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Wednesday, January 29, 2020

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An LSU team that was one for the ages

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An LSU team that was one for the ages

It takes a lot to get me to “relax” about a sports team that I love.

I am the most superstitious person I know. 

I wear the same clothes for games, do the same things on gameday, and don’t shave my (now disgustingly long) beard throughout the duration of a season when things are going well.

Add in my generalized anxiety disorder to the mix, and my lifelong passion for sports, and I admit: I’m usually a mess when it comes to my teams.

I’m a biased, unobjective mess — a 165-pound ball of nerves who is always expecting the worst at any given second of the game.

But this LSU team was different for me. 

After the Alabama game, that uneasy feeling in my stomach settled. That ball in my throat loosened. 

And on Monday, I woke up calm and relaxed.

I knew LSU was going to beat Clemson — just like I knew they were going to beat Oklahoma.

That those Tigers could make that much of a believer out of a nervous wreck such as myself shows that this team truly is one for the ages — a college football team the likes of which we may never see again in Baton Rouge. 

The 2019 LSU football team had literally everything.

They were talented at every, single position on the field.

What more can be said about Joe Burrow than what’s already been said? The guy is a literal College Football Goliath. He had 60 passing touchdowns this season. In the four seasons before his arrival from 2014-17, LSU had 59 passing touchdowns. 

Burrow was the answer to LSU fans’ prayers at a time when fans were collectively losing hope about prosperity at the quarterback position. 

His story makes the journey even better — a tale of an under-recruited afterthought who couldn’t earn the job at Ohio State, transferred to LSU, then became the elixir the school had dreamed of for a decade.

But he was not alone.

LSU had weapons galore offensively — a fleet of targets that are literally better than the weaponry of some NFL teams.

The reason the Tigers were so unstoppable was Burrow’s accuracy, yes, but also because of strength in numbers.

Most elite college programs have 2-3 NFL-caliber defensive backs. But LSU has 3 NFL-caliber receivers, an NFL-caliber tight end and an NFL-caliber running back.

Oh yeah, and they have the best offensive line in the country, so blitzes and attempts at exotic defenses didn’t work.

Defensively, LSU struggled at times (this is often greatly exaggerated because a lot of the struggles came late in games with the outcomes well in-hand), but the Tigers adjusted, peaked at the right time and were looking like an “LSU defense” in the back stages of the year.

Who isn’t excited about watching Derek Stingley for the next two seasons? That guy is incredible. Other guys — like Rashard Lawrence or Grant Delpit were just as memorable.

Add it all together and you have an LSU team that was an absolute wrecking ball — probably the greatest college football team of all-time.

When else have we seen a team win at Texas in the non-conference, roll through the SEC West unscathed, crush Georgia in the SEC Title Game, then win two-straight blowouts in the playoffs?


We’ve literally never seen that before.

When will we see that again?

Maybe never.

When have I ever gone into a high-stakes game calm and collected because I just knew my team was going to win?

Never. That literally never happens.

When will it happen again?

Again, we may be looking at a first and only.

How could I write a column about LSU football as a sports writer working for a Larose-based newspaper and not once mention the words “Ed Orgeron?” 

Be patient.

His column comes out tomorrow. 

He deserved his own.