"Les Miles can't beat good teams anymore."
"Les Miles can't beat Nick Saban."
"Les Miles' teams collapse in November."
"Les Miles' teams fall apart after a loss."
"[Insert mythical argument against Les Miles/LSU here]."
Forgive me while I indulge in a sweet, sweet win tonight. I could write a whole column over the endless amounts of criticism I've read from media, rivals and most unfortunately, many of our own fans, regarding the state of LSU football and how we're falling into mediocrity under Les Miles. But let's be honest, those people don't deserve that much credit. Those of us who continued to believe (call it "Delusional Optimism" if you must, though I doubt the "delusional" aspect more and more each week), can pour another beer, dance another jig and enjoy this one all night long. But for those on the border, perhaps you can relate to Michael Corleone tonight:
More after the jump...Rueben Randle just knifed through the Alabama secondary again...
What more is there to say? I remained confident all week long that LSU would win this game (and I think I remained in a minority on that front). I only faulted on my stance after a porous first half showing from our offense and my beer doubts began to kick in. Maybe... maybe... maybe... and then WHAM! 75 yards of instant offense. The greatest offensive kick start in the history of LSU football. Suddenly, we were a different team.
Enough kudos can't go around to Jordan Jefferson for standing tall, enduring criticism and stepping up to play his best game of the season today. To Jarrett Lee for playing poorly in his opportunities only to rally and make his biggest throw at the biggest moment to help ice the game for LSU. To Gary Crowton for doing whatever the hell he did to help the LSU offense pick it up this week (I still would like to see him elsewhere this offseason). To Stevan Ridley for running hard and tough and mean, just like he has all year. To Rueben Randle, Terrence Toliver, Russell Shepard and DeAngelo Peterson for making some big plays at key moments. To the offensive line for standing up in the 2nd half and blocking like men. We came to play today, and it was nice to finally see us play up to our potential.
Games like this are why you love LSU, and you love the SEC. Physical, tough, hard-nosed football that comes right down to the wire. We're play some grass-eating, de-cleating, bourbon drinking football. And I wouldn't have it any other way. Les Miles had it right post game... take a look around, it just doesn't get any better than this.
Slowly, one by one, Les Miles rips down the bricks of the imaginary wall of disdain which has been created for him. It's easy to poke at his idiocy. When you aren't winning, it's easy for the fans to rally against you. As Kelvin Sheppard said, "We're tired of all the bullshit they talk about you." Is Les Miles lucky? I will say this: If Les is lucky, then I want his genes, because the repeated and continual "luck" which follows him around is unprecedented.
Perhaps I'm jumping too far ahead, but could I actually be excited to see what the LSU offense can do going forward? Suddenly Jordan Jefferson seems to have that confidence back that made us love to call him "Jefferswag." He made plays today, repeatedly. He played with emotion. He played with character. Could a rejuvenated Jefferson kick this offense into high gear? Let's hope so.
There's a whole cast of heroes today... offense... defense... special teams... coaches. But the enduring theme of this team is just that... team. We did it together. When the defense fell down, the offense picked them up today. When the offense struggled, the defense stood tall. When both of those units couldn't come through, the special teams said "we got this." Our coaches put together a great game plan. Our players came out with their asses on fire and played with a spark. If you didn't enjoy that one... check your pulse. Oh and did I mention we did it minus three starters, including our best offensive lineman and half our secondary?
What does this mean going forward? I wish I could tell you. I stand by my feeling that Auburn is the best team in the country. I doubt they go down, but nothing would shock me. Oregon is rolling up points at a ridiculous rate. LSU, we're currently on the outside looking in, but the ever-changing landscape of college football, everything could be different next week. My dream scenario: 1) LSU wins out (obviously). 2) Auburn wins out (shocking, I know). 3) Oregon, Boise State, TCU (and whoever else in our way) loses. 4) Auburn/LSU re-match for all the marbles. Wouldn't that be just helluvalottafun?
Oh yeah... and can't forget this: