Sam Spiegelman/SEC Country
LSU kicker Connor Culp (above) might compete with Jack Gonsoulin this Saturday. Or he might not travel at all.

Bayou Bengal Briefing: How many kickers will LSU use vs. Mississippi State?

Nick Suss

LSU football is in the news every day, and the Bayou Bengal Briefing is here to keep you updated with the latest headlines five mornings a week. Join us every Monday through Friday for the biggest news on Tigers football, recruiting, baseball and more. Enjoy!

Kicking into gear

LSU coach Ed Orgeron on Thursday night announced sophomore Jack Gonsoulin as LSU’s starting kicker, ending a weeklong competition that began with Gonsoulin losing the job by missing a kick against Chattanooga. Gonsoulin beat out redshirt freshman Connor Culp, who replaced Gonsoulin in the Chattanooga game and went 1 of 2 on field goal attempts.

Interestingly, Orgeron named Gonsoulin the starter by saying he’ll be “the first kicker” LSU uses Saturday, but he wasn’t willing to commit to whether Culp will make the trip with the team to Starkville, Miss. Perhaps Orgeron was trying not to tip his hand. Or maybe he didn’t want to give Mississippi State intel it didn’t already need. But those two statements seem to contradict each other.

Personally, I’d be surprised to see LSU make the trip to Starkville without Culp. To rely entirely on a kicker in Gonsoulin, who’s been shaky at best this year, in his first SEC road game without a backup plan would seem foolish. Then again, LSU has a limited number of spots for the trip, so bringing three kickers (kickoff specialist Cameron Gamble would make three) might be a bit much.

Still, LSU can afford to leave a ninth wide receiver or a sixth outside linebacker at home if that means shoring up the kicking game.

College football parody

As regular readers of the Bayou Bengal Briefing know, I don’t write game predictions. I sing them.

Every week in the Friday edition of the Bayou Bengal Briefing, I publish a fully-written song parody performed by myself to preview the upcoming game. This week, to get ready for the onslaught of cowbells at Mississippi State’s Davis Wade Stadium, I chose to parody Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper.” Because you can never have too much cowbell.

Watch the video below to find my prediction, and also to hear me try really hard to sing a song outside my vocal range.

It’s also worth noting “Don’t Fear the Reaper” is the winner of this week’s Arbitrary Analysis countdown. Because duh. You can watch the full original song below.

In the distant future

LSU added an opponent to its 2021 schedule Thursday, signing to play against Central Michigan in Tiger Stadium on Sept. 25, 2021.

Central Michigan is LSU’s third scheduled opponent for 2021. The Tigers will begin the 2021 season on the road in Los Angeles on Sept. 4 as part of LSU’s home-and-home series against UCLA. One week later, LSU will return to Baton Rouge and open its home slate vs. in-state FCS opponent McNeese State.

So, uh, if you’re into planning way in advance, now you know. If not, check back to the Bayou Bengal Briefing in four years and we’ll start previewing these games.

Way-too-early NFL draft watch

ESPN.com’s Mel Kiper Jr. released his updated Big Board for the 2018 NFL Draft on Thursday, and two familiar faces slotted high on the list.

Kiper slotted LSU outside linebacker Arden Key as the ninth-best NFL draft prospect and second-best outside linebacker in college football. The draft guru described Key as a “fantastic pass-rushing talent” who needs to improve against the run. Key will make his season debut Saturday against Mississippi State after missing LSU’s first two games rehabbing from his offseason shoulder surgery.

Not far behind Key at No. 11, Kiper ranked LSU running back Derrius Guice. Like Key, Kiper has Guice ranked as the No. 2 running back on the board behind Penn State’s Saquon Barkley. Kiper said he was impressed with Guice’s burst running between the tackles and marveled at how physical a runner he is despite his smaller frame compared to backs like Barkley and Leonard Fournette.

The NFL draft isn’t until April 26, 2018. A lot can change between now and then, obviously. But barring injuries, I don’t see much changing for Key and Guice. These two should be first-round picks. And the more they play, they more chances they’ll have to prove that.

Fowles play

LSU basketball legend and Minnesota Lynx center Sylvia Fowles was named 2017 WNBA MVP Thursday, the first such honor of the center’s long, impressive professional career. Fowles ranked fifth in the WNBA in scoring and second in rebounds and blocked shots. She also played through a broken nose injury for a portion of the season without missing a game.

Fowles, who was named to two All-America teams and led the Tigers to four Final Fours in her four seasons in Baton Rouge, will have her number retired by LSU at some point during the 2017-18 season. Fowles will join former LSU teammate Seimone Augustus as the only LSU women’s basketball players who’ve ever had their numbers retired. Four men have received the honor: Pete Maravich, Bob Pettit, Rudy Macklin and Shaquille O’Neal.

LSU decided to retire Fowles’ number in May, well before she earned her first WNBA MVP Award. But now that she has that trophy on her mantel alongside her three Olympic gold medals, one WNBA championship and three WNBA Defensive Player of the Year honors, the resume looks even stronger.

Your weekly LSU nonrevenue sports preview

LSU football might be the biggest attraction of the weekend, but it’s not the only sporting event going on. Here’s what else is happening in LSU sports this weekend:

  • Coming off a huge 1-0 win over No. 19 Cincinnati on Thursday night, the LSU soccer team (7-0) opens SEC play on Sunday with a matchup in Baton Rouge vs. Vanderbilt at 4 p.m. CT. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.
  • LSU volleyball (8-2) makes its home debut Saturday after 10 straight road meets to open the year. The squad faces Houston at 1 p.m. CT. Follow live stats of the match by clicking here.
  • LSU’s men’s and women’s cross-country teams will host the LSU Invitational at Highland Road Park Saturday morning, with the women scheduled to run at 7:30 a.m. and the men at 8:10 a.m.
  • The LSU women’s tennis team splits off in two directions this weekend. Half the teams will compete in the Hall of Fame ITA Grass Court Invitational in Newport, R.I., on Friday through Sunday. Another group will compete in the Duke Bonk Invitational in Cary, N.C., also Friday through Sunday.

Today in made-up holidays

According to the folks at NationalDayCalendar.com, Sept. 15 is “National Hug Your Boss Day.” Which, depending on your job, may or may not be a good holiday to celebrate.

Let’s face it: Not all bosses are great. Some are. Some aren’t. But darn it if we don’t all have to listen to them. So today, give your bosses a hug if you want. If not, go back to making passive-aggressive remarks about them behind their backs. Either way works for me

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