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Delusional Optimism is an Underdog

Let’s ride Team Chaos to the gates of hell,

NCAA Football: Auburn at Louisiana State
Bring it, mo fos.
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s get one thing out of the way right off the bat: I have no idea if LSU is going to be any good this year.

None. Zero. Bupkis. I can look at this roster and convince myself it’s going to win ten games or lose ten games. Okay, maybe not lose ten, but you get my drift. You can make a reasonable case for glory or for disaster. No one has any idea what this LSU team is or what it’s going to be.

How amazing is that?

This season is Christmas morning with a little bit of edge. Maybe that BB gun with the compass in the stock and a little thingee which tells time is going to be under that tree or maybe it’s a lump of coal. Or maybe some Bama fan broke into your house and stole the tree.

For all of the talk we had of how Les Miles was this crazy Mad Hatter, we all knew basically how the season was going to go. Well, this is what absolute crazy pants time looks like. Almost literally any outcome of this season would not totally surprise me, which means that any outcome is surprising.

This is genuinely exciting. Hell, isn’t what we all wanted? We wait all year for the glory of football season, the least it could do is deliver some thrills and surprises. Well, it’s all one big surprise this year. It’s a week away from kickoff and we don’t even know who the quarterback is. (It’s totally Joe Burrow).

Fans have complained about the declining quality of the slate of games on their season tickets. And yeah, the season opener is against a marquee team at a neutral site. But LSU has its best home SEC slate in years. LSU plays two preseason top five teams, the best Mississippi State team maybe ever, and our blood rivals Ole Miss.

We’re going to look this delicious string of games in the mouth and look for cavities? The football gods have bestowed upon us this great gift and we’re even going to pretend to turn away?

Stop worrying about the burden of expectations. Stop making yourself miserable trying to argue about preseason projections. Because remember, first and foremost, every season is a party. There’s only twelve games and you have to cherish each one of them. Maybe you get one or two more, but then… it’s over. And we’re back in that long, dark offseason. So instead of dreading that this might be the year that LSU doesn’t do X or doesn’t win enough games to meet some standard, let’s just celebrate each game as it comes.

Take Devin White’s advice and thank the media for their hard work and then try to prove them wrong.

I thought about collecting all of the negative LSU media predictions and making an Enemies’ List, but that gives them more attention than they deserve. White is right. They are just trying to do their research and do a good job. They have no idea we are about to sneak up on them with a sock full of quarters.

LSU is one of 13 teams to clear the Blue Chip Ratio threshold for contention for a national title. That’s right, LSU is one of the few teams objectively talented enough to win the national title. So, you know, that’s at least on the table. We have the talent to win it all.

Embrace the chaos. Embrace the doubters. Because know what’s more fun than winning? Winning as an underdog, so you get to shove it in everyone’s face afterwards. We don’t need to seek them out, they will come to us, to apologize.

Let’s crash this damn party.

It’s scary to believe, I know. Because having hope means there’s a chance you’ll be disappointed. Hell, it’s a guarantee. You’re gonna lose games. And most teams aren’t Bama, getting to pretend that the loss doesn’t happen and still get to back into the playoffs without even winning your division. And losses hurt.

But believing is more fun. That’s what we’re about, right? Throwing the best damn party on earth and leaving the terrified villagers in our wake? What is there to believe in, Poseur? How can this team win the division? I mean, our schedule is soooo hard.

First off, stop with that. LSU always plays a tough schedule. We’re not suddenly going to be afraid of a tough schedule now. This is what we signed up for. Tough schedules are great because know it means? More good games against good teams. Isn’t that the whole point of football season? Isn’t that why we’re fans? To see good games?

Oh, we’ve had such a terrible offseason. Yeah, the first two weeks of Fall Practice were a steady torrent of bad news, but let’s not recency bias cloud our judgment here. The offseason went great, and we upgraded nearly every unit.

I know losing both Lowell Narcisse and Justin McMillan is a blow, but these were the same two guys that being on top of the depth chart caused Coach O to go sign Burrow in the first place. After spring practice, would you have traded McMillan and Narcisse for Burrow, a legit starting QB ready to play this year? Of course you would.

In Year One of the Orgeron regime, we spent a good portion of the time waiting for some of our best players to become eligible thanks to transfer rules. Well, now the waiting pays off. Jonathan Giles and Breiden Fehoko are ready to go. We’ve reached the end of the rainbow and can enjoy that pot of gold. Giles is a former 1,000-yard receiver and he might not even be the best newcomer to the receiving corps thanks to five-star recruit Terrace Marshall.

