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Associated Press photo by Tyler Kaufman / LSU football coach Ed Orgeron led his team to a 55-3 victory over Georgia Southern to start the season last week, but on Saturday night the sixth-ranked Tigers will visit No. 9 Texas.

Although LSU and Texas are the two most storied college football programs in their respective neighboring states, they have not met in a regular season since 1954.

That will change Saturday night, when the No. 9 Longhorns host the No. 6 Tigers in the most anticipated game of the weekend.

"I think it's fantastic, and I think it's always been a rivalry," LSU coach Ed Orgeron said Wednesday. "Where I was growing up, I listened to Louisiana people rip Texas people and Texas people rip Louisiana people, but I also think it's a friendly rivalry. I think it's two great programs that have some tremendous history and some of the greatest cultures in college football.

"It should be a tremendous matchup, and I'm looking forward to it."

The last LSU-Texas encounter occurred in the Cotton Bowl after the 2002 season, when Mack Brown's Longhorns topped Nick Saban's Tigers 35-20.

OTHER PICKS

Ole Miss 24, Arkansas 16

Missouri 35, West Virginia 30

South Carolina 42, Charleston Southern 9

Mississippi State 31, Southern Miss 22

Florida 56, UT-Martin 3

Kentucky 38, Eastern Michigan 15

Virginia 49, William & Mary 14

Ohio State 30, Cincinnati 21

Michigan 33, Army 17

Memphis 47, Southern 18

N.C. State 52, Western Carolina 7

Florida State 41, Louisiana-Monroe 24

Duke 59, North Carolina A&T 6

Oklahoma 63, South Dakota 20

MTSU 45, Tennessee State 8

Miami 34, North Carolina 23

Both teams were impressive in their tuneups for Saturday's showdown, with Texas routing Louisiana Tech 45-14 and with LSU demolishing Georgia Southern 55-3.

It's a contest that could serve as a validation of sorts, both from league and program standpoints. Auburn gave the Southeastern Conference a marquee win with last Saturday's 27-21 comeback triumph over Oregon, and Texas did the same for the Big 12 back in January with its 28-21 upset of Georgia in the Sugar Bowl.

Longhorns quarterback Sam Ehlinger provided a "We're back!" exclamation after the win over the Bulldogs, and he has been the unquestioned focal point of LSU's loaded defense this week.

"I think his running and trying to tackle him in space — he reminds me of (Tim) Tebow," Orgeron said. "He breaks a lot of tackles, and in the red zone, they're going to give him the football."

LSU has won eight, nine and 10 games the past three seasons, and for Orgeron's program to continue that ascension, winning Saturday is pretty much a must.

Pasquali's Pix

Vanderbilt at Purdue: This is Vanderbilt's first trip to Purdue since 1941, when Paul "Bear" Bryant was the offensive line coach of the Commodores. Boilermakers 27, Commodores 24.

South Florida at Georgia Tech: Charlie Strong's Bulls have lost seven consecutive games by double digits dating back to last season. Yellow Jackets 31, Bulls 16.

Texas A&M at Clemson: Trevor Lawrence is a bit more experienced this time around. Tigers 38, Aggies 17.

New Mexico State at Alabama: The Crimson Tide will even their all-time record against independents at 5-5. Crimson Tide 59, Aggies 7.

UTC at Jacksonville State: The Mocs have lost nine of the past 10 in this series. Mocs 24, Gamecocks 21.

Murray State at Georgia: What a tradition-rich inaugural matchup for Dooley Field. Bulldogs 58, Racers 3.

BYU at Tennessee: Who knew that one of Tennessee's team goals this season was a players-only meeting before Labor Day? Volunteers 23, Cougars 16.

Tulane at Auburn: Auburn is paying Tulane $1.94 million to visit Jordan-Hare Stadium, the most expensive guarantee in college football this season. Tigers 33, Green Wave 24.

LSU at Texas: Menacing LSU outside linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson on the Longhorns: "They really strongly believe they have a chance. I don't." Tigers 24, Longhorns 17.

Last week

Winners — 20

Pruitts — 5

Pasquali is 20-5 overall (80.0%) this season.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.

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