We've been hearing it for years. That's the kind of talk you get when a conference has won seven national titles in a row. The defenses are bigger and faster (at least they were before this season), and the offenses are more explosive with playmaking athletes flying around all over the field.
When you take all of this into account, it's seemed for some time now – at least since the conference went to 12 teams in 1992 – that when two SEC teams are playing each other, anyone can win.
Well, except when LSU plays Mississippi State.
LSU is in the midst of a 13-game winning streak against the Western-division Bulldogs. That's right, LSU hasn't lost to the Cowbell Crew since the 1900s. They've become one of those opponents that when Tiger fans get the season schedule, they mark it as a win (actually, most fans don't think the Tigers should lose any game, so I'm not sure that last statement says much).
This "easy win" train of thought has continued despite State hiring Dan Mullen, former offensive coordinating genius at Florida under Urban Meyer, in 2009. Every year we've heard whispers about it being the Bulldogs' year, and while Mullen has turned the team into a respectable SEC program, his fortunes haven't changed against the Bayou Bengals.
In fact, the closest Mullen has come to beating LSU was in his first season, 2009, in Starkville. That game, played in rain and teed up early in the day, also happens to be one of the best games one of my all-time favorite Tigers has ever played.
Chad Jones had a monster game that Saturday, taking over late and basically stealing the contest for LSU. In the fourth quarter, with LSU clinging to a 23-21 lead and its offense struggling mightily, Jones took a punt 93 yards to the house for a much-needed touchdown to silence Davis Wade Stadium. Making the return more amazing is the fact that the Tigers went out for the play in a base defensive set, not sure if Mississippi State would actually punt.
Then, Jones added to his heroics with less than 90 seconds left in the ballgame, when the dual-sport athlete batted away a pass on third-and-goal during the Tigers' goal-line stand to help seal the victory and keep me from throwing the remote through the television.
Sadly, that game aside, I don't recall any other games against Mississippi State.
They all seem so … forgettable. And maybe that's a good thing, especially after such a tough loss to Georgia last weekend. It would actually be a relief just to see the Tigers' extend their winning streak over State, especially if they can play a little better defense against this group of Bulldogs.
Kurt Valvis is part of a five-man team who operates the LSU fan site titled "Section 217." CLICK HERE to access the site.
What are your feelings on the LSU-State game?