However, the offense this year will come down to whether Jeaux Burreaux can live up to the expectations. If he didn’t think he could, he would’ve gone to Cincinnati. Burrow has embraced the pressure and has a bit of the cockiness that a top QB needs.

Besides, I believe in this staff’s track record with quarterbacks. That’s right, you heard me. The nationwide narrative is how bad LSU quarterbacks have been, so therefore Burrow has no chance to be successful. But that was a different staff. Ed O and Ensminger have one season to their credit, and they turned a lightly regarded Purdue transfer into a Good Quarterback, setting program offensive records in the process. Imagine what they can do with a highly touted prospect like Burrow.

How good does our offense need to be anyway? Last year’s offense ranked 76th in the nation in scoring. And LSU came within merely having a kicker who hit attempts from inside 40 yards OR playing against kickers who would actually miss from over 50 yards from winning 11 games.

Ensminger is being asked to fix the LSU offense, but he’s not being asked to bring forth a Football Miracle. How good does the offense really need to be? How much improvement is required? Top 40 in scoring?

Because let’s get to the real reason for confidence going into this season. Why should we believe in these Tigers, other than its fun to do so? Because this defense has the potential to be lights out great. I’m talking 2011 good.

It all starts with White, who has the potential to be the best LSU linebacker since Michael Brooks. Just know, a middle aged LSU fan comparing anyone to Michael Brooks is like touching the face of God. As great as our defenses have been this past decade, LSU has not had a transcendent talent at linebacker like Devin White. 133 tackles. 14 for a loss. All as a sophomore. In his first season playing the position.

K’Lavon Chaisson and Michael Divinity started four games between them and totaled seven tackles for a loss. Ray Thornton and Patrick Queen were pushing for playing time last season. All of them were freshmen save Divinity, who was a sophomore. The linebacking corps is deep, loaded, and somehow both youthful and experienced.

LSU finally gets Breiden Fehoko to play after sitting out a year, joining a veteran front three. This is a stacked front three, paired with potentially one of the best linebacker corps in LSU history. The front seven has every chance to be downright dominant.

That’s before we get into our defensive calling card. This is still DBU. Greedy Williams’ 6 picks was the most in the SEC, going with his 11 pass breakups. But while we marveled over one freshman stud, we forgot about the OTHER freshman kicking ass in the secondary: Grant Delpit had 9 total passes defended to go with his 3.5 TFL and 60 tackles. He’s not even the leading returning tackler in the secondary because John Battle edged him out at 61.

LSU returns three starters from a terrific secondary, and the staff has brought in even more talent to keep the tradition going. We still need to figure out a place for Jacoby Stevens to play. Which just got more difficult when the NCAA got a sudden dose of common sense and allowed Kristian Fulton to play. Greedy Williams is arguably the best corner in the country and he’s not even the undisputed best corner on his own team. Go ahead, try and pass on this defense. We’re begging you.

Gee, can LSU win with a pretty good offense and soul destroying defense? I don’t know the answer to this question if I had literally never watched LSU ever play football. Forget that it was the formula in 2011, it was the formula in 1987 and in 1972 and in 1961 and so on.

An LSU fan unsure of a team with a terrific defense coupled with an offense designed to keep the lights on is probably an Auburn fan, doing a very poor job of trying to blend in.

This defense possibly has a first round pick at each level on the defense. As of right now, LSU has two top ten NFL prospects in next year’s draft. And this just in, this is more than a two-man defense, designed by one of the best defensive coordinators in college football.

This is the formula. This has always been the formula. Play terrific defense, score twenty points, float the keg, get the win. We’re supposed to be scared because this year we’re playing a Miami team that lost its last three games last year? One of them to Pitt?

This party ain’t over until we say it’s over.

There are asses that still need to be kicked, and I don’t know about y’all, but I ain’t afraid of anyone on the schedule. LSU has the talent to beat anyone in the country. Anyone.

Stop being afraid. It’s okay to believe in a formula that’s been working pretty damn well for a century of football. It’s okay to admit that this roster is loaded with blue chip talent up and down the roster. We only have four months to tailgate… let’s make them all count. Let’s win this mother.

When have you ever known a bunch of people from Louisiana to play it safe? Let’s go all in on this one. Take all of our chips and put it down on number 18. It’s destiny.

We weren’t supposed to win it in 2003 or 2007. We weren’t supposed to contend in 2010 or 2011. It’s the Year of 18. By the power of Jacob Hester, let’s geaux make this happen. But first, you gotta believe.