Who would have guessed it. Ten years ago this fall, LSU was coming off one of its most disappointing seasons in history and heading into an unforseen disastrous one. The 1998 Tigers started the season ranked sixth in the country but stumbled to a 4-7 record, losing close game after close game, sometimes in unconceivable fashion. The 1999 season was supposed to be the rebound year. Savior Josh Booty (I think I just threw up in my mouth for typing that) was finally in purple and gold, Rondell Mealey was back for a senior season and the defense couldn't be that bad again. Could it? Well, no, I'll still stand up for the Lou Tepper-run defense in 1999. Yes, his 1998 abomination was miserable to watch, but it wasn't his fault LSU had one of the worst offensive lines ever in 1999 and lost four games where it held teams to fewer than 24 points. I still don't know how we lost to Mississippi State that year. We would go 1-11 and the Bulldogs would go 11-1 and we'd still beat them (PS - I was at the 1999 game, whoever "scored" the winning touchdown did not cross the plane.).
Those were my freshman and sophomore years under the oaks. It was hard to watch and wonder if things were ever going to get better. You could have never imagined the next decade and where the program would be 10 years later. LSU has won two national championships, three SEC titles, four BCS bowl games and has won at least 10 games five times. Not even the most ardent Tiger fan would have claimed any of that would have happened over a 10-year stretch during the 70s or 80s, much less the 90s. I remember being exited about thrashing Nick Saban-led Michigan State in the Poulon Weedeater Independence Bowl in 1995. At the time, 7-5 was a freaking dream season.
Nowadays, people, including the strongest Tiger supporters, will tell you Les Miles is on the hot seat and a 7-5 year could lead to him being burned in effigy from the beautiful oaks in the quad. You could make the case that LSU is the Program of the Decade. You probably wouldn't find too many people to agree with you, but you could make the argument. As of now, they're at least the POTD in the SEC, unless Florida can steal away the title with another conference crown this year.
LSU. Program of the Decade. The best team in the SEC over the last 10 years. Not Alabama. Not Tennessee or Georgia. Not Florida. It's been such a great time to be a Tiger fan that sometimes it's easy to forget how far we've come and where we used to be. Every once in a while, reflection is a necessary evil to remind ourselves.