LSU football: 2022 Tiger Bowl breakdown with Auburn writer

Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports /

LSU football has started the season off better than many fans could have hoped. The first year of a so-called ‘rebuilding period’ has turned into one with some potential after the Tigers came out the gate 3-1. Now, they face their first road challenge (let’s be honest with ourselves, New Orleans isn’t a road game) as they prepare to head to Auburn for the Tiger Bowl.

The 2022 installment of this rivalry is being met with a lot less fanfare than in years past. The Tigers from the Plains are in a horrible spot right now as Bryan Harsin hangs onto his job for dear life. It’s a rare occasion as LSU strolls into Jordan-Hare Stadium as a -9.5 favorite according to FanDuel Sportsbook (as of Thursday morning). On a weekend jampacked with SEC action, this is one of the least appealing games on the Saturday schedule for the first time in a while.

LSU football continues SEC play on Saturday against Auburn. Site Expert Andrew Hughes from Fly War Eagle joins us for a pre-kickoff Q&A!

Obviously, Tigers fans have read a lot about their team at Death Valley Voice over the last few weeks. Now it’s time to get some insight from the other side of the aisle. In a recent discussion with Death Valley Voice’s Gabe Henderson, Fly War Eagle Site Expert Andrew Hughes revealed his thoughts ahead of the Tigers’ fifth game of the year.

Here are all of the questions and answers from the chat with Young:

Death Valley Voice: What do you make of Auburn’s season thus far? There have been some obstacles, does that come down to coaching, talent or both?

Fly War Eagle: Auburn’s season thus far has been mostly downs, but Jordan-Hare voodoo made Week 4 against Mizzou a temporary and quite fleeting up. If not for Missouri’s mistakes, AU would be winless against Power Five competition and Bryan Harsin wouldn’t be coaching right now. The reason why this season has been underwhelming for Tiger fans is because it seems like certain talents, most notably Tank Bigsby, are being wasted by unimaginative offensive sets and poor offensive line play. The defense has been brought down by inconsistency due to a lack of game-changing plays. Auburn didn’t have a single turnover until Week 4. When it comes down to it, coaching, more so than injuries and a lack of talent compared to most of their conference opponents (and Penn State) have been the biggest pitfalls on the Plains this fall.

Death Valley Voice: How do you think the rainy weather will factor into Auburn’s game plan for Saturday? Who benefits from these conditions?

Fly War Eagle: The rainy conditions should, in theory, make this game much more run-heavy, but the Tigers were carved up through the air by San Jose State QB Chevan Cordeiro Week 2 in similar weather — making dual-threat Jayden Daniels a scary opponent to face. Being that this is Brian Kelly’s first road game, his ability to adjust on the fly will be under the radar. Many doubt Bryan Harsin’s ability to do that a year and a half into his new gig anyway, though. LSU has more experience with inclement weather in general due to their proximity to the gulf, so chalk that up as an LSU advantage.

Death Valley Voice: Who would you like to see under center for Auburn on Saturday and why?

Fly War Eagle: I’d definitely like to see Robby Ashford because of the offensive line’s deficiencies and his ability to improvise after the snap to compensate. Holden Geriner should maintain his redshirt, and TJ Finley should rest up considering his shoulder injury and the likely slippery football he’d be throwing during a potential downpour.

Death Valley Voice: A lot of talk in the build-up has focused on Auburn’s struggling offense, but who are some of the defensive playmakers that LSU fans should familiarize themselves with before the game?

Fly War Eagle: EDGE/LB Derrick Hall forced the first turnover for the Auburn defense against Missouri and could be a potential first-round NFL draft pick in 2023. Defensive front stalwarts Colby Wooden and Eku Leota are the other biggest threats to shut down any big play Daniels, Armoni Goodwin, or Noah Cain may have cooking up.

Death Valley Voice: Do you get the sense that some fans almost welcome a loss as it’d surely mean the end of Bryan Harsin’s tenure on the Plains?

Fly War Eagle: Unfortunately, some fans are hoping for a loss, since a few have revealed that they feel last week’s win was bad for the team long-term. A loss undoubtedly ends Harsin’s time in Auburn and some fans feel it can’t come soon enough.

Death Valley Voice: How do you see Saturday’s Tiger Bowl playing out?

Fly War Eagle: College football doesn’t do what it’s supposed to typically unless it involves Alabama, Clemson, or most recently Georgia, winning in predictable fashion. Credit to your Bayou Bengals for breaking the monotony back in Joe Burrow’s “I’m him” 2019 campaign. With Bryan Harsin’s back against the wall and oddsmakers having LSU lay a touchdown or more on the spread, this feels like a classic game Auburn isn’t supposed to win that they inexplicably do. Auburn by a field goal.

A huge thank you goes out to Andrew for taking the time out of his day to talk with us about Auburn. Be sure to check out Fly War Eagle before kickoff on Saturday evening!

Next. LSU football: LG Garrett Dellinger set to miss Tiger Bowl. dark