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Delusional Optimism is a Myth

And so it begins

Missouri v LSU
I’m pondering my fate, Poseur.
Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

According to Greek myth, Hercules killed his family after being driven mad by Hera, queen of the gods. To atone for his actions, Pythia, the Oracle at Delphi, instructed Hercules to serve King Eurystheus for twelve years and perform any labor instructed of him, known as the Twelve Labors of Hercules. For this penance, he would be granted immortality.

By contrast, Coach O’s labors seem pretty darn manageable, though his crimes were admittedly not as severe. All he has to do is beat five ranked teams in succession to win the SEC title and possibly the job of his dreams, the permanent head coaching job at LSU. This is how he may earn his own immortality.

Like Hercules, Orgeron’s labors will require him to travel far from home, including the entrance to the Netherworld (as we call it these days, College Station). However, he also gets to enjoy the opportunity to begin his labors at home.

Ole Miss, traditionally, is LSU’s biggest rival. Even when the Rebels stink, which has been more often than not in my lifetime, there is a residual hatred of the Rebels that is passed down from fathers to sons and mothers to daughters. Even if you do not hate Ole Miss with all of your heart, know that your father did, and his father before him. Do it for them.

Coach O got off to a great start, winning two games by a combined score of 87-17. Sure, LSU wasn’t playing the 86 Bears or anything, but 87-17 is 87-17. His teams have come out and absolutely lit up the opposition so far. But that was just the warm up, now comes the live target.

Orgeron certainly has the motivation to beat the heck out of his former employer though, to be fair, Ole Miss has more right to be mad at him than the other way around. There’s not a whole lot positive you can say about his tenure other than he got to appear in The Blind Side. Still, everyone likes to show their old boss up, so Orgeron has that extra bounce in his step this week.

Or it could be the fact that Ole Miss sports one of the worst defenses in the SEC. Ole Miss ranks 14th in the conference in total defense, and 11th in yards/play at 5.58. Even more encouraging, Ole Miss’ biggest weakness is run defense, allowing over 200 yards/game and 4.7 yards/carry. They don’t fare much better in the advanced stats, ranking 12th in the SEC in Defensive S&P+.

Oh, and look. LSU’s own version of Hercules returns to the gridiron this weekend as well. If you didn’t have the best run defense in the world, the last thing you want to see is both Derrius Guice and Leonard Fournette in the opposing backfield.

However, the tasks only get more difficult from here. Alabama looms large on the schedule, and the Tide are delivering absolute beatdowns to everyone in their path. And thanks the hurricane rescheduling, LSU will close the season with three games in thirteen days, two of them on the road.

If Orgeron wants this job, all he has to do is the impossible. No cleaning of a stable necessary. He just needs to beat five ranked teams in succession, and carry this team off into football immortality. No big deal. It’s just half of what Hercules had to do.

Besides, there were originally only ten Labors, but Hercules had to perform two more at Pythia’s request. Coach O wouldn’t mind having two more labors added to his schedule either.

Two blowout wins over hapless foes are nice, but it takes more than that to earn the powers of Delusional Optimism. Send Ole Miss back to hell, and then maybe we can fire up the Coach O bandwagon at D.O. headquarters. Respect, like immortality, must be earned.

The first step of that journey is this weekend.