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Delusional Optimism is Mad As Hell

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So we’re going to show up to Tiger Stadium and make a ton of noise.

NCAA Football: Georgia at Louisiana State
#FreeDevinWhite
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

It’s the annual two-week Alabamapocalypse! We are going to have plenty of time to get into that monster living underneath our beds, but I want us all to take this bye week to instead appreciate what this team has already accomplished.

It’s almost cliché to bring it up again, but it bears repeating: the assembled SEC media voted LSU to finish fifth in the West this year. Seven teams received votes to win the SEC, and LSU was not one of them. Missouri got a vote, for god’s sake.

If the SEC media hated LSU, that’s nothing compared to the computers. ESPN’s FPI projections pegged LSU to win 6.2 games, and gave LSU 0.3-percent chance of winning the SEC. The mothership’s S&P+ was a tad kinder, predicting LSU would win 7.0 games.

Vegas set this team’s win total at 7.5. Hey, Vegas is run by dispassionate gambling degenerates, so it’s not like we can hold a grudge. What we do take personally is that LSU was the most heavily bet Under in college football. Vegas set a historic low bar for LSU’s win total, given that LSU has won at least eight games every year since 2001, and the public threw out their backs trying to limbo under that bar.

To quote Don Corleone, “That, I do not forgive.”

Look, I usually position Delusional Optimism as a feel-good story. We are the plucky underdogs that you want to root for against the Evil Red Menace. We welcome anyone who wants to join the party because there’s always enough food and drink for everyone. If not, it’s an excuse to make more.

But not this year. This year is the Revenge Tour. If you weren’t on from the beginning, we don’t want you. This team thrives on its doubters and their pessimistic projections. We want you standing sadly behind the velvet rope, trying to get a glimpse of the awesome party going on inside. And trust me, it is an awesome party. We even made T-shirts. Literally.

But like the Goonies, this is our time down here. Our time.

And so far, this team has answered the call despite a whole host of obstacles which would have felled an ordinary team. LSU has only started the same offensive line combination from the previous game one time. Even the opening game line was different than projection from the spring. Against Mississippi State, only two starters remained from the spring projection and three from the opening day lineup.

The linebacking corps has been gutted by injury and suspension. K’Lavon Chaisson was supposed to be one of the star players on this team, and he has been out since week one.

The Tigers have also faced a gauntlet of an early season schedule. LSU played three teams which were in the top ten at the time of kickoff. Now it turns out, we haven’t even gotten to the hard part of the schedule. LSU has already played the top two teams in the SEC East, but still has games pending against the other top two teams in the West. Every hurdle just reveals another one.

Everyone always says that “no one believed in us,” but this time it is literally true. No one believed in these Tigers. This season started with Ed Orgeron on the hotseat for reasons passing understanding. I guess going 9-4 is a bad year at LSU, but come on, it was his first year. Now, Ed is up for Coach of the Year.

This year has already been a smashing success. A team that was projected to be a middling also-ran at best is now 7-1 overall, 4-1 in the SEC, and ranked No. 4 in the nation. Sure, Alabama is coming to town next week to ruin everything, but when has this team ever backed down from a challenge? When has this team given any indication it gives one good goddamn about the point spread or the expert predictions? Then why should you?

Sure, LSU was dealt one more difficult blow when it lost Devin White for the first half of the Alabama game on an absurd targeting penalty. And sure, Devin White is awesome. He leads the team in tackles (76), is second in tackles for loss (7.0), first in QB hurries (6), and somehow tied for second in Pass break-ups (4).

Are you mad about it? Let’s check in on our field reporter to check the temperature of the Tiger faithful…

Alabama fans and the national media are going to spend the next two weeks tone policing you, and telling you to stop whining about it. You were going to lose anyway, they’ll say. Good. Raise hell. Who cares what they think? We ain’t doing it for their benefit. We’re doing it so this team rallies again behind just another brick in the wall.

This team doesn’t need anyone else’s respect. It wasn’t coming anyway. What it needs is to feed off of our anger. We are going to take all of their tut-tutting of our uncivil behavior and unbecoming talk of getting hosed by the SEC officials, and we’re going to shove it up their collective asses. Stay angry. Stay mean.

No, I think we have to go all out. I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part. We’re just the guys to do it.

Look, if you can’t be unreasonably petty and silly about college football, then what the hell are we doing? That’s what college football is literally for. Stupid, childish, amazingly awesome things. So build that billboard. Flood the SEC offices with angry phone calls. Why the hell not? Just remember to nurse that white hot flame of anger until next Saturday, when you enter into those hallowed grounds of Tiger Stadiums, piss bombs in tow.

We only have to hold this thing close for a half until we can all remember the time that Bobby Boucher showed up at halftime to help rally the team to win the Bourbon Bowl. Look, we knew we were gonna get screwed by the refs. The good news is, we already know how, and we got that formality out of the way.

I mean, it could have been an uncalled spearing of our quarterback…

Or a moving sideline…

Or three Alabama unsportsmanlike penalties getting offset by one LSU penalty.

Or a referee literally blocking Fournette in space.

Or even something as banal as the refs refusing to call holding.

Or Vadal Alexander getting a 15-yard penalty for getting pushed, costing LSU not just a shot at a touchdown, but the ability to run the clock down to zero. Or a whole host of other calls we don’t have time to belabor.

You mad yet? Good. Stay angry.

I’m not denying LSU fans are paranoid. But just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you. Meanwhile, Bama lives under such a shining star that no team since World War II has won a national title while failing to win their conference title. Except Bama. Who has done it twice.

We knew going in the rules were different. We knew we were gonna get hosed. And yes, we should get mad and raise hell, if only to show the team we’ve got their backs, and that we’re going to make Tiger Stadium the loudest, craziest venue it possibly can be next week.

I would say that its impossible for anyone to stay mad over the Devin White call for a full two weeks, but I’m pretty sure we can pull this one off. Obsessive unhinged lunacy is sort of our thing, man. But we need to hold on to that energy and unleash it at the Tide for a full 60 minutes.

However, this is just another thing for this team to overcome. Another mountain for it to climb. We already knew we would be taking on the rest of the world, along with the refs and the Tide. That’s just the way it is. We embrace the challenge. Because I believe in the Tigers and I know they believe in each other.

Yeah, we’re getting screwed. That was a sure thing anyway. Let’s use it as a way to galvanize this team, this state, and this fanbase over finally beating Bama. We lost half of our offensive line? No problem. Next man up. We lost our best pass rusher? No problem. Next man up. We lost half of our quarterbacks to transfer? No problem. Joe Burreaux is here with the Meauxjeaux Jeauxjeaux. We’ve lost our best defensive player in Devin White? No problem. Next man up. We’ve got another best defensive player in Grant Delpit.

Stay angry. Cling to it. Let them tell you you’re just mad online. If only because that will lead you to be mad in person come next Saturday night. Take it away, Ed…