In 2017, the LSU Tigers hit a point that hadn’t been felt since 2000: They lost to a Group of 5 school. A horror movie for fans, LSU didn’t even score in until there were 19 minutes left in the game. The murmurs of LSU fans who were uneasy about the Coach O hire rose to a deafening roar, calling for a firing. What followed were arguably two of the biggest wins in LSU history — a 17-16 win at Florida, and a 20 point comeback against eventual SEC West champion, Auburn. Coach O, kept his job, but he realizes the importance of that three game stretch.
Every fan knows the rest of the story, Coach O fired Matt Canada, promoted Steve Ensminger, recruited a relatively unknown graduate transfer named Joe Burrow and this year hired an absolutely unknown wunderkind named Joe Brady. The Troy game of 2017 feels like a distant memory.
This season, LSU has been on a march. We squashed the inkling that Texas could be back. We beat Vanderbilt, and drank Nashville dry. We beat Florida and Auburn, two teams with great defenses, who still surrendered 500 yards to LSU’s offense, a feat that five years ago would have seemed impossible. LSU finally beat Alabama. A curse had finally been lifted. Then came Georgia and Oklahoma, two great teams that never stood a chance.
While the body of work speaks for itself, there was doubt. After Ole Miss tore through a banged up LSU defense, when the game was not in doubt, the national media decided that LSU’s defense was a problem. Since then, they’ve quieted the doubters with three dominant performances to close the season out.
LSU’s next opponent, is trying to convince themselves that they are not respected, that they are the underdogs. The weak schedule has not done them any favors, but a team that found a way to win vs. Ohio State is dangerous. Vegas finds LSU to be 5.5 point favorites over a team that is searching for their 30th straight win.
But this season has never been about opponents, it’s been about LSU. LSU will play anyone, anywhere. This season has been about the whole team winning. It hasn’t been about style points, it hasn’t been about proving the haters wrong, it’s been about winning games for each other and for the state of Louisiana. It’s one team, one heartbeat.