One more bowl game remains on the docket before No. 1 Alabama faces No. 3 Georgia in the College Football Playoff National Championship next week. LSU takes on Kansas State in the Texas Bowl on Tuesday in a game that should give the winner plenty of momentum moving forward into the 2022 season.
The Tigers are coming off back-to-back win, including a home win over a ranked Texas A&M team that topped Alabama earlier in the season. They hired Brian Kelly to replace Ed Orgeron during the break, and Tuesday's matchup will be an audition for players vying for playing time under the new regime.
The Wildcats dropped two straight games to close out the season. That followed a four-game winning streak that had coach Chris Kileman and crew thinking about a New Year's Day bowl.
Let's break down the matchup and make picks straight up and against the spread
LSU vs. Kansas State: Need to know
LSU's QB situation: The Tigers aren't left with many options under center after Max Johnson announced his transfer and quarterback Myles Brennan, who re-joined the team after spending some time in the portal, still recovers from his season-ending arm injury from the summer. Freshman Garrett Nussmeier is listed atop the depth chart, but it doesn't sound like the waiver they requested from the NCAA that would have allow Nussmeier to play in the game while preserving his redshirt will be granted. If Nussmeier can't go, Tavion Faulk, is listed No. 2 on the depth chart and Matt O'Dowd could be another player to keep an eye on. Both players are walk-ons.
Don't expect a shootout: It's unlikely that LSU will be able to light up the scoreboard based on its quarterback situation, but Kansas State isn't capable of making this a shootout either. The Wildcats haven't hit the 300-yard mark on offense in their last three games, and managed just 293 in their last time out against a Texas team that isn't exactly a defensive juggernaut. Translation: bet the under no matter how far it drops before kickoff.
Skylar Thompson back?: The long-time signal-caller of the Wildcats missed their last game with an ankle injury. Could this be the swan song for the sixth-year super senior? It's a mystery ... as of now.
"He has looked really healthy," Klieman said on Saturday. "I think he is as healthy as he has been all year coming off the couple injuries that he has had. I see no ill effects of anything that has gone on. He is throwing the ball crisp. He is running the ball well. I am looking forward to him having a big football game, and he is excited to play."
If he does play and plays well, what a way it'll be to end his storied career in Manhattan.
How to watch Texas Bowl live
Game: Texas Bowl
Date: Tuesday, Dec. 4 | Time: 9 p.m. ET
Location: NRG Stadium -- Houston
TV: ESPN | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Texas Bowl prediction, picks
Give me the Tigers to play their hearts out for interim coach Brad Davis, who has been retained by Kelly as his offensive line coach. They had a newfound energy down the stretch en route to bowl eligibility, and you can bet your bottom dollar that the players will not only want to finish this tumultuous season out strong but set the tone for the new era under Kelly. Don't fret about the Nussmeier situation; that storyline was likely built into this price already. This will be a low-scoring, sloppy game, which screams a "field goal game." Consider a money line sprinkle on the Tigers as well Prediction: LSU (+4.5)
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