The BYU Cougars and the LSU Tigers will convene at NGR Stadium in Houston for the fifth edition of the AdvoCare Texas Kickoff, which the latter are favored by college football sportsbooks to win.
- Date: Saturday, 2nd September
- Time: 9:35 PM
- Venue: NRG Stadium, Houston TX
Sportsbook NCAA football lines:
BYU +12½ (-110) +380
LSU -12½ (-110) -475
BYU says BYE, BYE to Francis Bernard
The Cougars announced on Thursday that linebacker Francis Bernard is going to redshirt the 2017 season “for personal reasons” (perhaps he’s bummed that his name is too common-sounding compared to most of his teammates?).
— BYU FOOTBALL (@BYUfootball) August 17, 2017
Bernard “will continue to participate in all team practices, meetings and activities during the upcoming season,” but will not play – which will force BYU to rethink their defense. “It sucks that he has to redshirt,” senior linebacker Fred Warner said (somewhere Tasha Yar is thinking, “tell me about it!”). “Francis is my boy,” Warner added. He is? How long have you been in college? Bernard had 80 tackles and two sacks last season. Next-in-line-on-the-depth-chart junior Adam Pulsipher is expected to take over the starting position. Additionally, freshman Isaiah Kaufusi and junior Morgan Unga as well as safeties Matt Hadley and Chaz Ah You (bless you!) may all have to chip in to fill the gap left by Bernard. “I think we have a lot of guys who can play there,” head coach Kalani Sitake said. “The fact that [Bernard] is still around means we will still have his presence here and we lift each other up,” Warner said. Bernard will be a junior when he returns next year.
Coach lost the gold key to the crapper
The college football sportsbook gods must’ve decided to level the playing field because the Tigers will be out a linebacker too – one who happens to excel at pass rushing.
Head coach Ed Orgeron is “not expecting” Arden Key to play against BYU due to a shoulder surgery from which the junior is still recovering. Unlike Bernard, though, there is hope that Key will return within this season. “He is going through some walk through stuff and today he had his pads on,” Orgeron said. “He is stepping through stuff and using his hands and he does some pass rush moves, but he is not taking any contact.” In the meantime freshman Ray Thornton and freshman K’Lavon Chaisson are both expected to play Saturday, 2nd September as they compete for the spot. Freshman Andre Anthony is out of the race following a minor injury in camp. And speaking of competition, the battle for the LSU starting quarterback gig may have just become a three-horse race. True freshman Myles Brennan – who enrolled during the summer – has the skills to give incumbent Danny Etling a run for his money, but Lowell Narcisse’s running prowess may have given him an unexpected edge. “Lowell never took a snap from under center,” Orgeron said. He last played an entire season as a high school sophomore, recording over 4,500 total yards and 51 touchdowns rushing and passing, but knee injuries sidelined him for most of his junior and all of his senior year. Either Narcisse or Brennan starting over Etling would be what college football sportsbooks call an upset, but as Orgeron said, “it’s not over yet.”