Rosy start to new season, LSU opens schedule at UCLA, will host McNeese
Assuming that college football is back to the old normal this fall, LSU will open the 2021 season in the Rose Bowl with a Sept. 4 game against UCLA.
It would be the Tigers’ first-ever game in the storied Pasadena, California, venue, which had to move its Rose Bowl game to Arlington, Texas, last season due to COVID-19 protocols.
LSU will return home to welcome the McNeese State Cowboys to Tiger Stadium for a third time with hopes of getting a second game in.
The last scheduled meeting between McNeese and LSU, in 2015, was canceled shortly after kickoff by inclement weather. The Cowboys’ only other game against LSU was 2010 when the Tigers prevailed 32-10.
By then, new McNeese head coach Frank Wilson, who spent 2010-15 as an assistant with the Tigers, will have coached his first season with the Cowboys’ adjusted spring schedule.
It will also be the oddity of LSU head coach Ed Orgeron coaching against his son, Cody, the Cowboys’ likely starting quarterback.
The Southeastern Conference released all 14 teams’ schedules Wednesday with the hopes that by the fall the pandemic will allow for the old way of doing things.
Last year the SEC did not play nonconference games in the regular season, going with a 10-game, conference-only schedule.
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said he was pleased to have gotten 69 of the league’s scheduled 71 games played, with a multitude of adjustments.
“We are proud to have completed the 2020 football season under unique circumstances and will now focus on playing the 2021 football season as scheduled,” Sankey said in a news release. “Circumstances around the COVID-19 virus will continue to guide our decision-making should any adjustments need to be made.”
So, for now, it’s back to eight conference games — six from the same division and a pair of cross-division games — along with four nonconference games.
LSU gets its permanent cross-division rival at home when Florida visits on Oct. 16.
The Tigers’ other cross-division game will be their first trip to Kentucky since 2007 for an Oct. 9 game against the Wildcats.
The other conference home games are Auburn, Arkansas and Texas A&M. The Tigers also will be on the road against Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Alabama.
As usual, the open date, Oct. 30, is before the Alabama game, with the defending national champion Crimson Tide also taking that week off.
In other nonconference games LSU will host Central Michigan on Sept. 18 and Louisiana-Monroe on Nov. 20.