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Deke: The Tigers' toughest stretch is yet to come!
by Deke Bellavia,posted Nov 17 2011 11:06AM
Do you get the feeling that a lot of LSU fans have already penciled the Tigers into the BCS Title Game? Man, I’ve gotten more than an earful over the last week or so after LSU’s win over the Tide. In fact, all that seemingly had an effect on the way the Tigers came out in their flat-effort first half against the Hill Toppers! However, it would be hard for any team to get up the week after a collision style match took place between LSU and ‘Bama.
Yes I know who I am, and some think I talk a lot noise, and I guess I do sometimes…But I’m about numbers people. Real factual numbers and that’s what I’m about to throw at you! If you look at the next three weeks, the Tigers are about to hit their toughest stretch of the season. Bar none!
OK, Ole Miss is bad, but when is the last time that these two met and the game was not close? The last “blowout” occurred when the red hot Rebels came to Baton Rouge in 2008. They dominated LSU 31-13 behind the play of AB Jevan Sneed and a lot of Frank Wilson recruits on their way to the Cotton Bowl.
But the last two have been close...Very close! Ole Miss is not a good football team, and I think they are all somewhat puzzled why a team coached by Houston Nutt is this bad. They are. But they have gotten up for a couple of games this season. But let’s be honest…from what we have seen from Ole Miss, the Tigers-Western Kentucky game was much, very much tougher than this game should and probably will be.
Then this is where those numbers that I recently told you about stick out. Even with all the tough games so far this season, THIS is by far the toughest stretch of the season. LSU will face a possible top-ten or higher match-up in each of the last two games of the season.
Currently the Arkansas Razorbacks are riding a six-game win streak and their only loss was to Alabama. The Hogs could be could very well be as close to a shot at the BCS Title as Alabama or even our #1 LSU Tigers.
All of you schedule-followers, BCS Bashers and even realists have put together your own title-game scenario. Hell, all of us fans do that. But the SEC is going to once again display why it is so tough, and the Hogs complete the elite status.
Think that makes the stretch tough? Now hear this: The once media- and fan-portrayed “weak sister” in the East is now a powerful team. Yes, a coach that was once on the hot seat now rests in a seat that is as cold as the other side of the pillow. Mark Richt has his Georgia Bulldogs playing as good as any team right now. Georgia has gotten better each week since their 0-2 start. And you know who has one of the nation’s longest winning streaks and the second-longest in the SEC? Dem Georgia Bulldogs, dats who! Don’t let their two early-season losses to Boise State and South Carolina fool ya!
This UGA team is damn good, people! And they could very well be playing in front of a “their own” back-yard type of crowd in the Georgia Dome. You know, the kind of crowd like we have when the Tigers are in the ‘Dome! When you win eight straight and you play in the SEC, that’s damn impressive.
This stretch will add to this team’s impending legacy, or it could make them a team with no legacy to leave! If LSU wins out and follows this path, that I have written up for ya: It would have been by far the toughest road that any team in the BCS existence has had to follow, and one of the toughest of any period of college football’s rich history!
The Tigers will have had defeated eight ranked teams, including eight teams from the top 25…Including four versus top-ten teams on the path I have come up with. But on the flip side, the same path that could be a national one could quickly turn into a sugary one or sour one!
I’ll let you figure that one out. A dream could become a nightmare quickly! So although there are just three regular season games and possibly a fourth, there is a lot of football left to be played before that Bowl Show comes out and makes it all official!
In other words…Since I’ve been following this great yet sometimes crazy sport, I know that the drama is always greater in late November and early December…and you know this! I’ve seen #1’s fall out the top ten and I’ve seen a #7 climb to #2 in just one day. And that day happened to be the most bizarre yet exciting and rewarding to the Tigers that I’ve have ever seen. Because LSU was the team that had lost their final regular season game and looked doomed!
The 2007 LSU Tigers looked all but left out in the cold from a shot at the title. And yes those 2007 Tigers saw their Sooner Friends from the West knock off Missouri in the Big 12 Title Game. And then it was the Tigers’ cat family member from the Steel Area as the Pitt Panthers knocked off West Virginia in their annual Backyard Brawl, despite being a twenty one point underdog. Yes, in the United States’ 14th oldest football rivalry, the Panthers knocked off the #2 ranked Mountaineers in what has been told as the perhaps greatest game in that storied series.
What I’m saying to you as that anything has, can and possibly will happen in this aggravating yet fun as hell game that we love to hate. (But obviously love far more than hate!)
All I am saying is take them one game at a time. I gladly welcome smack-talkers as everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I’m just in the mindset to let this thing play out. Because, if you get there, that’s one thing…but if you start speculating on who you will play because you have already penciled in your team, you might overlook the next three weeks, and that would be a shame. Which side of history will these mighty tigers from LSU be on? The next three games will begin to tell us. Enjoy this ride, because I think the best part of the journey is upon us!
Deke: The Tigers' toughest stretch is yet to come!
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This is the most together Tiger group I've witnessed in my 54 years. Miles and his coaches have them very well prepared and they seem focused. The talent level and depth are on our side. This is a very exciting time to be a Tiger fan!