M.J. BROWN: Humble pie sure is tasty

Here it is, served up nice and hot. Now all I have to do is wolf it down. <br><br> Most unusually, this slice of humble pie I have to eat will go down nice and easy. I will even savor it. I am absolutely giddy that this LSU team has proved me oh, so very wrong. <br><br> In this column in the Tiger Rag 2003 Football Preview, I predicted the Tigers would finish "9-3 and in second place in the SEC West, and probably headed for another Jan. 1 bowl." <br><br> WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!!

LSU is 12-1, the SEC champs, and headed for the BCS national title game in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 4. So much for conservative estimates. Well, those first few bites went down well enough.


This next one, though, is a toughie.


"LSU will not win the West because they will not beat Auburn. Come set my RV afire, but the Tigers from the Plains are just too strong for anyone in the division, if not the conference."


Whoa, Nellie! How quick I was to jump on the national media bandwagon about the seeming invincibility of Auburn. LSU trounced Auburn, 31-7, and the Tigers from the Plains finished 7-5 and placed third in the SEC West division. Head coach Tommy Tuberville is on the hot seat and probably won't survive the next season.


Now that I think of it, that bite was pretty sweet, indeed.


"Mauck and Co. will have to be pretty efficient and pile up the points to make up for a questionable Tiger defense."


OK, you can't blame me here. While everyone had respect for our front four linemen, I don't think anyone foresaw the Tiger defense allowing only 69.7 rushing yards per game and only three rushing touchdowns all year.


"I think that Georgia and its pair of superb quarterbacks will nip LSU in the end in front of one of the loudest, most rip-roaring crowds in the history of Tiger Stadium."


First of all, Georgia doesn't have a pair of superb quarterbacks. When Bulldog starter David Greene sat out a series due to injury in the Tigers' 17-10 win over Georgia, his "superb" backup D.J. Shockley showed without a doubt that he was out of his league when Chad Lavalais and the rest of the Tiger blitz crew harassed, battered and ... ahem ... shocked him into reality.


As to being nipped in front of one of the loudest, most rip-roaring crowds in the history of Tiger Stadium? Just ask Skyler Green about that one.


 "Florida is no longer the juggernaut they once were, and especially in Baton Rouge, the Gators will fall once again to the Tigers."


While the first half of the statement is true, Florida was able to capitalize on a sloppy, unfocused Tiger team and blemish what many thought could have been a perfect season.


On that note I beg to differ. I firmly believe that without that loss as a wake-up call for both the fans and the players this LSU team would not be in the position that it is in. The loss came at the perfect time for this squad to realize that you have to play every game as if it were your last. I do think that this team now has that killer mentality and will hopefully keep it and pass it on to future generations for years to come.


"...Ole Miss does not have the defense to stop LSU."


Boy, another stinker on my part. The Rebel defense turned it up in Oxford against the Tigers, and it took the LSU defense to stop the ever-dangerous Eli Manning to preserve the win. And stop him, they did. During the last-ditch Rebel effort, Tiger tackle Kyle Williams pushed his man back so hard and furiously that he tripped Manning, who fell on his rear to end the threat. To quote Lavalais, "Hell, yeah, we shut him (Manning) down."


And now, the biggie.


"Tech knocks off an overconfident LSU in Tiger Stadium for its second straight loss."


I was trying to generate buzz. Really. You believe me, right?


That about does it. For balance, I was right about LSU going 5-0 on the road, and about the Razorbacks not being as tough a challenge as they usually were to close out the season.


On the whole, eating humble pie in this situation was quite enjoyable. My only concern next season is that it not be the other way around. LSU will rightfully have high hopes and will have the national spotlight thrust upon them. Hopefully they won't be next year's Auburn. Now that would be just too hard to swallow.

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