LSU’s regular season is in the books, and it was a wild one.

It was better than most expected, very nearly special and ultimately good but not great.

After the historic 74-72, seven-overtime loss at No. 22 Texas A&M on Saturday, the No. 12 Tigers are 9-3 and 5-3 as they await their bowl destination.

They tied the Aggies for second place in the SEC West after a remarkably memorable end to a memorable season.

Here are 10 things we’ll remember most about this LSU regular season:

10. Preseason expectations

The LSU season was a reminder that we shouldn’t trust preseason expectations.

The Tigers were ranked No. 25 in the preseason poll, and because they faced what looked like one of the toughest schedules in recent memory, some observers were predicting a .500 season.

The consensus was that LSU would win seven or maybe eight if it pulled off an upset along the way.

But the Tigers won nine, primarily because they were better than expected but also because the schedule (see Miami and Auburn) wasn’t as daunting as expected, though it was challenging.

The preseason expectations had little relation to the in-season performance, which is worth remembering.

9. The first touchdown of the season

The Tigers scored 44 touchdowns. Heck, they scored nine against the Aggies alone.

So what makes the first touchdown memorable?

Read on.

The season was less than a quarter old when senior Nick Brossette took a handoff, eyed a huge hole in the middle of the field and sprinted 50 yards to the end zone.

It was a statement play. It said that LSU was better than Miami and was going to handle the Hurricanes, which it did, 33-17. It said the Tigers were going to be better, much better, than their No. 25 preseason ranking.

But it said even more about Brossette and players like him. At a time when heralded recruits are expected to be superstars as freshmen, and when superstar freshmen can’t wait to leave for the NFL, it’s rare that players have the opportunity to be late bloomers.

Brossette is Louisiana’s all-time high school touchdown leader, but he never scored a touchdown and hardly played during his first three seasons as a Tiger. That play against Miami signaled that he was ready as a senior.

He finished 78 yards shy of 1,000 and scored 14 touchdowns as a senior. He’s a great story. It would be nice if there were more like his.

8. Burrow-Dillon touchdown pass vs. Auburn

Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

LSU was in danger of losing its SEC opener. It was on the road against the No. 7 team in the country, and a fast start had fizzled. Auburn led 21-13 midway through the fourth quarter, and LSU was having trouble generating any offense.

Then Derrick Dillon came open on a crossing route, not by much but open enough. Joe Burrow placed the ball barely out of the reach of the Auburn defenders.

Dillon snared the pass and completed a 71-yard touchdown that turned the game around. LSU still trailed after a two-point conversion failed, but it had the momentum.

It stopped Auburn, got the ball back and drove to a game-winning and season-turning field goal.

If LSU had lost that game, its season probably would look like less of a success than it does. But the flip side of that is that the Burrow-to-Dillon touchdown was a rare – really, really rare – example of LSU making a big play in the passing game in a big situation.

The Tigers were supposed to be a lot better in the passing game this season. If they had made a few more timely plays like the one they made at Auburn, this season might have been special.

7. Safety Grant Delpit

LSU calls itself DBU because it produces outstanding defensive backs such as Delpit.

The Tigers have sent a bunch of them to the NFL. This year’s example was supposed to be cornerback Greedy Williams, who had an outstanding redshirt freshman season last year to become a hot NFL prospect.

But Delpit emerged this season as LSU’s premier defensive back. Williams is still highly thought of by the NFL if he chooses to enter the draft early. Now Delpit is on the NFL’s radar, but he won’t be able to turn pro until after next season, which is good news for head coach Ed Orgeron and defensive coordinator Dave Aranda.

They’ll have at least one more season of Delpit rushing the passer, stopping the run and defending the pass.

6. Loss at Florida

LSU faced a fourth and 1 at the Florida 15. It was late second quarter. The score was tied at 7.

