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LSU vs. Florida brings wealth of storylines, animosity, significance

Could Saturday’s matchup with Florida have been any more heavily anticipated a month ago, considering the Gators may have been considered the least threatening opponent remaining on LSU’s schedule at the time?

Leonard Fournette Derrius Guice

LSU running backs Leonard Fournette and Derrius Guice chat during pregame warmups for the Tigers’ eventual rout of Southern Miss. (Jerit Roser)

The rivalry always bears its share of intensity and talk — whether in the lead-up to games or the offseason. But the public squabbles over the eventual postponement of a contest originally scheduled for Oct. 8, controversial photographs with a cat skeleton and a recently unleashed blunt swagger from the Tigers’ players have heaped gallons of fuel upon that fire.

All for a game that has plenty of storylines, regardless of all that talk.

Saturday will mark the final game in Tiger Stadium for seniors such as Kendell Beckwith, Tre’Davious White and Lewis Neal, as well as likely some juniors such as Leonard Fournette, Jamal Adams and Davon Godchaux — although Fournette drew headlines this week he might consider otherwise.

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LSU’s Arkansas trip could prove more telling than Alabama game | Podcast

Hundreds of thousands of eyes in Baton Rouge alone fixated on Tiger Stadium this past weekend as LSU hosted Alabama.

Ed Orgeron postgame

LSU and interim coach Ed Orgeron head to Arkansas this weekend. (Jerit Roser)

Reports that interim coach Ed Orgeron could earn a more-permanent opportunity added to the more typical storylines of the always highly anticipated annual slug fest.

And despite a masterful defensive performance, the No. 13 Tigers (5-3) fell to the No. 1 Crimson Tide (9-0) for the sixth straight time behind a stagant offensive evening more reminiscent of the criticisms of now-former coach Les Miles than of Orgeron’s first three games at the helm.

“Eaux” and co.’s ability to break a different trend this week in Arkansas could ultimately prove more telling to the big picture of LSU’s 2016 season — and their current leader’s prospects for maintaining his position — than the 10-0 loss (they hope is) already in their rearview mirror.

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LSU vs. Alabama: How optimistic can Tigers fans be vs. the No. 1 Tide? | Podcast

A month and a few days ago, LSU looked destined for a sixth straight loss to rival Alabama.

Tre'Davious White Jamal Adams

Defensive backs Tre’Davious White and Jamal Adams hold up four fingers on each hand to signify the fourth quarter against Southern Miss. (Jerit Roser)

The Tigers had just fired longtime coach Les Miles on the heels of a wild, heartbreaking loss at a seemingly mediocre Auburn to fall to 2-2 on the year, and the Crimson Tide were No. 1 in the nation and rolling.

But interim coach Ed Orgeron and company have outscored their three opponents since then by a combined 125-38 margin, including a 38-21 defeat two weeks ago of a once highly regarded Ole Miss squad.

In the process, LSU (5-2) has not only re-entered the national polls, but climbed all the way to No. 13 in the College Football Playoff rankings.

Alabama (8-0) still tops every list.

But Tigers fans have a world more reason to be optimistic about their team can potentially finally end its recent drought in the rivalry.

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Ole Miss provides LSU, Ed Orgeron a much-needed measuring stick | Podcast

Ed Orgeron motivates LSU defensive line

LSU interim coach Ed Orgeron encourages the Tigers’ defensive linemen prior to their 45-10 victory against Southern Miss. (Jerit Roser)

LSU, particularly offensively, has looked revitalized under interim coach Ed Orgeron, to say the least.

But the Missouri and Southern Miss squads on which the Tigers have hung a combined 87 points are a far cry from the five opponents that await during the next six weeks.

And No. 23 Ole Miss (3-3) figures to provide No. 25 LSU its biggest measuring stick thus far this season — a couple weeks later than anticipated because of the postponement of the Florida matchup until Nov. 19.

Jerit Roser and Mark Clements discuss some keys and expectations for this week’s game in the podcast below, as well as a peek ahead to the brutal November stretch of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida and Texas A&M in consecutive weeks and some takeaways from highly regarded prospect Dylan Moses’ visit to Baton Rouge this past week.

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What are LSU’s prospects after falling to Wisconsin? What to watch vs. Jacksonville State | Podcast

LSU stunned its fan base and much of the nation this past Saturday with a 16-14 loss to unranked Wisconsin.

Now, the Tigers will have to quickly lick their wounds and rebound at home against Jacksonville State — not only well enough to even their record, but also to answer questions before opening SEC play.

What are Les Miles and company’s realistic national title hopes after started on the wrong end of their matchup with the Badgers?

On the flip side, just how badly and quickly could matters spiral if LSU can’t find more offensive success?

Jerit Roser and Mark Clements discuss these and a slew of other topics, including keys to watch against the Gamecocks, in the podcast below.

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