LSU-Auburn score predictions: SEC Country writers make picks

Auburn comes to Tiger Stadium this week looking to party like it’s 1999. That’s the last time those Tigers managed to beat LSU on its home turf, a 41-7 beatdown that helped grease the skids for Gerry DiNardo’s departure.

It did not come without controversy. As a motivational ploy, first-year Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville told his team they would smoke cigars on the field if they picked up their first SEC road win since 1997. After smoking LSU, Auburn smoked the stogies on the Tiger Stadium turf — a move that enraged LSU.

Call it karma, call it luck, call it fate — but Auburn hasn’t left Baton Rouge a winner since lighting that fire. Will this be the year the visiting Tigers prove curses aren’t real?

SEC Country’s Alex Hickey, Nick Suss, Sam Spiegelman and “One Team, One Podcast” host Carter Bryant make their predictions.

Sam Spiegelman: Auburn 21, LSU 19

The visiting Tigers will have to contend with an emotional LSU team. At halftime, Les Miles’ 2007 BCS National Champions will be honored. The host Tigers will be playing again for their season and to honor the legendary players that came before them. Auburn will be trying to spoil the occasion, and this will not be the same team that pushed Miles out of a job a year ago on the Plains. This Auburn squad is not only defeating SEC opponents, it’s doing so by more than 20 points per game. That includes Mississippi State, which embarrassed LSU last month. This is also Auburn’s best defense  in nine years .

On the LSU side, the defense will return Frank Herron along with a healthy Rashard Lawrence, Ed Alexander and John Battle. It’s the offensive line that’s banged up and could be without both starting tackles. LSU’s defense will need to play its best to slow down Jarret Stidham, and the offense will need to continue to make strides like it did in the first half against Florida. Both present mighty big challenges, but an emotional lift could help.

Nick Suss: LSU 21, Auburn 17

I’m going to go against my instincts here and pick the Tigers. The Purple Tigers. Here’s why:

I get that Auburn is a good team. You don’t reach No. 10 in the nation without winning a few games convincingly. But let’s not pretend Auburn has beaten any titans of the game. Auburn’s four FBS wins come against teams with an average national rank of 87th in scoring offense and 101st in scoring defense. That includes three teams ranked among the 12 worst teams in the country in scoring defense.
Then you look at Auburn’s loss to Clemson. Clemson took down Auburn by taking away the run and getting to the quarterback. Now that LSU is back to full strength on the defensive line, run defense and pass rush should theoretically be the strength of this team. When you combine that and whatever mystique LSU’s Tiger Stadium win streak over Auburn adds, I take the home team in a close one.

Carter ‘The Power’ Bryant: Auburn 24, LSU 17

This will not be a shootout. LSU and Auburn are in the top five in the conference in scoring defense, total defense and rushing defense.
The Bayou Bengals have won the last eight at home against the Tigers from the Plains. However, that streak will come to an end. LSU is too banged up offensively, especially up front with multiple freshmen slated to make starts. Derrius Guice and Darrel Williams are not at full health, which puts even more pressure on Danny Etling at quarterback. Etling only completed one pass to a receiver against Florida. LSU’s  most effective play against Florida, a jet sweep, was slowed down in the second half. Trusting Etling to win through the air is a dangerous precedent.
Ed Orgeron’s defensive line is a deep as it’s ever been, which should stop the bleeding against Auburn’s running game. It will be interesting to see how Jarrett Stidham throws in a close game. However, with a coach, quarterback and offensive line advantage, it’s hard to go against Auburn. The good news for LSU fans is that I’ve missed the last two games. (Side note: The under has hit last two games. I like it again here with the number hovering around 44.5.)

Alex Hickey: Auburn 23, LSU 17

I will say this much — if Auburn can’t beat an LSU team that is in all likelihood starting three freshman offensive linemen, including both tackles, it probably won’t win a game at Tiger Stadium until about 2099.

There is one glimmer of hope for LSU in this game, and his name is Arden Key. In Auburn’s trip to the real Death Valley — the one at Clemson where fans don’t leave in the fourth quarter of a one-score game — Stidham was harassed for 11 sacks.

Key has not been himself this season after falling badly out of shape this offseason. But his coach and teammates swear he is just a step away from flipping that switch. If it happens against Auburn, LSU unlocks something we haven’t seen all season. And that is what it will take for the 21st-century streak to continue.

The post LSU-Auburn score predictions: SEC Country writers make picks appeared first on SEC Country.

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