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Breaking down future non-conference opponents

Non-conference contests provide us with some of the most interesting games in college football.

It’s always fun to see teams that rarely see each other get a chance to face-off. Since these games take place early in the year, they don’t always have the weight of a later season contest, but they still give teams a chance to make a statement on a national stage, while also being a chance for new fanbases to come together.

LSU has a big non-conference game to open 2022 as the Tigers are slated to face Florida State in New Orleans. They also face the Seminoles to open the season in 2023 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando.

We’ll be looking even further ahead, where the team has some neutral site games but also a few intriguing home-and-home series.

With the SEC set to undergo massive change when Texas and Oklahoma join, schedules are always subject to change. LSU has the Sooners on the schedule in 2027 and 2028. By then, OU will have taken its place in the SEC, so the status of those games remains unknown.

They could still be played, they just probably wouldn’t be official SEC games. It’s been done before with North Carolina and Wake Forrest playing what was technically an out-of-conference game that didn’t count against the conference record.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at what LSU has on tap in the coming years.

2023: Army

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This isn’t a big-time matchup that will alter the college football landscape, but it’ll be cool to see a service academy in Baton Rouge in 2023. LSU has faced a service academy just once, a loss at Army in 1931.

This game is set for October 21, which means the Tiger defense will have to prepare for the triple-option in the heat of their conference schedule.

The good news is that at Notre Dame, Brian Kelly faced Navy several times and should know how to game plan against a triple-option team.

2024: USC and UCLA

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This should be fun.

In 2024, LSU draws both Los Angeles schools, facing USC in Las Vegas and hosting UCLA in Baton Rouge. If Kelly and Lincoln Riley do what they’re paid to do with their respective programs, that 2024 opener could be memorable.

LSU and USC have played twice in their history, most recently in 1984. UCLA’s trip to Baton Rouge is the second part of a series that began last fall when LSU lost at the Rose Bowl.

2025 and 2026: Clemsons

Syndication: Greenville

Clemson has been one of college football’s powerhouses in the last decade. Last season was a bit of a disappointment for them, but it’s not hard to see a scenario where the Tigers get back on track and continue their dynasty.

The first thing that comes to mind when LSU fans think of playing Clemson is the national championship in 2020. These programs also squared off in the Peach Bowl in 2012, with coach Dabo Swinney’s team getting the win.

Unless they meet prior to 2025, this home and home series will mark the fifth and sixth times these programs have met.

2029 and 2030: Arizona States

AP Photo/LE Baskow

Since that home and home with Oklahoma is scheduled for 2027 and 2028, we jump ahead to 2029 and 2030, when LSU is set for a home-and-home with Arizona State. Nobody knows what college football will look like at this time. Both programs could definitely have different coaches by this series. The point is, seven years is a long time.

These teams have met once before in 2005. The game was originally supposed to be played in Baton Rouge, but was moved to Tempe due to the effects of Hurricane Katrina. It was Les Miles’ first game coaching LSU.

2031 and 2032: Utah

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Following the home and home against Arizona State, LSU will have another series with a Pac-12 school, the Utah Utes. Again, it’s almost ridiculous these games are scheduled so far in advance. So much could be different about college football in 2031. Regardless, a trip to Utah could be fun.

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