Orgeron thought about going for it. He didn’t. He sent Cole Tracy in to kick a field goal. The Tigers had a 10-7 lead, but the Gators were uplifted by Orgeron’s unwillingness to try to get a single yard.

A few minutes later, Florida scored a touchdown. It took a 14-10 lead. The Gators eventually won 27-19.

Orgeron kicked himself after the game and into the next week for not being true to his aggressive nature, for not trusting the players, who had earned his trust.

The aftermath was a pivotal moment in this season.

5. Win against Georgia

Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

A week later, LSU played No. 2 Georgia. Timidity wasn’t going to cut it.

Orgeron went for it on fourth down four times. LSU converted four times. The Tigers blasted the Bulldogs 36-16.

The coach felt like he let his players down against Florida. He trusted them against Georgia. He was true to his aggressive nature. It paid off.

It was a big win, but more than that, it was a microcosm of Orgeron’s two-plus seasons as LSU’s head coach.

He failed badly at his first head coaching job at Ole Miss. He behaved as a head coach the way he had behaved as a position coach. He tried to be hands-on all the time and micromanage.

At LSU, he hired a really good staff and decided to trust it. He has delegated more.

Orgeron learned from his mistakes at Ole Miss, and he’s a better coach at LSU. He learned from his mistake at Florida, and it paid off against Georgia.

That field goal at Florida might have seemed like an insignificant moment.

It wasn’t.

4. Devin White brouhaha

No single play in LSU’s season attracted as much scrutiny as the targeting call against linebacker Devin White for his hit on Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald on Oct. 20.

Was it a personal foul? Probably. Did it qualify as targeting under the vague rule defining targeting? Maybe. Did it warrant White missing the first half of the next game against Alabama? Under the rule, maybe. Within the context of any general concept of punishment fitting the crime, no.

But White’s absence against Alabama fed all of the paranoia about Alabama getting preferential treatment, especially from the SEC office.

White’s absence had no bearing on Alabama whipping LSU.

But the reaction to the targeting call demonstrated how psyched out LSU – and pretty much all of college football – is when it comes to Alabama.

3. White’s season

The whole targeting situation stole a bunch of headlines, but the week-in, week-out sustained excellence of White was far more memorable.

He has 115 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 5 pass breakups, 5 passes defensed, 8 quarterback hurries, 2 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries.

This came after a breakout season that landed him on all kinds of preseason awards lists. Opponents focus on slowing him down whenever they put together their game plan, and none of them have worked.

2. Missed field goal against Alabama

Speaking of being psyched out by Alabama, that reality surfaced again during the third quarter of the Crimson Tide-Tigers game in Tiger Stadium.

Bama led 22-0 early in the fourth quarter. LSU had its most serious scoring threat of the game but faced fourth and 11 at the Tide 15. Yeah, getting 11 yards on one play wasn’t very likely.

But Orgeron’s decision to try a field goal had less to do with game management than face-saving. A successful kick would have still left the Tigers three scores behind and done essentially no good. A touchdown would have made it a two-score game.

But LSU was on the verge of getting shut out by Alabama in Tiger Stadium for the second straight game under Orgeron. He seemed more interested in avoiding that ignominy than making a decision based on trying to win the game, regardless of how unlikely that was.

Tracy, one of the most accurate kickers in the country, missed a 33-yard field goal.

Ball don’t lie.

1. The marathon at College Station

It broke the FBS record for points in a game, which is not a record one would expect LSU to be associated with. But that’s what seven overtimes will do to a game.

But more significantly, the game was a microcosm of the Tigers’ season and the status of the program.

It showed that LSU, as good as it is, is not yet where it wants to be. It’s not a serious contender to win the SEC.

It has a lot of talent, but not enough on offense and not enough depth on defense to get to where it wants to be.

An exhausted defense couldn’t get the stop necessary to prevail in overtime.

It has been a good season, but not great.

The program is in good, but not great, shape.

The loss to the Aggies showed that.