It seems like a long time ago analysts and fans alike were discounting coach Les Miles and his team. After being raked over the coals by the Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC Championship Game, the Tigers were left for dead by national opinion makers as LSU slid all the way from the Sugar Bowl to the Peach.
Aside from being paired up with No. 9 Miami in the Dec. 30 bowl game, there weren't too many exciting things to say about LSU. On the home front, Miles was hammered from every angle and was already being anointed as the next Mike Archer (or Curley Hallman or Gerry DiNardo. Take your pick!).
What a difference a bowl victory can make?
In the week following the Tigers'
40-3 domination of the Hurricanes in
Fans have stepped up in defense of the first-year LSU coach; one even went so far as to pen a letter to the editor in the Baton Rouge Advocate in which he stated:
"For those pubescent navel gazers in search of their own IQs, blame is fame. Their self-importance would be lost in a crowd if they all got together and supported the LSU football program they so complain to love. The upshot is: 11-2 in Miles' first hurricane season as LSU head coach and a 40-3 win over a top 10 team in the Peach Bowl. Perhaps Miles is not wrong for LSU. If so, it would be for reasons opposite those his character's assassins think. He deserves better; his detractors don't."
Yeah in the midst of several big words that most Miles critics probably didn't understand anyway, this LSU fan (who will remain nameless) slammed the door on the constant drivel about Miles' inability to lead the Tiger football program.
And while this stinging reprimand delivered more than enough pleasure to Miles supporters, a topic on talk radio did even more for true LSU fans.
While some may think it is the kiss of death, others will use ESPN Radio talk show host Collin Cowherd's early bird predictions as something on which to hang their collective hats. On his daily talk show, Cowherd dubbed the LSU Tigers as his early favorite for the preseason No. 1 ranking.
Yeah, yeah it's a stretch, but something in which Miles, the Tigers and LSU followers can revel for the next few months.
Coach Mack Brown and the Longhorns staked claim to UT's first national title since 1969 and did so in dramatic fashion rallying from 12 points down in the final six minutes to unseat the Trojans.
Vincent Young (I know you Heisman voters have to be kicking yourselves) almost single-handedly propelled the Horns to victory rushing for a couple of late touchdowns.
In the aftermath of that game, I sat emotionally drained and tried to think of the greatest college games I have had the opportunity to watch in my lifetime. So, as all sports writers do, I jotted down the games I felt were my top five or so. I understand there are those of you who are older than me and recall greater games, but remember I am still less than a year from being 30 years old.
So here it goes (in no particular order).
LSU 17, Georgia 10, 2003. I don't
think there is anyone who would disagree that this game might be the greatest in
Tiger football history. A
Notre Dame 31,
I always like to include of readers in lists of this nature. I'd love top hear about your favorite games. Email me at email@example.com and let me know.
Matt Deville is the editor of Tiger Rag Magazine. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.