NCAAF Week 1 Preview: Can LSU Beat Florida State to Begin Brian Kelly’s Era?

Brian Kelly head football coach LSU Tigers
Brian Kelly speaks after being introduced as the head football coach of the LSU Tigers. Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images/AFP.

Standing all by itself on Sunday’s college football betting slate is a clash between the ACC and SEC as the Florida State Seminoles travel to the Big Easy to meet the LSU Tigers.

Florida State Seminoles vs. LSU Tigers

Sunday, September 04, 2022 – 07:30 PM EDT at Caesars Superdome

Will LSU Return to Its Glory Days?

It has been one big belly flop in Baton Rouge the past few seasons. From perfection in 2019 and a National Championship to barely qualifying for a bowl trip a season ago, the LSU Tigers have shown how quickly a program can go from the tip-top to dangerously low in the college football pecking order.

They are hoping to turn that back around quickly by putting a lot of trust – and about $9 million per year – in Brian Kelly, and his era at LSU begins this Saturday evening against the Florida State Seminoles.

Tigers Favored in Superdome Showdown

Since the game is being played at Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, we might as well use the numbers Caesars Sportsbook has posted for the ACC-SEC clash.

The Tigers are favored by a field goal over the Seminoles, and most shops are carrying 51½ for the total.

First Meeting in 31 Seasons

It’s a shame this interconference series didn’t last and really develop into a rivalry after the schools met on the gridiron eight times during a 13-year span from 1979-91. Florida State won seven of those matchups, including the last four.

Florida State’s most recent SEC opponent was a 24-21 loss at Florida in last year’s season finale. That was the Seminoles’ third consecutive loss to the Gators.

The last time LSU played an ACC team was the College Football Championship in January 2020 when the Tigers completed their magical season with a 42-25 pasting of Clemson. They have won their last five clashes against full-fledged members of the ACC.

Can Norvell and ‘Noles End Losing Skid

Florida State has also fallen on hard times in recent years. A 6-7 record last season marked the fourth consecutive losing campaign for a once proud program, but at least they started this year’s schedule off with a win in Week 0.

Granted, the dubya came against Duquesne of the FCS, but it was a decisive 47-7 final that just came up short of covering a huge number on the NCAAF odds. The Seminoles dominated the stats sheet, as expected, and head coach Mike Norvell had a chance to work in a lot of second and third teamers.

Norvell didn’t get fancy in the opener, really stressing the running game that made him such an attractive hire from Memphis a few years back. Maybe the best news to come from the season opener is that Florida State came out of the game without any new injuries.

Kelly Yet to Make Starting QB Official

It wasn’t necessarily the most shocking news in college football over the past few seasons, but Kelly’s decision to leave Notre Dame for LSU still turned heads. The truth is Kelly’s welcome in South Bend was wearing out, and the Tigers made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.

Considering what shape the program was in when Kelly took the job, nobody would have blamed Kelly had he turned the job down, even for all that money.

The quarterback position was in complete shambles after Ed Orgeron left, and Kelly went to work beefing the spot up by coaxing Jayden Daniels to transfer in from Arizona State where he has been the past three years.

Kelly has yet to officially name his starter for the season opener, but Daniels is the favorite while redshirt Garrett Nussmeier waits his turn. My money’s on Nussmeier making the job his before the end of the season.

Neither Team Expected to Challenge for Conference Titles

Florida State has been pegged as a middling squad in the Atlantic Coast Conference by the preseason college football futures. The Seminoles were priced at 33/1, putting them between Louisville (25/1) and Virginia (40/1).

It’s never an easy schedule in the Southeastern Conference, and this year’s no different as Kelly begins his task of getting the Tigers back on track. The 70/1 return on LSU ranked fourth among the seven teams in the SEC West.

Are Tigers Prepared Under New Staff?

I have no doubt that LSU will eventually get back to being a contender under Kelly.

My concern is whether he and the completely new coaching staff had enough time to get a bunch of new players familiar with all of the schemes and terminology. Meanwhile, Norvell and the Seminoles know each other and have a game under their belts.

My college football pick is on the ACC side in this battle.

NCAAF Pick: Florida State +3 (-105) at Caesars Sportsbook