Some quick thoughts on LSU Football at lunch from The Chimes bar near campus...
Twenty years ago marked the first SEC Championship Game in league history. The LSU Tigers weren't there. Hardly. As a matter of fact, LSU's only relevance was how absolutely terrible the team was.
Shortly before Alabama defeated Florida 28-21 at Legion Field in Birmingham to win the conference crown, head coach Curley Hallman and his Tigers had just completed the most abysmal season in the modern day history of the program. LSU needed a 24-12 victory over Tulane on Nov. 21 to snap a seven-game losing streak in a game played before an announced crowd of 59,919 in Tiger Stadium. The Tigers finished a horrific 2-9 overall and 1-7 in SEC play.
LSU failed to land a single player on the All-SEC first team and got just two on the second team (Bo Davis & Kevin Mawae). As esteemed local sports writer Scott Rabalais recently told his 16-year old son, who is also an LSU fan, "Boy, you have no idea. You REALLY have no idea."
After winning only three SEC titles from 1963-2000, LSU has now captured four conference crowns in roughly a decade. As a matter of fact, the Tigers did a new impression of the "Honey Badger" Saturday, while still burying the Georgia Bulldogs 42-10 in Atlanta.
You know the part of the original YouTube video, in which the Honey Badger "gets stung by the cobra," then proceeds to take a sustained nap on it's back? That's basically what LSU did in the first half against the Bulldogs last Saturday, evidenced by the 12 yards of total offense and seven consecutive three-and-outs before intermission.
Yet, just like the now famous animal in the video, the Tigers awakened with authoritative vengeance to shred the rival to pieces.
In 2003, I can remember referring to the LSU/Oklahoma BCS Championship in New Orleans as "a once in a lifetime experience." Talk about crying wolf. Who would've ever envisioned the Tigers would return to the national championship game in 2007 and again in 2011, with both games falling in the Superdome again. LSU defeated the Sooners 21-14 in '03 and then blasted Ohio State 38-24 just four years later.
Now, it's "Bring on Bama." Yes, again. That's a whole other column. Could Nick Saban have been more nauseating than he was Sunday night?
Ok, I'm "Moving on...chill out."
Our sportscasts at WAFB-TV have become pretty predictable this week, haven't they? We are going to lead off with some Tiger winning some "Player of the Year" award, whether it's an SEC or national honor. Not to mention the Tigers dominating the All-SEC teams.
Sophomore Tyrann Mathieu and junior Mo Claiborne have simply dominated such awards, bringing even more national respect to an LSU program that's always been built on defense. Charlie Mac must've smiled Thursday night when Mathieu and Claiborne racked up again in Orlando.
And, Coach Mac probably also grinned, seeing once lampooned LSU head coach Les Miles be named "Home Depot's National Coach of the Year." Even as Miles won early in his LSU career, there were always questions about his legitmacy and ability to sustain. Simply put, bombs seemed to always be going off around the man.
But, Miles has roared back from a 17-9 mark over the '08 and '09 season and a shaky start in '10 to settle in with startling success this season. He's never been more comfortable, his assistant coaches have never been stronger and neither has his team. Damn strong.
So, enjoy these 13-0, No. 1 ranked LSU Tigers, a team that's beaten eight Top-25 teams this year. They've destroyed 10 of their opponents by 20 points or more. It really has been a blast. At least, since August.
And, what about that old saying, "It Never Rains in Tiger Stadium?" We know that line has always been dripping with sarcasm, as evidenced by the monsoons for Miami in '88, UL-Monroe in '03 and Oregon State in '04 to name just name a few.
But, ask yourself this question. Has it rained one drop in Death Valley this year? How about for any of LSU's road games? The perfect team has without a doubt been complimented by perfect weather.
By the way, watch ESPN Saturday night. Mathieu is a finalist for the Heisman Trophy. Who knows? He might take what he wants...again.
Welcome to LSU. Welcome to Football Fantasyland.
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