A long-awaited matchup between the two most decorated programs in college football history, Louisville and LSU, is set to take place on Saturday night in Baton Rouge.
The game, which will be televised nationally on ESPNU, will be one of the last times that LSU will play at home, a decision that is being hailed as a historic turning point in the rivalry between the SEC’s two largest conference rivals.
Lafayetteville native Jimmie Williams will return for his seventh consecutive season as the Tigers’ starting quarterback, but he will be joined on the sidelines by returning starting quarterback Shane Buechele, who is likely to play his final game as a Tiger after spending much of the past three seasons at LSU.
In addition, the Tigers will have a number of key pieces who were part of last year’s national title team, including linebacker and two-time All-American Jourdan Lewis, as well as linebacker Reggie Ragland, a member of last season’s championship team.
Lewis and Ragland are not expected to be part of the team that will face LSU in the title game.
They will instead join the Tigers in Baton, Louisiana, for a game that will be held at Louisiana Tech Stadium.
Lions head coach Paul Petrino, who had coached the Tigers since 2003, was hired as interim coach last year, but the coaching change was a major one for LSU fans, with the Tigers having won only one conference game in his tenure.
The program, which finished 8-5 in 2015, was scheduled to face Alabama on Dec. 3 in Baton.
However, the Crimson Tide beat Louisville 45-37 on Dec, 8 in Baton City, and the Tigers went on to beat LSU 41-14 in Baton a week later.
Louisville had been expected to have a game scheduled with Alabama that same day, but a series of unexpected events put a halt to the game.
In addition to the decision to postpone the game, the NCAA has issued an interim ruling regarding a rule that will allow any college football program that is not a member or affiliate of the SEC to play a game against any college that is.
Louisiana Tech is scheduled to host the game on Dec., 15 at 1:30 p.m.
ET on ESPN2, but LSU will host it on Dec 6 at 8 p.mp on ESPN, with Louisiana Tech hosting a doubleheader with LSU vs. Georgia Southern on Dec 9.LAFayetteville will be playing host to a number other marquee matchups, including Alabama-Mississippi State on Dec 16, Kentucky-Missouri on Dec 23 and Florida-LSU on Dec 30.
The Tigers, who were expected to go 6-5 last season, have been plagued by injuries and suspensions in recent years.
After the Tigers lost defensive lineman Anthony Barr to a torn ACL in 2015 and guard Brandon Brooks to a knee injury in 2016, they lost four starters on defense in a season that saw them drop to 7-6.