Bayou Bengal Briefing: How to watch LSU’s Week 1 opponent in action Saturday

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LSU football is in the news every day, and the Bayou Bengal Briefing is here to keep you updated with the latest headlines five mornings a week. Join us every Monday through Friday for the biggest news on Tigers football, recruiting, baseball and more. Enjoy!

This is an actual football note

For the first time in nearly nine months, we get to talk about an actual football game in the Bayou Bengal Briefing.

LSU’s Week 1 opponent, BYU, opens its season on Saturday, starting a week before the Tigers. The Cougars open up against FCS foe Portland State in a game ESPN projects BYU to have a 98.1-percent chance to win. But whether the game is a cakewalk for the Cougars isn’t the point. It’s scouting season, people.

BYU and Portland State play Saturday at 2 p.m. CT, and the game will be broadcast on ESPN. This’ll give you the opportunity to learn a lot about BYU, a team that ended the 2016 hot with five straight wins, including a bowl win against Wyoming and projected first-round draft pick in quarterback Josh Allen.

So what should you look for when watching BYU? Defense. The Cougars’ offense is fine; it averaged nearly 30 points per game last season. But BYU’s defense showed out in 2016, finishing as one of the 16 teams in college football to allow fewer than 20 points per game. It did this in part by playing aggressive; the 31 turnovers BYU forced were the second-most in college football last season, two behind College Football Playoff qualifier Washington.

Obviously, the talent discrepancy between BYU and Portland State should be big enough that you won’t see too much of BYU at its most engaged. But watch for the way BYU’s defense swarms around the ball and forces Portland State’s offense to make mistakes.

That’s what the Cougars do best, and what LSU will have to prepare for in the next week.

Overrated how?

Greg Guglielmo of FiveThirtyEight published a study Thursday ranking the college football teams most consistently overrated in the preseason Associated Press Top 25 poll. The list was headed by the ranks of teams you’d expect, such as Notre Dame and Texas.

But not too far off the top was LSU, which has fared worse than its preseason ranking in 65 percent of seasons dating back to 1997 according to the study. That’s the entirety of the Nick Saban and Les Miles eras, plus a few years.

Of course, there’s a distinction to be made here. Of the 32 teams involved in the data set, only four of them have a higher average preseason ranking than LSU: Oklahoma, Ohio State, Florida State and Florida. And, unsurprisingly, all five of these teams underperform at least 60 percent of the time.

Calling a team “overrated” is a matter of pure perspective. It’s easy to be overrated if you’re expected to win a championship and finish No. 8. But the truth of the matter is, finishing No. 8 is an impressive year. Perspective.

Sure, you can look at this data and say schools such as LSU and Florida (70-percent worse than predicted) are consistently overrated. But you can also say consistently respected. Because while these schools almost always miss their goals, when they achieve them, they do so triumphantly.

Your daily cuteness overload

Submitted to make you go ‘Awwwww,’ here’s a video of LSU’s young Mike the Tiger cub absolutely making the day of a young girl. Or it might’ve been the other way around. Both seem to be having an absolute blast.

If you haven’t stopped by to visit young Mike VII yet, do so soon. He’s a hoot.

What LSU football players said

In case you missed it, here are a couple of stories from LSU coaches and player availability over the past few days.

Old as dirt

Former LSU running back Jacob Hester apparently just realized that 10 years is a long time.

Yes, as you probably already know, this year is the 10-year anniversary of LSU’s last national championship, a championship bolstered by the men in that photograph. Expect to hear a lot of reminiscing from those guys this year. If ever there was a year to celebrate the past, it would be this one.

Your weekly non-revenue sports schedule

Football is still a week away, but that doesn’t mean LSU sports haven’t started up already. Here’s the rest of the LSU athletics schedule this weekend.

  • Coming off two shutout wins last weekend, the LSU soccer team hosts Lamar at 7 p.m. CT on Friday night. This game was originally scheduled for Sunday but it was agreed to move the game up a few days to avoid complications that could result from Hurricane Harvey. Admission will be free.
  • LSU volleyball starts its 2017 season at the USF Invitational in Tampa, Fla. The Tigers will open action Friday vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff then face Northwestern and host South Florida on Saturday. Both of the Saturday matches will be broadcast on CST.

This weekend in made-up holidays

According to the fine folks at NationalDayCalendar.com, this Sunday is National Just Because Day. This has to be the laziest holiday I’ve ever seen.

So I’m going to be lazy with this section today. Just because, ya know?

Miss a previous edition of the Bayou Bengal Briefing? Find every one of SEC Country’s daily LSU football columns right here.

The post Bayou Bengal Briefing: How to watch LSU’s Week 1 opponent in action Saturday appeared first on SEC Country.

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