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LSU Athletics photo / LSU quarterbacks Garrett Nussmeier (5) and Max Johnson (14) and the rest of the Tigers have been practicing this week at NRG Stadium in Houston after leaving Baton Rouge last Saturday night ahead of Hurricane Ida.

Unfortunately, it's becoming easier to list the LSU football seasons that haven't been affected by a natural disaster.

Ed Orgeron's Tigers enter this year looking to bounce back from last season's 5-5 plummet that followed the 15-0 national championship run the year before. LSU will open its season with a tricky test at UCLA this Saturday night, with the Tigers having left Baton Rouge this past Saturday night for Houston in order to avoid Sunday's arrival of Hurricane Ida.

"Our thoughts and our prayers go out to our great fans in the state of Louisiana," Orgeron said Wednesday on the opening Southeastern Conference teleconference of the season. "Guys in south Louisiana were hit pretty hard, but our guys are safe, and that's what is important. We came here to Houston, and the Houston Texans have been very, very nice to us. They have given us NRG Stadium, and we're staying at a Hyatt Regency.

"Everybody is treating us great, and our families are safe, so thank God for all of that."

LSU somehow won the SEC's Western Division title in 2005, when the Tigers were greeted by both Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita at the start of that season, and this week's relocation to Houston marks the fourth time in the past six years that a hurricane has altered the program's plans. Hurricane Matthew in 2016 resulted in the Florida-LSU rivalry moving from Gainesville to Baton Rouge, and it was Hurricane Harvey the following year that switched LSU's opener against Brigham Young from Houston to New Orleans.

Last year, the LSU-Missouri contest was moved from Baton Rouge to Columbia due to Hurricane Delta.

"The players and the coaches have handled it great," Orgeron said. "It was a long trip coming over here, but we got some rest on Sunday. Our accommodations have been great. It's been like a bowl trip, and our team has been focused.

"We're kind of in our own little protective cocoon here, so it's been good."

Orgeron was happy to point out that every in-state player on his roster has been able to get in touch with his family.

"Some of their houses are really damaged and a lot of them needed to be displaced in hotels," Orgeron said, "but for the most part, everybody is fine."

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Staff photo by Troy Stolt / UTC football coach Rusty Wright calls a timeout during a SoCon game against Wofford on Feb. 27 at Finley Stadium.

Pasquali's Pix

Austin Peay at UTC: The Mocs have never lost to the Governors through six series meetings, and that's not about to change. Mocs 30, Governors 19.

Bowling Green at Tennessee: The Volunteers finally get to run through the Power T after months of running through the NCAA transfer portal. Vols 45, Falcons 14.

Alabama vs. Miami: Nick Saban is 14-0 in season openers with the Crimson Tide with 14 double-digit wins. Who wants to bet against that? Crimson Tide 38, Hurricanes 13.

Akron at Auburn: Some people think college football is out of whack when Saban makes $9.3 million. How about when Akron's Tom Arth, who has a 1-17 record with the Zips since leaving Chattanooga, makes $500,000 to Anthony Fauci's $434,000? Tigers 48, Zips 7.

ETSU at Vanderbilt: The Commodores haven't won since defeating ETSU on Nov. 23, 2019. Commodores 33, Buccaneers 14.

Clemson vs. Georgia: Nothing like an early season Talent Bowl. These teams possess a combined 29 former five-star signees. Bulldogs 23, Tigers 20.

Northern Illinois at Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets haven't lost at home on a Saturday night since getting upset by Georgia in 2009. Yellow Jackets 31, Huskies 16.

LSU at UCLA: Orgeron on sophomore quarterback Max Johnson: "He's learning how to stay in the pocket. He's learning his reads. I just hope he finds Kayshon Boutte. Then he'll be fine." Tigers 26, Bruins 24.

Other picks:

Ohio State 34, Minnesota 17

North Carolina 27, Virginia Tech 20

Duke 26, Charlotte 23

Kentucky 45, Louisiana-Monroe 16

Arkansas 38, Rice 9

Mississippi State 41, Louisiana Tech 22

Missouri 43, Central Michigan 14

South Carolina 40, Eastern Illinois 11

Florida 52, Florida Atlantic 9

Texas A&M 49, Kent State 8

Ole Miss 35, Louisville 26

Oklahoma 48, Tulane 21

Wisconsin 24, Penn State 23

Oregon 42, Fresno State 24

MTSU 51, Monmouth 9

Memphis 56, Nicholls 7

Notre Dame 30, Florida State 19

Last week:

Winners — 0

Frosts — 0

Pasquali is 0-0 so far this season.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524. Follow him on Twitter @DavidSPaschall.

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