On January 9, 2012, LSU faced Alabama for the BCS National Title – a crown that would complete perhaps the greatest college football season ever. LSU went into the game 13-0 with an SEC title and wins over the Orange Bowl, Rose Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Peach Bowl, Gator Bowl, and Music City Bowl champs (as well as a win over 11-1 Alabama). But on that January night in New Orleans, the Tigers were embarrassed by the Crimson Tide. The 21-0 loss marked the end of the Golden Era of LSU football.
That era lasted 12 years – a period where the Tigers won 121 games, 8 bowls, 4 SEC titles, and 2 national championships. In the 6 years since 1/9/12, LSU has just 54 wins, 3 bowls wins, and have not appeared in the SEC or national title games. And since the title game loss to Alabama, the Tigers are 0-6 vs the Tide after having gone 9-3 in the previous 12 years.
The decline has been dominated by instability, behind the scenes drama, and fan disgust. The attempt to fire Les Miles in 2015, and his ultimate dismissal in 2016, divided the fan base and harmed recruiting. The hiring of Ed Orgeron further splintered the fans as have ineffective coordinators: the Tigers have gone through 9 coordinators in 6 seasons (6 OCs and 3 DCs).
Gone are workhorses like Fournette (and now, Derrius Guice), wasted in mediocre offenses for the last 4 years. With some of the top talent in the country, the LSU offense has scored 21 points or less in 18 of the last 42 games (43%). Alabama has allowed LSU to score just 73 points in 6 years (12.2 ppg).
A Bleak Future
Going into 2018, there are no QBs on the roster that have ever started a college game. While there is solid young talent on the defense yet again, it’s the offense that will limit LSU against a schedule featuring heavyweights Miami, Auburn, Georgia, and Alabama.
I’ve been optimistic about LSU football since 1995 but the future has never looked as grim as it does right now. All we have now are the memories.