Time to queue up Gilda Radner…
That was spectacular. It was wonderful. It was like all of the college football world got together and enjoyed one long group hug. Sure, Clemson is every bit the tyrannical monster that Bama is, but… ding dong, the witch is dead. Let’s dance around like Munchkins anyway.
OK, maybe not. We can hope this is one of those dynasty killing losses like Texas over USC or the Game That Shall Not Be Mentioned, but in all likelihood, Alabama will be a monster again next season, only more pissed off. Just what we need.
However, Alabama went into this game with a chance to stake a claim as the best single season team of all time. They had the #2 offense by yards per play, paired with a great defense. Bama outscored teams by over 400 points on the year, and that’s including this Clemson game against them. They ripped through their schedule like tissue paper and were poised to go down as the first 15-0 team in over a century.
And then it all came apart. The game slowly started to slip away as the coaching staff made increasingly desperate decisions to chase points. By the end of the night, the dream lay in ruins and what was supposed to be a coronation turned into a demolition. Bama went from possibly the greatest team ever to the victims of one of the greatest championship game failures in history.
We have no idea what that feels like, right?
Only two teams all season even kept Bama under 30 points: LSU and Mississippi St. And those two teams combined for all of zero points on offense. Clemson showed that it takes more than a great defense. You also need an offense that can score points to put pressure on Bama to make those panicked decisions. Bama knew it had to keep scoring to keep pace, and it simply led them to make more mistakes. That’s the ingredient LSU and State were missing.
That is the million dollar question around Baton Rouge now. Can Orgeron find an offense that can apply similar pressure? LSU doesn’t need a generational talent like Trevor Lawrence, but they do need an offense that is a genuine threat to score 30 points against the Bama defense. LSU averaged 32.4 points per game. That’s not enough, they need to be able to translate that scoring average into points against Bama.
The postseason went about as perfectly as it could have for LSU. The Tigers won their bowl game while severely undermanned, and Alabama lost by 28 points, which is so much fun that I literally forgot how that could feel. It’s been a long time since anyone whacked the Tide like that. After the dust settled, LSU finished the season ranked #6 in the AP poll. It is LSU’s highest postseason rank since 2011, and 2007 before that. It is the fifth highest final poll finish LSU has had this century, which doesn’t suck.
LSU also returns just about everybody. Right now, LSU returns eight starters on each side of the ball. In the wake of its strong finish and a roster stacked to the gills with returning production and several high profile recruits at the key holes in the roster, LSU has of course parlayed this into hype for next season…. hahaha, just kidding.
ESPN released its way-too-early top 25 for next season, and they see LSU falling to #10, behind Bama (of course), Georgia, Florida, and Texas A&M. So it seems we’re back on pace for being picked fifth in the SEC again. Though my favorite part is where they try to argue that Terrence Alexander is a big loss. Look, I don’t want to pile on the guy, as he had to step up as the next man after LSU suffered tremendous personnel losses in the secondary in its final two games, but… come on. Alexander was a third string cornerback this year, and if that’s a key loss, that’s probably a pretty good sign that just about the whole band is coming back.
Hey, but at least Vegas has got our backs, right? Well, the early 2019 championship season odds are out and, well, LSU is 50 to 1. As in freakin’ FIFTY to one.
Georgia is 12-to-1. Texas is 20-to-1. Florida is 25-to-1. So is Notre Dame. Nebraska is somehow 25-to-1. But no, LSU is 50-to-1 with Mississippi St and Auburn. That’s returning eight starters on each side of the ball from the #6 team in the country LSU, getting the same odds as State.
Which means we get to do this all over again. No one believes in us, but for the first time in a long time, maybe Bama doesn’t entirely believe in themselves either. It’s not much to hang our hat on, but at least it’s something.
Sometimes, something is enough. All you need is Delusional Optimism.