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Deke Bellavia

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Deke Bellavia: Safe or sorry - what's it going to be for the Tigers?

Okay, let's forget political correctness and get to the truth.  So far, the 2013 season is disappointing to most Tiger fans.  LSU is 7-2 through nine games.  The Tigers are ranked higher than their preseason mark of #13, but LSU fans would be the first to tell you this season hasn't been a good one so far.

Who would have thought back in August that the Tigers best win would be a 35-21 win over the Auburn Tigers?  Think about it...a 44-41 loss to the not so good UGA Bulldogs... and an even worse set back to the injury riddled Rebels from Oxford.  Is it no winder Tiger fans feeling a little bluer than normal with not as much on the line this week, when LSU visits #1 Alabama.

The last time the Tigers went to Tuscaloosa they beat the Tide 9-6 in overtime.  Since that meeting, the programs have gone in different directions.  Since November of 2011 Alabama lost just one time and the Tide won back to back national titles.  LSU, on the other hand, lost five games and two bowl games.

And this year's battle between the Tigers and Tide does not have as much on the line for the teams.  Or does it?  Alabama can win out, go to the BCS Title game for the third straight season, and the Tide can make history by winning three straight titles. 

On the flip side, LSU still has an outside shot at landing in the SEC Title Game.  LSU would need to win out, have Tennessee or UGA upset Auburn; Auburn beat Alabama and then the Tigers could kind of back their way into the SEC Title Game.  Like I said, a lot has to happen, but it's not out of the question.

But to me, there is more on the line for the Tigers than most would think.  Let's break it down.  Should LSU win out, the Tigers would be 10-2, in line for a possible berth in a BCS Bowl...and the Tigers would have big wins over Alabama and Texas A&M.  Also, LSU would have beaten everyone in the SEC west with the exception of Ole Miss.

In addition, winning out would make it a lot easier for LSU higher ups to ask for a ticket increase from their loyal fan base.  Winning out would help make the transition into 2014 a lot better.  And, winning out could help the Tigers close the deal on some of the nation's best high school players, who happen to be residents of Louisiana.  Winning their remaining games would be a huge help to LSU.

But let's look on the flip side.  Let's say the Tigers drop two of their last three games.  That would give LSU a 8-4 record in 12 regular season games.  It would also give the a Tigers a lower tier bowl bid, that would more than likely once again produce record low bowl ticket sales.   The result?  A long, difficult off season with LSU coaches having to work extra overtime to try and land those remaining uncommitted recruits from Louisiana.

Yes, as of right now it does not look like there's a lot on the line for the Bayou Bengals, but when you examine the potential reality closely, the remaining three games are huge for this fighting Tiger football team, and for the immediate future of LSU.

Folks, let's be real here.  Teams measure themselves by the best teams in their division, their conference and in the nation.  All three of those factors point to the big, red elephant in the room.  That would be the Crimson Tide.

So, over the course of the next four weeks, the Tigers can either save their season and turn it into one of the better finishes in the Les Miles era.  Or, with a 7-5 record going into what will most certainly be a bowl that is not enticing to Tiger fans, the season will be sorry.  Sorry in more ways than one. 

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11/04/2013 6:39AM
Deke Bellavia: Safe or sorry - what's it going to be for the Tigers?
Please Enter Your Comments Below
11/04/2013 7:40AM
Until Miles is run out of town, the tigers will continue degrade into mediocrity.. The guy is as smart as a box of rocks..
11/04/2013 9:16AM
9-3. The tigers will beat the aggies but not the tide.
11/04/2013 9:35AM
Les plays not to lose.. Saban plays to win.
11/04/2013 3:08PM
Miles is the best man for the job
In both of LSU's loses they couldn't sustain a constant pass rush. Plus they failed to blitz in key 3rd and long situations which UGA and Miss both converted when needed. The points scored on them this season should be an epiphany. Because they've won championships being a top defense.
11/05/2013 12:29AM
Miles takes air out of offense against Florida zapping Zachs' confidence.
When LSU beat Florida 17-6, Miles took the air out of the ball and went back to the running game. When LSU lost an air show game to Georgia 44-41, Les decided that an old formula was needed to win future games this season. I believe Les messed with Mettenbergers' passing confidence with the drastic change in the Florida game. LSU's QB seems to be out of sync with the typical Mile's tinkering. He should have left the kid air it out against Florida. Poor coaching has reared its head, once again. I know the defense is young, so play to your strengths and win those high scoring shootouts, Les. He messed up our previous QB and Les will find a way to mess up Zach. Save the season and go pass happy against Bama.
11/05/2013 11:12AM
Long night Saturday night
This is the worst LSU defense in years. John Chavis is a good coach, he just doesn't have the players. Our DL and especially our linebackers are below past teams in talent.
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