Pretend for a moment you are JC Copeland. OK, smash a few people in the head and bend their facemasks into unrecognizable shapes, just because you can, to get that out of your system. There's a point to this exercise, but you're not going to pretend you are the best fullback in the nation and not knock some poor fool unconscious. I'll wait...
Ok, pretend for another moment you are JC Copeland. You are entering your senior season at LSU, and many of your fellow recruiting classmates have already gone off to the NFL. But consider what your teams have accomplished in your three year career so far:
A 34-6 record, 20-4 in the SEC. You've won an SEC title and your teams have been consistently ranked among the top teams in the country. Oh, and you've gone 2-2 against Alabama, your biggest rival right now.
You amassed this gaudy record against incredibly difficult schedules. In your three years, LSU has only lost one game to a team that did not go to a BCS bowl, and that was a top 10 Clemson team that needed a 4th down miracle in the final minute to pull the upset in the Peach Bowl. Over the past three seasons, only one other program in the country has only lost one game to a team that did not go to a BCS Bowl, and they play in Eugene, Oregon.
Apply the same criteria to Alabama. The Tide has gone 35-5, 19-5 in the SEC. The Tide have won one SEC title, the same number as LSU in this span, and they also went 2-2 in the LSU-Bama series. Bama has lost three games to non-BCS bowl teams.
Of course, Alabama has those two national titles which sort of stands out on the resume. But teams can't really control everything that goes into winning a title, and both Bama title teams lost a game in November and needed a lot of luck to make the final game. But based on actual on-field results, Copeland and his fellow seniors have played every bit as well as the Tide.
Despite their near identical performances, the two programs are treated entirely differently. Alabama gets called the Best Dynasty Ever, while LSU gets ranked sixth among SEC team's in the preseason AP poll. Including behind an A&M team LSU beat last year, and finished ahead of in the SEC despite a tougher schedule.
If you're JC Copeland, exactly how pissed off should this make you on a scale of one to ten? Eleven?
Other teams think they can compete with Bama. LSU knows it. The proof is in the pudding. LSU has a better SEC record over the past three seasons, and that's not even factoring in the unbalanced schedules.
This LSU senior class has no illusions. Life isn't fair. Every team likes to play the "No One Respects Us" card, but this team can actually justify it. They keep winning hands despite a stacked deck, and then everyone dismisses the accomplishment. And then they look across the conference and see the national kissing booth set up for the Tide, to say nothing of the A&M hype machine?
The Payback Tour starts now.
Some programs get things handed to them. Some are born on third base and think they hit a triple. And some have to fight and claw for every bit of grudging respect. That's what makes us strong, and that's why we play smash mouth football. We don't just want to beat you, we want to beat on you.
It's time to chew bubble gum and kick some ass. And we're all out of bubblegum.
Delusional Optimism is coming.