There’s nothing quite like the pure hope Signing Day can bring. Every player is a blank sheet of paper, ready for us to write their story upon. All we can see right now are the blue skies ahead. Tiger fans all over have been, dare I say, almost universally positive. Les Miles brought it all home by saying this is a group that will contend for a national title.
No one tried to correct him. Even in the darkest corners of the Tiger Nation, where negativity seeps out of pore, there seems to be hope and joy. LSU fans are buying in and beginning, once again, to believe in good things.
Delusional Optimism is on the ascent, y’all.
This is fantastic recruiting class, but at the end of the day, it’s not that different from last year. We brought in a bunch of blue chip prospects last year who filled a whole bunch of needs, and you didn’t see the same kind effusive praise coming from anyone with an LSU t-shirt in their closet. Something is different this year, and it’s not just the players coming in. There’s always great players coming in.
The big difference is with LSU fans themselves. We’ve come around the corner and let ourselves believe again. Les Miles can talk about national championships and we are here, ready to buy in. Anything seems possible right now because we are finally ready to believe in hope again.
There’s no way to deny that the 2012 BCSCG cast a black cloud over the program. It shouldn’t have, it really was just one game, but we’ve been stuck on that day for so damn long, unable to move on. It prevented us from living in the present, and maybe fully enjoying the best offense we’ve had in almost a decade.
We were waiting for the other shoe to drop.
That’s the problem with hope. If you believe in things and get your hopes up, the odds are pretty good you’re going to see those hopes dashed. Only one team gets to win that crystal football, so if you’re setting goal as the title or misery, well… misery is almost certainly going to win. LSU got so close to the national championship, and it was cruelly, some say unfairly, taken away. Might Casey struck out.
Almost every event since then has been cast in the light of that game. The wins haven’t mattered, just the losses. The great recruits haven’t mattered, just the ones who got away. Worse than that, the game really has seemed rigged against us. LSU has been fighting the Narrative, and as we’ve learned, you can’t beat the Narrative. It’s like we keep trying to play a game that’s already in the books. You can’t change the result.
Something changed late last season. LSU fans had gotten in the bad habit of defining the season by one game, the Alabama game. Losing to Ole Miss sucked, but it also showed to us that the whole season matters. After losing big to Alabama, the team didn’t pack it in. They rallied and played their best football right after. The fans bought in and rediscovered that there are only 12 games in a year, perhaps we should enjoy all of them.
I don’t want to say LSU bottomed out, because we came nowhere near that. Ask USC about bottoming out. Or Texas. Or Auburn, even though they bounced right back. There are many worse fates than winning 10 games.
It wasn’t bottoming out, but it wasn’t contending for the national title. It was worse than 2011. No one wants to hear a fanbase complain about losing in the championship game. You know how many fans would kill for that "lack of success?"
There wasn’t a specific moment, but it seems like LSU fans finally moved on this year. We stopped looking backwards and started looking forwards. 1/2 happened and the old negativity came spewing out, just like a reflex. But instead of dwelling on that "horrible" day on which the nation’s top prospect committed to LSU, we looked forward. The staff didn’t mope, they doubled down their efforts on bringing in different blue chip athletes into the fold.
Signing Day was fun not just because a bunch of really great players signed on to don the purple and gold. It was great because the LSU fanbase stopped their whining and started believing in the future again. We stopped defining ourselves in context by whatever Alabama was doing. Sure, Bama had a great class, but who cares? We care about our great players.
We care about our future. We care about hope. We care about the next national title. We care about our Delusional Optimism. Tomorrow starts today.
Believe. It’s more fun that way.