This post is sponsored by EA Sports NCAA Football 2011
OK, in typical LSU fashion, we were a bit late to the EA Sports party going on all over the SB Nation. Hey, who shows up ON TIME for a party? We're sorry about that. We brought beer.
Anyway, when picking out my favorite team, I could go the obvious route and choose one of the two national champion teams from the last decade. 2003, especially after a lifetime of fan suffering, was pretty sweet. And not to take anything away from the 2003 team, but winning that title was more about every person who has gone through the program and every fan who had followed the team for years. 2007 was the most stressful football year of my life. Winning the title was great, but I did not exactly enjoy that year. I'm naming my first ulcer after 2007.
No, my favorite LSU team was the 2005 "Katrina" team. On the one hand, LSU winning football games did not rebuild a single home or undue one bit of damage wrought by the one-two punch of Katrina and Rita. It is way too simplistic to say the LSU football team made everything better. They didn't. Nothing could. However, on the other hand, it is not an exaggeration to say that LSU football started the healing process. It gave something for all of us who love Louisiana to rally behind.
It also didn't hurt that the team was great.
It took forever for the season to start (in fact, LSU would only play two games in September), and LSU had to move its home opener to Tempe to play Arizona St. In a game that seemed like a lost cause, LSU rallied back behind several huge special teams plays and eventually won in spectacular (and controversial) last-second fashion. The team won because of missed field goals (Auburn) and in spite of them (Alabama).
LSU would only lose two games all year. One the second half collapse against Tennessee, which was primarily caused by the extreme circumstances surrounded the game. Players were sleeping on floots and the PMAC was still a makeshift hospital. The second loss was in the SEC Championship Game against Georgia, when the LSU team finally gave out after playing 12 weeks in a row. But what a run it was.
It was a team that made no excuses. It didn't whine and complain. It took devastating blows well outside its control, the whole LSU family did, and it was still standing at the end of the year. We all were. I firmly believe that without the hurricanes, that LSU team goes undefeated. It was the best LSU team I ever saw, and it didn't even get a New Years Day Bowl. From a karma standpoint, we were owed in 2007. And we paid Notre Dame back for squeezing us out the very next season.
At the end of the year, when the team finally had a relatively normal routine and the chance to catch its breath, it absolutely annihilated the #9 Miami Hurricanes. At the time, CFN declared it was the end of the Miami mystique. I almost felt sorry for them. After a year in which LSU was punished by nature and then the vagaries of the BCS (seriously, how did LSU end up in the Peach Bowl that year?), they had one game which finally felt fair. And Les Miles' boys unleashed hell, 40 to 3. It was a sight to see.
Like I said, it didn't make anything better, It wasn't a movie, it was real life. But they were our team and they carried the banner of all Louisiana. And they weren't just noble. They were awesome. I've never been more proud to call myself a Tiger.
EDIT by PodKATT: added from the comments, Still a great film