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Must-win and trap games of 2017: LSU Tigers

The most important game on the Tigers' annual slate will be the Alabama game until further notice. Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports

There are 12 regular-season games, but they’re not all created equal.

To help get prepared for next season, we’re looking at every SEC team’s must-win and trap games.

Next up is LSU.

Must-win game: Nov. 4 at Alabama. There are lots of important games on LSU’s schedule, but the most important game on the Tigers’ annual slate will be the Alabama game until further notice. LSU’s feisty performance in a 10-0 loss to the Crimson Tide last year played a factor in interim coach Ed Orgeron’s earning the job in a full-time capacity. It’s fine to put up a good fight, but the point of the game is to win -- and LSU has not won this game since the 2011 regular season. That stretch of six straight losses coincides with the time that Alabama has emerged as the SEC’s preeminent program and LSU has slipped to also-ran status. If LSU is to become a legitimate threat to Alabama’s throne, it starts with making this rivalry more competitive.

Trap game: Nov. 11 vs. Arkansas. Maybe LSU exorcised its Arkansas demons last year by running wild in a 38-10 win in Fayetteville. That said, playing Bret Bielema’s tough team the week after an emotional showdown with Alabama -- the trend on LSU’s schedule since 2014 -- isn’t much fun. It’s even less fun this year because it falls between November road trips to Alabama and Tennessee. Pounding the Razorbacks last season was great and all, but let’s see Orgeron’s team sustain it. Arkansas pounded LSU in both 2014 and 2015 the week after the Tigers’ losses to the Crimson Tide.