Bill Connelly and Jason Kirk tried to do the impossible this week, come up with an SEC schedule based upon rivalries, not divisions. It sounds like it would be much easier than it is, but try and think of LSU’s three biggest rivals. Then ask the first LSU fan you meet to do the same.
Now, compare lists. Chances are pretty good that you have different teams on there. There will be some crossover to be sure, but there will be even more divergence in the list if you ask an older fan or a younger fan.
So, now I will attempt to quantify the hatreds of LSU, and rank our greatest rivalries.
On the one hand, we’ve played them 90 times. On the other hand, the annual series was put to a merciful end after the 1996 season because Tulane hadn’t won since 1982. We’ve played five times this century, and not once this decade. What was once a vibrant rivalry is slowly becoming a part of history due to the fact that the Greenies stink at football. This isn’t a rivalry, it’s a completed conquest. We won.
9. The SEC League Office
Home to all of your officiating conspiracies, very real complaints about scheduling, and annual screw job on bowl placement. Heck, they even found a way to screw us in baseball, by making us play A&M on the road for two consecutive seasons when they joined the league. This league’s political power axis runs through Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee, and does not stop over in Louisiana. Part of that is that LSU has been run by some incompetent boobs, but whatever the reason, we’re often on the outside looking in on political decisions regarding the conference. They must pay.
The SEC really, really wanted us to be blood rivals, but they have since given up the ghost. Arkansas, to their credit has thrown their hearts into hating us with all of their might, bless their adorable piggie souls. But LSU’s free floating hostility towards everyone in general never really settled in Arkansas. That’s why Arkansas names their wins over LSU as Miracles (twice, even), and LSU promptly forgets its wins over Arkansas. It’s just not that important to us.
In its defense, the Florida-LSU game is usually awesome. It has given us countless classics and plenty of hard fought wins on both sides. It was a bit of a dud for the first decade of the divisional era, but LSU started pulling its weight since we flipped centuries. And we’ll always have 1997. And 2007. Florida better watch itself in 2017, because every ten years, LSU plays one of its best games of the decade against the Gators. My heart can’t take another one.
6. Mississippi St.
LSU has played Mississippi St. more than any other football team. The count stands at 106 right now, and LSU has won 68 of them. LSU has beaten State more times than its beaten Tulane, and the two series actually boasts the same average point differential. LSU had beaten State 14 consecutive times, and has just started a new winning streak last season. We are currently 22-2 against the Bulldogs in the divisional era. On the other hand…. CHAD JONES!!!! WOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!
Auburn is not so much a rival as a school that we hold in utter contempt. But at least a member of our band once beat up their kicker. Also, I have a feeling we’ll see this clip a lot in our future:
4. Texas A&M
LSU has played Texas A&M 53 times, more than half of its SEC conference-mates. That’s because LSU has long looked west for its rivals. A&M and LSU played virtually every year from 1943 to 1995, until LSU backed out of the series due to coming down with an acute case of the sucks (also known as Crazy Bout Curley). A flurry of lawsuits ensued because it’s not a real rivalry until you haul each other into court. A&M refused to play LSU due to hurt feelings and generally being Aggies until they joined the SEC and were forced to. Now, we’re suing each other again over John Chavis of all things, when really we should be sending them a thank you card. This has some delicious bad blood.
There’s a bit of a little brother aspect to this, but don’t let Bama fans fool you… they care about us more than anyone else right now. They won’t admit it, but if you follow enough Bama fans on twitter, you’ll quickly notice that the team they tweet about the most, other than Bama of course, is LSU. We have their attention, and the contrast in our fanbases couldn’t be any more stark. We like fun and good food, and they are soulless bastards who ruin barbeque then tell little kids the truth about Santa Claus. LSU measures itself against Alabama, and that hatred is passed on from generation to generation.
2. Ole Miss
They are finally pulling their weight. Hey, it’s only been three years, but three years of basic football competence is asking a lot out the RebBears since Johnny Vaught retired. What’s great about the Ole Miss rivalry is that they hate us so much, yet we still hate Alabama more. It’s being on the other end of an aspirational rivalry, and boy is it fun. Besides, if they ever get too uppity, we can now hit them with the Trifecta of Pain: Billy Cannon, Eli tripping on his own feet, and Trey Quinn crowdsurfing over their crushed national title dreams. And we haven’t even brought up turning back the clock two seconds.