LSU is fresh off a disappointing 27-24 loss to Ole Miss that, for all intents and purposes, eliminated the Tigers from contention in both the SEC West and the national championship hunt. Fortunately for LSU, there's little risk of losing to Ole Miss twice. This Saturday they'll be welcoming the FCS Furman Paladins to Death Valley as the Tigers celebrate a homecoming weekend that would have been a lot sweeter if last week's game had ended differently.
While the eight FCS upsets of FBS teams during the first week of college football might have you hoping that his game will be another opportunity for underdog drama, the odds of LSU slipping up at home appear to be incredibly slim. In its three years under head coach Bruce Fowler, Furman has been a middling Southern Conference program. The Paladins' biggest claim to fame during Weber's tenure in Greenville, SC was closing the third quarter of their 2011 game against Florida down just five. The Gators went on to win by 22.
Rankings and records: When the first BCS standings of the 2013 season were released on Sunday, LSU was ranked 13th. The Tigers' 3-2 conference record puts them at third in the SEC West. Furman is 3-4 overall and 2-2 against SoCon opponents.
Saturday's game will represent the first time these two programs have met on the football field.
Vegas: LSU is favored to win by 47 points.
Weather: Partly cloudy throughout the day with a daytime high of 72 degrees, but temperatures are expected to drop below fifty at night. That shouldn't affect the players, but fans tailgating all day and sticking around for the 6 PM kickoff (local time) might want to bring blankets.
Three names to know
Zach Mettenberger -- The Tigers' senior quarterback has keyed LSU's offensive renaissance in 2013, and -- while Les Miles would probably like to be able to pull him not too long after halftime -- offensive coordinator Cam Cameron would no doubt like to see Mettenberger get back on track against a weaker opponent with a trip to Tuscaloosa on deck following a bye. Against Ole Miss, Mettenberger threw more interceptions (3) than he had in the Tigers' first seven games of the season (2). Building some more positive memories before facing Nick Saban is probably a good idea.
Jeremy Hill -- When LSU has been able to break open games this year, it has usually been on the legs of sophomore running back Jeremy Hill. Hill already has 10 touchdowns on the year and needs just 221 yards to cross the 1,000 yard threshold. The Tigers' stable of backs is so deep that you're unlikely to see Hill carrying the ball deep into the second half, but he is nevertheless likely to break off a big run or two that will make you wonder how a human being can be that fast and that powerful at the same time.
Hank McCloud -- The carries in the Furman rushing attack are spread over a large number of players, but junior Hank McCloud has started all seven games and has received a plurality of the carries (115). McCloud is gaining 5.3 yards per carry for a total of 604 yards and four touchdowns.
Two things at stake
LSU is just hoping to avoid national embarrassment by having an FCS team play them close or perhaps even pull off the win.
There's always much more on the line for the FCS team in these match-ups. A win would earn the Paladins plenty of national recognition and would be the crowning achievement of their season.
How to witness
TV: 7 p.m. ET. The game will be air on ESPN GamePlan in all states except for South Carolina and Louisiana. For residents of those states, the game will be broadcast in HD on LSU's TigerVision. Click here for ordering information.
Radio: If you're in the vicinity of Furman's campus in Greenville, SC, tune into WGOG-FM 96.3 in Seneca or FoxSports AM 1440 in Greenville. Here is a list of LSU's local radio affiliates.
Online streaming: ESPN3 or the Watch ESPN app. This, too, will be blacked out in South Carolina and Louisiana.
For more on the Tigers, check out SB Nation's LSU community And The Valley Shook.