This week as our nation heads to
the polls (no, not ones from The AP or ESPN/USA Today), it’s not a bad time to
consider where you were four years ago.
Especially if you’re an LSU
Four years ago. Hmmm ….
Four years ago 9/11 was the thing
you dialed in an emergency. Four years ago you’d never heard of a hanging chad
or a pregnant dimple.
Four years ago, the Hornets were
living in Charlotte, the Saints were still losing and you
never really paid any attention to anything called Zook.
And four years ago this week you
were still trying to figure out if the first-year football coach at LSU, Nick Saban, the 1.5-million-dollar man (seems like chump change now, doesn’t it?) was
the right guy to lead the Tigers into the new millennium.
As we headed into November 2000,
LSU was coming off a bye week that followed a stunning overtime victory over
State that left the Tigers
5-3 and looking as if they’d turned the corner.
It was a season that followed
back-to-back losing finishes under Gerry DiNardo and eight losing seasons in 11
Say that to yourself just to
reinforce what things were like: Eight losing seasons in 11 years.
Sort of takes your purple-and-gold
breath away, doesn’t it?
So back to the 2000 season. LSU
opened with victories over Western Carolina and Houston before losing at Auburn. And then came low point of the Saban
era, just four games in, when the Tigers lost at home to UAB.
Stunned fans were seen leaving
Tiger Stadium mumbling to themselves about Curley Hallman or some such
It was, of course, the turning
point, in retrospect a watershed moment for Saban’s program.
LSU bounced back with its overtime
upset of Tennessee. A loss to Florida followed, but victories over Kentucky and State put
the Tigers into bowl contention.
They responded well, as all five of
Saban’s LSU teams have to adversity.
After that aforementioned bye week,
LSU scored an historic home victory over Alabama and beat Ole Miss. The debacle in the
rain against Arkansas ruined some folks’ Thanksgiving
weekend, but all was probably forgiven when LSU went to the Peach Bowl and beat
Georgia Tech to finish 8-4 and the rest, as they say, is history.
Southeastern Conference champs in
2001. A step backward in a roller-coaster ride of a 2002 season, and then last
year’s run to the national championship.
Four winning seasons in four years
and some of the greatest moments in the program’s history.
Which brings us up to now, when LSU
stands 6-2 after beating Vanderbilt on Saturday night. There are just four teams
in the SEC with winning league records, Auburn
(6-0), Georgia (5-1),
(4-1) and LSU (3-2).
Was the Oregon State game awful? Yes. Did Auburn and Georgia manhandle the Tigers? Sure
did. Was LSU lackluster at best in
You bet. Was the Vandy game boring? Uh-huh.
But are things a heck of a lot
better than they were four years ago?
If you’re an LSU fan, you know the
If you’re an American, you have to
ask the same question. Try to remember where we were four years ago and make
sure you go to the polls.
My fellow Americans, in the words
of – can you believe of all things? – rapper P Diddy, “Vote or Die.”
That may be a bit much. Vote or
feel really guilty if you don’t.
Lee Feinswog is the author of “Tales From The LSU
Sidelines,” a Baton
Rouge sportswriter and host of the television show Sports
Monday. Reach him at (225) 926-3256 or firstname.lastname@example.org.