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Delusional Optimism is Slowing Its Roll

Dear media: We’re not that good

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NCAA Football: Miami at Louisiana State
Great moment. Moment’s over.
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Has everybody sobered up? Cool. First, the good news. LSU won, and winning is fun. The game was over by halftime, allowing us all the freedom to party a bit harder without the black cloud of doom hanging over us. As far as opening weeks go, this was downright relaxing.

And far be it from me to try and slow down a party, but… maybe the hype is getting a bit of control. It’s just one week, and we got eleven more of these things.

Part of the reason LSU came out so focused and so prepared was the players and coaches spent an entire offseason listening to just about everyone tell them how bad they are. If we could get College Gameday to unanimously pick against LSU every week, that would be great. There’s a reason just about every coaching staff on earth tries to play the “No One Believes in Us” card. Because it works.

And now, just one win into the season, the national media is doing a 180 on LSU. Sure, you still have the usual holdouts, but LSU climbed double digit spots in the AP poll. Kirk Herbstreit apologized to LSU for underrating the team. No, really:

LSU....I apologize. This squadron appears to be amped and ON A MISSION. Mercy!

— Kirk Herbstreit (@KirkHerbstreit) September 3, 2018

While I appreciate the sentiment, we need less of this. We don’t need the media telling LSU how great they are, we need them doubling down on how unimpressive the win was and how Auburn is going to bring LSU back to reality. Let’s keep that chip firmly planted on our shoulders.

Now, this doesn’t apply to those of us who were already on the bandwagon. We’re riding this thing to ‘ship. I’m all in, trying to ignore MeauxJeaux JeauxJeaux’s fairly pedestrian passing stats. Still, the defense looked every bit of the soul-swallowing force of evil dead that we thought it was going to be. If only Devin White had bought a pale horse.

But I’m gonna need the rest of the country to keep doubting LSU. I’m going to need more “Miami was overrated” takes and less “LSU is for real” takes. This team is not good enough to believe its own hype. The best way to avoid that is to nip all hype in the bud.

I see that some in the media have latched on to LSU’s dismal third down conversion rate (3 of 16) as a reason why LSU is overrated. That’s good, let’s keep pounding on that table. Joel Klatt made the national media rounds and worked that angle pretty heavily. I salute you, sir. That’s fighting the good fight, and keeping this team from getting too big of a head.

I mean, pay no attention the fact LSU has been pretty good at third down conversions over the past few seasons. LSU ranked 7th last year and in 2015 in the SEC in the third down conversions, and 2nd in 2016. But we’re looking for anything to hang our hats on here, and that works pretty well. LSU was 0-5 on 3rd downs in the 2nd quarter, a quarter in which LSU had three scoring drives (two for touchdowns) and then a kneel down to end the half. Drive killers, I tell you.

So I fully support the national media keeping this team from getting too high on just one win. And I’m here to help with some more narratives anyone can use to deflate the hype balloon:

  • LSU was outgained 342-296. Teams that win the yardage battle usually win the game. LSU was lucky to get a win.
  • Joe Burrow completed under 50% of his passes. LSU’s quarterback woes continue.
  • Unless you think it was the receivers, who dropped several passes.
  • K’Lavon Chaisson is out for the season.
  • LSU allowed 8 tackles for a loss. That ranks 94th in the country. The handful of Power 5 teams to allow more than that include Washington, who played Auburn.

Actually, that last one really should terrify LSU fans, as I think we all agree that offensive line is this team’s biggest concern. And now that line is short Adrian Magee for the rest of September, most likely. LSU is running out of depth pretty quickly on the line, and we don’t want to a repeat of last year’s horrorshow up front.

So stop talking up these Tigers. We need you out there telling them that they aren’t that good and next week is when it all comes crashing down. If you can throw in a line about how the Tigers are going to be exposed, that would be perfect.

Stay focused. The Miami win was fun, but it was just the first step of a long journey. Let’s heed the wise words of Winston Wolf, because we still are a long way from finishing this job.