Game 1 of the Brian Kelly experience kicks off Sunday night as the new-look LSU Tigers open the 2022 college football season against Florida State.
LSU is just three years removed from running the table and winning the College Football Playoff but hasn’t looked like a national title contender.
Sunday is LSU’s first chance to prove again that it belongs in that conversation, lining up against a Seminoles team that hasn’t lived up to expectations under Mike Norvell.
Here’s what you need to know about the Week 1 matchup.
LSU vs. Florida State football preview, prediction
How to watch
When: Sun., Sept. 4
Time: 7:30 p.m. Eastern
TV: ABC network
Florida State vs. LSU odds, spread, line
Line: LSU -3.5
Moneyline: LSU -118 FSU -110
FPI pick: LSU 72.5%
LSU vs. Florida State: What to watch
1. Who is LSU? This team remains arguably the biggest unanswered question in college football. There’s no question it has the recruiting base to stay competitive every season. And Brian Kelly is a proven head coaching commodity but struggled notably on the national stage, especially against Southern teams and top 25 ranked opposition at Notre Dame. This game will give us a very small but essential sample size of how Kelly has built his roster and works in certain game situations before embarking on the brutal SEC West schedule.
2. Florida State at quarterback. Watch how Jordan Travis starts against LSU’s secondary. He’s a potential difference-maker at the position, throwing 15 TDs and six picks last fall, and he didn’t have a turnover in five games. The Seminoles went 4-1 in that stretch. Now he leads an offense coming off its first 600-plus yard game since 2016. Travis can gain some valuable early momentum if the pass protection is there early.
3. FSU’s rushing attack. In their Week 0 win over Duquesne, the Seminoles racked up 406 yards on the ground, just the 5th 200-plus rushing yard game in school history, and the 1st time it had 3 100-yard ball carriers in the same game. Florida State wants to balance its attack and has the tools to get medium gains early. Duquesne may not exactly be LSU on the front seven, but so far the returns are very positive.
Florida State vs. LSU: Fast Facts
+ Florida State has 39 straight successful red zone trips, the longest active streak nationally
+ Jayden Daniels steps in at QB for LSU from Arizona State, where he had over 6,000 passing yards, 1,288 rushing yards, and 45 total TDs
+ Mike Norvell averaged 37.8 points per game, the 3rd most among coaches since 2016
+ LSU is 34-9 all-time in domed stadiums and 14-5 at the Superdome
+ FSU scored touchdowns on 31 of its 38 red zone trips, the most in the ACC, for a .738 success mark
+ Brian Kelly was 113-40 in 12 years at Notre Dame, passing Knute Rockne, and was 54-9 in the last 5 years
+ Florida State returns 80% of its receiving TD production from last season, in addition to 61% of its total offense and 75.4% of its receiving yards
+ LSU wideout Kayshon Boutte has 13 TD catches in 11 career starts
Don’t call it a “rebuild”: While it’s clearly a new era for LSU with Brian Kelly coming in, this team isn’t exactly starting from scratch.
There’s already a strong athletic base at the skill positions and enough accumulated defensive depth to stabilize things. LSU did well enough in the transfer portal to expect this team to be good right away.
LSU will have the manpower on the line and behind it to prevent the Seminoles from cracking off another 400-yard rushing effort, but there will be some long gainers along the way.
Florida State has more playmakers than it did the last few years, but LSU should still have the advantage on third down in the second half.
College Football HQ Prediction: LSU 31, Florida State 24