Well, LSU is finally on top of the college football world.
I know we’ve been here before, but it’s felt like an eternity since then. I also was not a fan during the 2003 and 2007 National Championship years, so this one was my first as an LSU fan/alum. Please no Mizzou/Florida jokes.
This season was something I’ve dreamed about countless times, but I’ve always woken up disappointed. I finally woke up happy on Tuesday.
This does feel like a movie script. A coach that most laughed at when he was hired. A quarterback that was an afterthought at a major program. An underrecruited running back and wide receiver that played way above their ranking. To top it all off, the championship game was in New Orleans, giving LSU a massive home-field advantage. I know that didn’t go well for us previously, but the way things were going this year, that 2011 season felt like it didn’t have any impact on this year.
I have to take a step back and think “how the hell did we get here?”
How We Got Here
It seemed like LSU would forever be stuck in the I-formation while the rest of the country was lining up with four wideouts every down. We even got a quarterback to transfer from Ohio State and we still put a mediocre offense on the field in 2018.
Then, we hired this unknown offensive assistant from the New Orleans Saints. Coach O preached about the new RPO offense Joe Brady was installing. LSU fans have been through this a few times recently.
Before Les got fired in 2016, he promised to revolutionize the offense. We put up 7 offensive points in our first game of the season and he was fired a few weeks later. Coach O promised to do the same with the OC Matt Canada hire. While the offense certainly looked different, we managed to lose to TROY and Canada was out at the end of the season. Needless to say, we were all skeptical coming into 2019, but it turned out to be unnecessary.
After the Texas game, I think everyone in the country saw what this offense could be, but it still needed to make it through the SEC West gauntlet. LSU made it through the gauntlet unscathed, including a 46-41 win in Tuscaloosa that snapped an 8-game losing streak to Alabama.
Even after the breaking countless records, there were still plenty that doubted the offense and thought UGA’s defense would be able to keep us in check. While their defense put up a decent fight, their offense did them no favors and LSU rolled 37-10.
The committee rightfully gave us the #1 ranking which resulted in a Peach Bowl matchup vs. Oklahoma. Lincoln Riley should stop even trying in the CFP semi-final games. Good lord that was an ass-beating. The blowout score of 63-28 didn’t even feel that close.
First of all, the 16-day wait for that game was a personal hell. That needs to change regardless of who is playing in the game.
Over those two weeks, we heard from sports media that if anyone could stop this LSU offense, it would be Clemson DC Brent Venables. At first, it seemed like they were right.
LSU started it’s first two drives from inside their 10-yard line courtesy of some Clemson punts. We failed to move the ball past the marker and Clemson had all of the momentum. I was getting nervous. It can’t end like this.
Early on, Clemson seemed to have an answer for every LSU positive play. That ended quickly. To me, the drive to end the half was the game-changer. Clemson got us to 3rd and 19 and LSU was bailed out by an obvious pass interference.
Down to a 3rd and 10 with 40 seconds and no timeouts from just beyond midfield, Joe Burrow called his own number and made it first and goal. A quick pass to Thad Moss resulted in a score that would put LSU up by 10 going into the half.
Though Clemson would cut it to three shortly at the start of the third quarter, it never felt like LSU was going to give up the lead.
Trevor Lawrence looked awful and was constantly missing his receivers. After that early third-quarter touchdown, Clemson punted four-straight possessions and fumbled away a comeback attempt on their last possession. LSU added 14 points during that stretch of the game and worked the clock to secure a victory.
I might be a tad biased, but looking back on it, I think this is the greatest college football team of all time. They’re at least in the conversation.
They are the second team to go 15-0, and they did it by beating seven AP top-10 teams, which is a record number. The AP top four teams coming into the season were Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma, and Georgia. LSU beat all of them by an average of 20 points. We beat four top 5 teams, with three of those games coming consecutively to end the season.
They’re the first FBS team to have a 5000-yard passer, two 1500 yard receivers, and a 1000 yard rusher. They scored the most points in FBS history. We never trailed in the fourth quarter. We only trailed by double digits once all year, and we won that game by 17 points (Clemson).
The list of awards won:
Walter Camp Award
Davey O’Brien Award
Jim Thorpe Award
Frank Broyles Award
AP Coach of the Year
Joe Moore Award
The teams we beat included the champions of:
The Big 12
The SEC East
The Orange Bowl
The Fiesta Bowl
The Sugar Bowl
The Citrus Bowl
The Alamo Bowl
The Texas Bowl
I know some people will try to call out our defense. We gave up 41 to Texas, 24 to Vandy, and 600 yards to Ole Miss. Sure, those were low points, but when you have an offense scores as quickly as we do, your defense is going to suffer some. LSU ended the season on a strong defensive note, including going eight straight games without allowing a team to eclipse 55% completion percentage. That includes quarterbacks such as Lawrence, Hurts, Fromm, and Tua. This defense was MUCH better than it was given credit.
Again, a little biased here, but the facts speak for themselves.
Burrow is gone. Brady is gone. Plenty of talented juniors will declare in the coming days, but we’re fine.
What Joe Burrow did may never be topped, but I think Myles Brennan, in the same system, can get this team to at least 10 wins next year.
Losing Joe Brady sucks, but it was pretty much expected. His goal was always to get back to the NFL, and being as hot of a commodity as he was, it was only a matter of time before he was back. I personally wish he would’ve waited a little longer to drop the news, but he gave us a national championship season, so I can’t be mad at him at all.
We will likely see a mass exodus to the NFL as lots of kids want to go out on top. LSU currently has a top 5 recruiting class and things will only get better as the years go on. It was easy for guys like Saban, Dabo, and Kirby to recruit against LSU because we had a Bayou-born caricature as our head coach, but a ring changes all of that.
Even if things go poorly, we can’t complain for a few years because we’re champs, dammit.