Barrett Jones wants to restore the natural order. Well, I got news for Mr. Jones, but LSU beating Alabama has been the natural order for over a decade now. Since 2000 (not coincidentally, after LSU canned Dinardo), LSU is 9-3 against Alabama.
Let that settle in. The players in the game on Monday can barely remember a time when Alabama dominated LSU, if they can remember it all. The era in which Alabama owned LSU was so long ago, Miami, Nebraska, and Florida St. were the dominant national powers, and Notre Dame was still good.
The "natural order" to which Mr. Jones referred is long since gone. It would be like a politician claiming the Solid South will vote Democrat like it used to. Alabama beating LSU is no more the natural order of things than Michigan owning Ohio St (and getting John Cooper fired).
It used to be popular for pundits in the 80s and 90s to call LSU a sleeping giant. Well, the giant woke up. If you think LSU is just going away, well, you must be dreaming.
Usually, in a rematch, the loser has a bit of a psychological edge. That's the team that lost something and now has the desire to get it back. It focuses practices and makes a team work that much harder to achieve their goals and show that the first game was just a fluke. The loser knows they have to get better, and they bust their ass to do so.
That's what it's like to be an LSU player under Les Miles every single day. LSU carries with it the reminder of every criticism, sling, or slander. These players have been so disrespected for so long by so many people, being underestimated is their state of nature.
This team never panics, always keeping its eye on the eventual goal. They play every game, every down, as if they have something to prove to their legions of professional doubters, many of them within their own fanbase. There were still LSU fans LAST YEAR openly talking about wanting to fire Miles.
This is a team that has been told repeatedly that their wins don't really count. They've been told that a 9-win season in which they finished 3rd in the SEC was "mediocre". They've heard their coach called lucky almost non-stop. They had only one player named preseason All-SEC and then after navigating the SEC unbeaten, they placed only four players on the postseason team... or the same number of players Alabama has on the All American team.
The constant criticism LSU has endured over the past few seasons can be summed up in this simple fact: Alabama is the Vegas favorite in the title game.
LSU put up a historically great regular season. They won the SEC, the toughest conference in America. In addition, LSU beat two BCS conference champions, the winners of the Rose and Orange Bowl respectively. LSU not only went unbeaten, but will have beaten three likely top five teams in the final poll. LSU has won all of their games save one by 13 points or more. Oh, and they beat Alabama on the road.
Yet here we are, underdogs again. Nothing has ever or will ever be handed to this team. Everything must be earned, sometimes more than once. That's the way we want it. This team doesn't ever back down from a challenge, it embraces them.
Toughest conference in America? No problem, let's throw in two brutal OOC games. Lose our best offensive lineman before the season? Everyone else will step up. Offensive coordinator diagnosed with Parkison's? Just another thing that binds the team into a family. Have to win the Game of the Century twice? No problem.
This team has been doubted every step of the way for the past two seasons. Well, the bill is coming due on Monday night. This team has to go out and prove itself one more time. We wouldn't have it any other way.
When the stakes are the highest, Delusional Optimism doubles down on Les Miles. Nothing is going to be handed to this team, so let's go take it. Now is our time. Let's remove all doubt. Let's confirm the new natural order.