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The First Rule of Delusional Optimism Is...

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There are no moral victories

Mississippi v LSU
I want to see these faces against Bama
Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything.

-Tyler Durden

There is a certain freedom in this year’s Alabama game. I mean, it’s not like a loss to Bama can ruin the season or anything. This season has already been weird enough at is, coming into this game with even a snowball’s chance in hell of winning the SEC feels like a win.

There’s nothing to lose in this year’s game, which is both a positive and a negative. The positive is that we’re playing with house money, and there isn’t a whole lot of pressure on the players and coaches to win this one. Coach O isn’t gonna lose the head coaching job this weekend. On the other hand, it’s a pretty big negative as to why there’s no pressure.

And while it’s fun to kick this off with a Fight Club quote and pretend we’re going in on full Team anarchy, let’s be entirely clear: Tyler Durden was full of shit. He was the (SPOILER ALERT) paranoid delusion of a man who had lost touch with reality. He wasn’t a hero, kids.

If LSU wins this game, it is one of the best wins for this program in recent years, and we’re suddenly in the driver’s seat to win the SEC. Which would be a remarkable turnaround considering where this season was headed back in September. Lose? Well, lose and pretty much everyone in town will chalk this up as a mulligan. Alabama will continue its inevitable march to yet another title, strangling all of the fun out of the sport along the way, and LSU can still rebound over the last three games to maybe win Coach O the full-time job.

That seems to be the general feeling coming from LSU fans this week. A win would be cool, great even, but no one will be all that put out by a loss. Well, this is just like the swill Tyler Durden was selling: it’s all lies. This is loser talk. Stop it, right damned now.

This is a life and death struggle for the very soul of college football, and it didn’t stop just because we decided to send the Hat out of town. It still falls to the Tiger Faithful to stop the Red Menace and their soul-sucking attack on college football fun. I bet they even plan out activities down to the half hour for their tailgates to keep people involved and focused on the process.

It’s not okay if Alabama wins. It’s never okay when Alabama wins. They are the epitome of evil, so much so that they seem to enjoy just how bland they are. This is still an all-out war on fun, and we still have an English-garbling crazy guy in charge of the program, ready to party for our right to fight.

LSU comes into this game needing only an Auburn loss to control its own destiny in the SEC race, and we’re talking about how it’s not a big deal if we lose? About how there’s nothing really at stake? Forget that noise. Everything is at stake. Even if an SEC title wasn’t still on the line, our pride is on the line. We stand for something, and it’s not a shrug of the shoulders and a mumbled “whatever.” We stand for fun, food, and sticking it in Alabama’s eye.

Let’s stop treating Alabama like some unbeatable juggernaut. They are still a team that relies heavily on underclassmen, who have never been put to the fire late in a close game on the road. It’s just that no one has been good enough to put their feet to that fire. Part of that is teams wilt before the mythos of Bama before they ever get to that critical fourth quarter. They let themselves get beaten by mystique. LSU can turn this into a one quarter game, when it will come down to who can make a play late in front of 100,000 screaming maniacs.

Alabama ranks 2nd in the SEC in yards/play. Their new-look offense has inspired fear around the conference, and rocketed Kiffin back into prominence. Know who has the #1 offense by yards/play? That’s right, your LSU Fightin’ Tigers.

There should be no fear. No back down. It’s not just that LSU has a better rate of offensive production, it’s that Alabama is yet to face a defense of LSU’s caliber in conference. Ranked by yards/play, the best defense Alabama has faced is 6th ranked Texas A&M at 5.19 YPP. LSU ranks 3rd at 4.55. Bama has also run through the 14th ranked defense by YPP (Arkansas), 13th (Ole Miss), 10th (Kentucky), and 9th (Tennessee). Alabama has only faced one defense ranked in the top half of the SEC, and also the two worst.

This doesn’t mean Alabama’s offense isn’t any good. Of course it is good. Results don’t lie to that degree and schedule effects don’t entirely invalidate their production. However, they are not some unbeatable Goliath, and we are not David, armed only with a slingshot. LSU might have the 3rd best defense by YPP, but Bama is #2 in SEC.

The point here is that we are not some scrappy underdog, and it’s insulting to this team and the talent on it to treat it as such. We walk in to this game as rivals and equals with the Tide. You don’t beat the Tide by cowering in fear, or hoping that a loss won’t matter anyway. You win by going straight at them, and throwing your best punch, as many times as possible.

Coach O has done outstanding in his limited time as the head coach so far. Well, Ed… audition is over, time to beat the big bully on the block. No excuses, let’s win.