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Delusional Optimism Is Not Disappointed

Fox Sports currently ranks LSU as the "fifth most disappointing team" in the country.  Here's what they say:

The Tigers are 2-0, but it took the NCAA's microscope to neutralize their first opponent (North Carolina) and the best possible draw from the SEC East (Vanderbilt) to get them there. As luck would have it, their next two games are against Mississippi State and West Virginia, two teams that have floundered so far this season. Is Les Miles really this lucky? No. Alabama, Arkansas and Auburn should get three L's for the Mad Hatter and put him officially on the hot seat.

As the founder of the Delusional Optimism campaign here at ATVS, I'm officially sick of this crap.  It's not that Fox Sports, an entity that has consistently proven through their horrid bowl game coverage that they know less than nothing about college football, is ripping on LSU.  It's that this is a consensus view. 

The dominant storyline on LSU is always the most negative one the media can find.  Is it because ESPN Fox Alabama bloggers the Illuminati the Eastern Media Conspiracy everybody hates LSU?  Of course not.  It's because the media is lazy.  Once they find a storyline, or a meme, the media simply makes every fact fit that storyline.  And the media meme is that LSU isn't that good.

T Kyle King, a pretty bright guy and a great Georgia blogger who I'm positive has no anti-LSU agenda, left LSU off of his Blog Poll ballot.  Why?  Because LSU still has to prove something to be ranked.  Remember, LSU is a team that finished 3rd in the SEC last year, won 9 games, finished in the top 20 in every poll, and played in a January 1st bowl.  This year, all LSU has done is been one of two teams to beat two BCS teams in its first two games (and the only one to do win both of those games on the road).  Now, what exactly does LSU have to prove just to make the ballot?

And this is not to say Kyle is wrong.  He could very well be right.  Besides, he's absolutely entitled to rank whoever the hell he wants, so please don't read this an attack on his ballot - that is 100% not the point.  The point here is that a fairly neutral fan has an extremely negative impression of LSU, and I don't think his opinion is an outlier.  It fits the narrative. 

And it's a narrative LSU fans largely control.  LSU beat Vanderbilt by TWENTY FOUR points.  LSU fans have largely treated the game as a nail biter, and the nation at large has followed our lead.  Oh, but it was close in the third quarter?  Fine.  In the UNC game, LSU was beating the Heels by 20 points in the fourth quarter.  A young team lost focus and let UNC back in the game, needing a stop on the last play to seal a victory that, frankly, should have been sealed an hour before.  Was this portrayed as a young team letting a team off the mat (which is hardly a flattering narrative anyway)?  Of course not.  By and large, it's been portrayed as a nail biter as well, and many outlets stated that UNC outplayed LSU.  Which, I guess is true if you only watched the fourth quarter. 

However, the most negative storyline was adopted not just by the mainstream media and most neutral fans, but by LSU fans.  Think about how a 17-14 LSU win over Mississippi State, keyed by several drops by wide open receivers, would play in the media.  Think what the message boards would look like.  Hell, you don't have to imagine, take a gander at what they looked like last year.  Then contrast that with the largely positive reaction to Auburn's win over MSU. 

LSU is 11-4 over it's last 15 games.  There are eight BCS conference teams who have a better record over the same span.  Eight.  And one of them is Cincinnati, who just got pantsed by NC State.  Fifth most disappointing team in the country?

Only if you're disappointed by wins.  You want style points, go watch figure skating.