Tom Planchet / WWLTV.com
In November 1988 I was in Tiger stadium covering the SEC co-champion LSU Tigers late season game with the Miami Hurricanes.
As I recall it was a miserable night with rain pelting down most of the game. It was also a miserable night for LSU as the SEC co-champions showed they didn’t belong on the same field with the uber-gifted Hurricanes, who embarrassed the Tigers 44-3.
The Hurricanes made a sham of LSU’s co-championship of the SEC, showing the wide talent disparity between the two clubs.
Those Hurricane teams from the late 80s and early 90s were remembered as some of the best of all-time along with the Switzer and Wilkinson Sooners, the Bear Bryant Tide and perhaps some old Notre Dame teams.
This LSU team has a chance to be remembered with those elite squads.
They’ve “taken what they’ve wanted” this season. Brazenly they’ve faced one of the toughest schedules of all-time and, with the exception of the Alabama game, they’ve won them all decisively. The best of the Pac-12, no problem…The elite of the Big East, on the road…no problem. A red-hot third-ranked Arkansas team who had a shot at the national title to play for…no problem. Other SEC teams, some of whom were ranked when the Tigers played them, were swiped off like flies. Now they face a red-hot Georgia squad who somehow won the schedule lottery and didn’t have to face LSU, Alabama or Arkansas in the regular season.
The only game that was a contest was at Alabama, where the Crimson Tide had home field advantage and LSU didn’t play its best game. Yet greatness arose as they overcame an uncertain quarterback situation and rose to the occasion making clutch defensive play after clutch defensive play.
The point of all this is this. LSU is probably in the BCS title game whether they win or lose Saturday. Their body of work is such that it would be hard to deny them. But, I think this team has much more in mind. They want to be remembered for the ages.
This IS the golden age of LSU football. LSU teams in this century have provided the same kind of pipeline to the NFL that the Hurricanes did in the late 80s and early 90s and the steamship shows no signs of slowing down under Les Miles, who in just over a year has gone from being ridiculed by the national media to being lauded as a masterful coach.
No, lose this game and LSU can still achieve a national title and its recruiting class will still be great, but win this game and remove all doubts by winning a rematch with Alabama and LSU will have an argument that this 2011 team is the greatest in college football history.
Complete that resume’ with these last two wins and you’ll have gone unbeaten against as rigid a schedule as any champion has ever faced.
I think Les Miles knows what is at stake. His comments after the Arkansas win when he said, and I paraphrase – Make no mistake about it, this LSU team will come to play next week – indicate as much.
LSU is likely to have many more shots at national titles, but how many times will you have a chance to be remembered as an all-time team?
Take the Bulldogs and the SEC title game lightly? I don’t think so. This team is not just after a national title. It’s after greatness.