LSU's canceled game vs. McNeese State means the Tigers didn't get a critical tune-up game, whereas its next opponent, Mississippi State, did.
Common sense says that fact alone should give the Bulldogs (1-0) an advantage against the Tigers when both teams open their Southeastern Conference schedules in Starkville, Mississippi, on Saturday night.
So, who are you picking? Here are predictions from The Advocate's experts.
ROSS DELLENGER: LSU 24, STATE 21
Don’t expect QB Brandon Harris to light it up in his second career start — on the road in a cowbell-crazed environment. Thing is, he doesn’t need to do that for LSU to win. A small flame will do. RB Leonard Fournette and LSU’s athletic, talented D should be enough.
Honestly, this is nearly a toss up. We almost flipped a coin. But State’s new O-line coupled with LSU’s defensive prowess = LSU narrow W.
SHELDON MICKLES: LSU 27, STATE 20
Mississippi State lost an awful lot of talent — mostly on defense — from a team that was thinking (dreaming) national title for a while last season.
LSU will be able to take advantage and run the ball pretty effectively, which will help Cam Cameron pick his spots for Brandon Harris to put the ball in the cool Starkville air.
Dak Prescott will dazzle again, but the Tigers’ defense should be able to survive his onslaught this time.
SCOTT RABALAIS: LSU 26, STATE 23
Let the games begin — again. LSU hits the refresh button on its season in Starkville, which looks a lot more inhospitable after last year’s 34-29 Bulldogs’ win in Baton Rouge.
State was hit hard by graduation so you have to believe LSU has the edge at most positions except the most important one: quarterback. The guess, and that’s all it is, is Brandon Harris can do just enough to counter the Dak Prescott attack.
MARCUS RODRIGUE: LSU 24, STATE 21
LSU's offensive goes conservative, with Leonard Fournette shouldering most of the load and Brandon Harris playing efficiently and moving the chains in key situations. The Tigers control time of possession and keep their defense fresh enough to limit big plays from MSU's Dak Prescott and claim a narrow road victory.