FEINSWOG: Tigers control their own destiny

Oh, c'mon. Seriously, did you really think they would go undefeated?

Did you honestly think they'd be perfect for another eight games after what you saw the last two weeks?


That dismal first half against Tulane?




And the first-half debacle with Florida?


Now how do you classify the victory over Florida? Is it an instant classic or just another exciting game?


The answers are still in the making.


Reminder for the umpteenth time:  A football season is a marathon, not a sprint. LSU is now almost halfway through the marathon. The only difference is the course just got a few changes.


Had LSU beaten Kentucky and stayed perfect for a few more months, then, yes, the Florida game would be regarded as one of the best in LSU history. Now, if LSU loses again and Florida does the same, it will have just been a great comeback by one pretty good team against another.


And remember how last week you might have been hoping for Florida not to win the SEC Eastern Division so LSU would avoid a rematch with the Gators in the SEC title game?


Now you're likely hoping KentuckyKentucky! – wins the East and you get a rematch with the Wildcats.


LSU now has no margin for error if it wants to win the national championship.


Now the Auburn game this Saturday is for more than revenge. This is the same Auburn team that lost to South Florida in overtime (obviously USF is the real deal) but lost to Mississippi State and then beat Florida in Gainesville.


Auburn is obviously capable of beating LSU.


LSU finally gets a weekend off after that game, and we'll have to figure the Tigers will need it. Injuries are starting to mount, not only hurting the depth but limiting the team in key positions. Injuries can determine the fate of a football team. They certainly were a factor at Kentucky.


Then the Tigers go to Alabama for what was once the most anticipated game on the schedule because of the chance to play against Nick Saban.


Well, if you're really a fan, you understand now that game has nothing to do with Saban but everything about staying in the BCS picture.


As we head into the home stretch of the regular season, LSU, Auburn and Alabama have one defeat apiece in the SEC Western Division.


For the purpose of assuming LSU doesn't unexpectedly crumble, we'll figure it closes out the regular season with victories over Louisiana Tech, Ole Miss and Arkansas.


You know that because Auburn and Alabama play each other later on, one of them has to have two SEC defeats, so the loser of that game is all but out.


On the other side, South Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky have one league loss apiece.


That's a big hill to overcome for Florida, which has two losses.


What it really means is both sides of the SEC are pretty much up for grabs.

So all LSU can do is worry about LSU and why it struggled for so long against Tulane, why it fell behind against Florida and why, when it mattered, it couldn't get things done against Kentucky.


Thanks to LSU, Kentucky will be fined heavily by the SEC because its fans stormed the football field Saturday after the game.


Clearly there is some debate about LSU's running backs and quarterbacks rotation.


Two guys you least likely figured to be the running heroes, Charles Scott and Richard Murphy, came up big. As an aside, who the hell does Richard Murphy think he is, taunting the Kentucky defender when he ran for a TD that tied the game in overtime?


Son, run into the end zone with your mouth closed, hand the ball to the ref, and get your freshman butt back to the sideline.


Throughout the Florida game, LSU consistently used both its quarterbacks, liberally sprinkling in Ryan Perrilloux for Matt Flynn. Same thing for the first half at Kentucky.


But after that, Perrilloux was a non-factor.


LSU is still really good, highly ranked, and it's all there for the taking. The Tigers play hard and seem to be on the same page, still unified under a coach who has tremendous game demeanor and for whom they want to win.


But the Tigers are reeling, banged up, and, for the first time, up against it.


The good news for them is almost everyone else is in the same boat, trying to determine their own fate.




Baton Rouge sportswriter Lee Feinswog is the host of the weekly television show "Sports Monday." He's covered LSU athletics since 1984. His book "HoopDaddy" is available at www.HoopDaddy.net. Contact Lee at sportsmonday@aol.com or (225) 926-3256.

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