One Fortunate Ending
The LSU Tigers were No. 7 in the BCS rankings. Left for dead. They’d lost at home to Arkansas. They’d blown their shot at a national championship.
They were even ranked behind Virginia Tech, whom they’d drubbed 48-7 early in the season.
You may remember thinking that was unfair, but really, what was there to gain from being ranked higher if you were not in the top two?
Plus there was still a little game called the SEC Championship to be played.
And a little problem with the media coach Les Miles had.
You may remember him calling an unprecedented press conference the morning of the game, responding in vitriole to an ESPN report that he was leaving LSU to coach at Michigan.
If you don’t remember what he said then you might not be an LSU fan. It might not have been a great day for the media, but it sure was for Miles’ damn strong football team.
You may remember that it was Ryan Perrilloux replacing the injured Matt Flynn and a Jonathan Zenon interception return for a touchdown that led the Tigers to the SEC Championship. You may remember thinking that the team would be in good hands with Perrilloux in 2008.
And you may remember wanting to forget everything that followed in 2008.
But what happened on the college football landscape outside of the Georgia Dome in Atlanta was the real news. You may have forgotten that it was Pittsburgh who went into Morgantown and upset second-ranked West Virginia to throw the whole top 10 and the national championship picture into chaos.
You may remember watching that game and doing the calculations. Surely Georgia couldn’t make it. They didn’t even win the SEC. Surely Virginia Tech couldn’t make it. Not ahead of LSU.
You may have forgotten that while you were figuring all of this, the officials calling the Pitt-West Virginia game seemed to be trying their hardest to get the Mountaineers into the title game. You may still be looking for those holding calls on Pitt.
But undoubtedly you are still reaping the glory as a Tiger fan from the results of that fateful Saturday. Because when all was said and done, it was LSU rising from No. 7 to No. 2 and in the national championship game opposite top-ranked Ohio State.
It’s all history, of course. Every Tiger fan knows that LSU won. That it fell behind 10-0 and scored 31 unanswered points to throttle the Buckeyes. That Early Doucet was flexing and Ali Highsmith was flying and offensive coordinator Gary Crowton was emptying the kitchen sink. That Flynn, after waiting his turn behind top NFL draft pick JaMarcus Russell for three years, was the one to lead the LSU Tigers to their third national championship with a game MVP performance.
Everyone knows this and yet you may not believe that already five years have passed.
It’s almost time to cheer on another powerful LSU team who has national championship aspirations. It’s almost time for tailgating and yelling at the television and questioning everything our crazy coach does. It’s almost time to do as he said to his wife Kathy after that championship winning night five years ago: “Let’s go have some fun.”
Yes, 2012 is upon us, the faces of the team are vastly different, and there are more memories to be made.
But it’s always fun to remember.