoners" mood to take on a deeply troubled Ole Mishap team. The Tigers' win over the Rebels could have been worse, but Coach O puts in some second and third stringers late in the game.
It would be nice to report that LSU won again at Tuscaloosa, but that would be wishful thinking. The Tigers play a good game against Alabama's Crimson Tide, but good just ain't enough over there. The worse thing about the result of the game is that LSU has lost to both Nick Saban and Florida's Jim McElwain, the two most unpleasant coaches in the SEC…
Home to the Hogs
Finally back in Tiger Stadium, a two-loss LSU team seeks to run the tables and end the season with a 10-win mark and a major bowl game. They start by edging a hard-hitting Arkansas aggregation.
On the road again
A rare game in Knoxville, Tennessee, is a major challenge for the road-weary Tigers, but they overcome some early jitters and ride a big fourth quarter to a much-needed and hard-fought victory.
LSU needs only to defeat Texas A&M in Baton Rouge to cap a very good regular season and wind up, it is rumored, in the prestigious Orange Bowl. The Aggies don't beat the Tigers often, and they don't this time, although they are on the march when a timely interception ends the A&M rally.
LSU fans flock into Miami in the party mode for an Orange Bowl battle with Clemson, but those orange Tigers are too much for the purple/gold Tigers, and win a close one.
Still, with a 10-3 record, the Tiger faithful are (mostly) satisfied. For now…