"What's even the point?"
I found myself asking myself this question a lot lately. I love LSU. I love college football. The entire point of watching both is simply to enjoy. I have no say in the matter. I'm not a coach. I'm not a booster. I'm not a bag man. The slightest impact I can possibly make is writing a few words that a player or recruit might see and use for motivation. Even that's a stretch. All of this means, I have no stake in the game. Other than my emotions. Which I routinely put on the line only to be broken again and again.
And really, this is sports. This happens to every fan base, almost every year. Hell, it happened to all-consuming Bama, just last year. Stepping away from the ledge, yes, I do get it, that we have it pretty good. LSU has won two national titles since 2000. They've played for another. They've won four SEC Championships too. By any standard, that puts us amongst the very elite in college football. These are all very good things.
Yet, I'm forced to face with the fact that we've now lost five consecutive games to the same opponent. Albeit a great opponent. Three of which, we were absolutely manhandled. The other two, we mentally and physically folded and allowed defeat to be snatched from the jaws of victory. Add to that consecutive losses to an Arkansas team that has neither a talent advantage, nor quality of play on their side.
Expectations are a weighty thing. LSU, for better or worse, has brought much of this onto themselves through the merits of their accomplishments. When you win championships with regularity, recruit at an elite level, and annually produce NFL-level talents, it's unsurprising your fans would continue to expect more of the same.
"When did this all stop being fun?"
That is the point, right? I mean, say what you will, and people have certainly tried to make football into some spiritual life metamorphosizing institution, but football is really just entertainment. It's live action and there's a lot of money behind it, but entertainment it is indeed.
Since January 9, 2012, a black cloud seems to have hovered over this program. In the days following that defeat, I penned this piece, "The Sky is Falling Upward" which is a tone you probably have forgotten you've heard from me. In that, I write:
Believe it or not, we're not falling impossibly behind Alabama, if at all. The present is bright. The future, even brighter.
So, what's changed? Well, there's a lot of failure. LSU has lost 13 games in 3 and 3/4ths seasons since then. Not a single person on the current roster has ever beaten Alabama. The passing offense, which proved to perpetually trouble our team through the days of Jefferson and Lee now doesn't look like an isolated incident of a couple QB recruiting misses. Short of one good season, it's been the same generally ineffective attack. We endured arguably the worst season under Miles' watch. It's hard to continue to believe promises of improvement and change when they never come to fruition.
LSU's goal is the National Title. Every year. No? I think our coach would say so. Is that being spoiled rotten? Shouldn't I be happy our program hasn't descended into futility and hired 3 different coaches in the 11 years? Shouldn't I be happy that LSU played in a national title game just four seasons ago, and won 10 games just two season ago? But I'm not. For some reason it's not fun to play in the Music City Bowl or the Capital One Bowl. Does that make me spoiled? Maybe. But isn't it the standard they've set for themselves?
When do expectations become unreasonable? I'd say many Alabama fans expectations are reasonable. Even Saban took time to address this. I mean, really?
The counter point to this is that LSU is likely ahead of where most of us expected this season. At least we think so, at this point. I think most expected a couple losses, maybe three. Still entirely within the realm of possibility. LSU is a young team. In fact, one of the youngest in the nation.
Is LSU poorly coached? Should we fire Cam Cameron? Kevin Steele? Bradley Dale Peveto? Les, even?
It's not wrong to ask these questions. Questions are good. We should always ask questions. They make us dig deeper and think harder about the things we think we know. For every strike we can make against Les, there's several in his favor.
LSU is likely ahead of where most of us expected this season. At least we think so, at this point. I think most expected a couple losses, maybe three. Still entirely within the realm of possibility. LSU is a young team. In fact, one of the youngest in the nation. Getting beat down twice isn't fun, but if LSU finishes 10-2 or even 9-3, that's improvement. LSU just reeled in another highly ranked recruiting class and are currently sporting the nation's top class with a handful of pending 5-stars still on the board. Most importantly, Miles has won. A lot. For a long time. He wins so often and with such regularity that we have to parse his victories into "unimpressive performances" to try to mount a case for his failures.
I don't know the answers. Changes are likely coming. Of what variety, I'm not sure. Will they be the right ones or sufficient? I don't know.
After all this, we're left in the same position we've been all along. With more questions than answers.
When can this all be fun again?