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Delusional Optimism is an Underdog

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When all that’s left is the fall, then screw that... fight even harder

Auburn v LSU
Let’s go win the Alabama state title
Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

LSU is a 21-point underdog on Saturday night. Alabama is the No. 1 team in the country. They have won five games by at least 30 points, and only a late, meaningless score by A&M made any of their games decided by a single score, and that was still an eight-point game.

On the other hand, LSU lost to Troy.

There’s no reason to lie to ourselves: Alabama is a better football team this year. They have more talent, they score more points, and they play better defense. About the only position Bama doesn’t have a huge edge over the rest of the conference is punter, and that’s been a position of some trouble for the Tigers this season. And how do you exploit a punter anyway?

There’s no logical reason to believe LSU is going to win this game. Alabama has won the last six LSU games, and they beat six LSU teams that were all much better than the one on the field this year. But you know what?

Every year, Alabama saves its best shot for LSU. They know we are the biggest threat to their dominance, so they give us their full attention, and it shows. The reason Ole Miss or A&M can sneak in every once in awhile and steal a win is they catch Bama looking ahead, usually to us.

Now, we have Alabama worried about their Playoff Committee ranking. And they are looking ahead to Georgia and Auburn and Mississippi St. They’ve been causally going about their business, and this game, sad to say, doesn’t mean as much to them as it usually does. We’re a speed bump to them.

Well, let’s be the speed bump that bottoms out their car and ruins their transmission.

One of the things I liked about LSU’s chances going into this year was that they would have the best player on each side of the ball in Arden Key and Derrius Guice. Due to injuries, that hasn’t played out for the first two months, but the twosome are finally healthy and that will be true on Saturday, even against Bama. LSU will always have the best player on the field, regardless of which team has the ball.

This is the puncher’s chance. LSU has playmakers, they just need to make plays. Alabama is the better team, but that doesn’t mean this is hopeless. Hell, the last time LSU went into Tuscaloosa as a 20-plus-point underdog, pigs flew.

We have been so good for so long, we haven’t had the chance to enjoy a game like this: coming in as an overwhelming underdog without a chance to win. This is the first LSU-Alabama game in a decade in which LSU has literally no pressure to win the game. They can just go out and play without the crushing weight of expectations or the oppressive talk of a losing streak. If LSU loses on Saturday, it won’t be because of any sort of curse.

Games like this are fun. It’s fun to root for the underdog. OK, you don’t want to do it all the time, because that means the team you root for stinks, but once a decade? Sign me up. Let’s savor the chance to go in there and shock the football world. Let’s have a football Saturday with no pressure that we party like mad and root like hell.

You think this team is gonna lay down? This team had every excuse to throw in the towel a month ago, and instead they got up off the mat and completed the greatest comeback in school history against Auburn. Written off and left for dead (or at least the failure to reach bowl eligibility), LSU has rallied back to a position in which its playing a prime-time game against the No. 1 team in the nation, our hated rival, for undisputed control of the SEC West.

If this team was going to quit, they would have done so already. They didn’t rally back and bring this season back from the brink just to lose faith now. We don’t lay down for anybody, especially not those humorless automatons from Bama. Let’s bust out the trick plays and the big bottle of bourbon.

I’ve seen people talking that these last few weeks have been the most fun they’ve had as LSU fans in quite some time. And it’s true. That’s what happens when you stop looking ahead and worrying about style points. It’s what happens when you don’t get caught up in the expectations game and you just enjoy football games. There are only twelve regular season LSU football games in a year, you might as well enjoy them. The fanbase had forgotten to enjoy the games as we cannibalized ourselves, and we’re now remembering how.

Let’s go out there and cheer our fool heads off. Sing the fight song and Tiger Bait anyone wearing red. Even if they aren’t an Alabama fan, it’s still their fault for wearing that color on game day. Sure, LSU is outgunned and outmatched. They are a deserving underdog. And Bama is every bit the evil empire once again.

But pigs flew once. I know, I was there. It can happen again.