LSU at Mississippi State: Prediction, pick, odds, TV channel, live stream, watch online

After handily winning their first two games, LSU and Mississippi State will collide on Saturday night in a game that should reveal a ton about both teams heading into conference play. The last three meetings have all been decided by five points or less with the winner closing out the game in the last two minutes, but it's LSU who has dominated the series since 2000, only losing to the Bulldogs once in this century (2014).  

Viewing information

Date: Saturday, Sept. 16 | Time: 7 p.m. ET
Location: Davis Wade Stadium -- Starkville, Mississippi
TV: ESPN | Live stream: WatchESPN

Storylines

LSU: Ed Orgeron said Monday that he's "fired up" to see star linebacker Arden Key back in action after getting cleared to play against the Bulldogs. Key was away from the team during spring practice for personal reasons and has been slowly working his way back from offseason shoulder surgery. At full health, Key is one of the best defensive players in the country, a true weapon when it comes to rushing the passer and coming up with game-changing plays. How will he look? How many snaps will he play? We won't know until we see him out on the field, but when you're facing a dynamic offensive threat like Nick Fitzgerald it's nice to have a future first round NFL Draft pick in the rotation to chase him down. 

See which side of this game the pros at SportsLine are picking here.

Mississippi State: You could make a case that this is one of the most important games of the season for Mississippi State. The next two games on the schedule are road trips to Georgia and Auburn, and given what they've got in place this year with Todd Grantham leading the defense and Fitzgerald flexing total command of the offense, an 0-3 start to SEC play would be a disappointment. The home crowd will know this and show up ready to bring all the volume and CLANGA they've got, but it's up to the Bulldogs to close the gap at the margins after losing the last two meetings by a combined five points. Fitzgerald has to take care of the ball, the defense has to play sound and prevent Derrius Guice from springing loose for long runs. Most of all, they've got to find a way to replicate a strong rushing attack with Fitzgerald and running back Aeris Williams (both averaging more than 7.5 yards per carry) against one of the best defenses in the country. 

Prediction

It's an upset alert game for LSU, which is currently ranked just outside the top 10 in the polls and going on the road at night to face a Bulldogs team that has been one score away from pulling off an upset each of the last two years. But if the Tigers take care of the football, they should be able to pull away with what I expect to be another close win. Mississippi State's offense can be slow to get going but is almost guaranteed to hit on a handful explosive and put points on the board. I'm thinking LSU is up early, then Fitzgerald leads a late charge and the Tigers either escape Starkville with a 3-4 point win or walk off the field with the sound of cowbells ringing in their ears.  Pick: Bulldogs +7


CBS Sports Writer

Chip Patterson has spent his young career covering college sports from the Old North State. He's been writing and talking about football and basketball for CBS Sports since 2010. You may have heard him... Full Bio

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