Players dismissing LSU might want to think again
It’s getting harder and harder to keep track of the LSU roster.
An inordinate number of players have been lost to injury – most for the remainder of the season.
This week, quarterback Myles Brennan became the most important Tiger to enter the NCAA transfer portal, following linebacker Bugg Strong and wide receiver Koy Moore.
LSU is still hampered by the trickle-down effect of a nearly 2-year-long stream of players leaving behind remaining eligibility to head to the NFL or other college programs.
And now the Tigers are 4-touchdown underdogs as they prepare to face No. 3 Alabama on Saturday night in Bryant-Denny Stadium. The anticipated lack of competitiveness in this game would further demonstrate LSU’s current lack of competitiveness with programs that are SEC contenders.
On top of all that is the uncertainty of who will be the LSU coach after Ed Orgeron’s tenure ends in the next few weeks. That uncertainty could lead to additional defections and steer current and future inhabitants of the transfer portal as well high-school recruits to summarily dismiss the Tigers.
But this can all change.
In fact many current and potential LSU players would be better off considering a half-full rather than a half-empty (or empty) evaluation of the program.
The last time the Tigers were in Bryant-Denny, they beat the Crimson Tide 46-41 on their way to the SEC and national championship.
When the game ended, a bunch of LSU players ran to the stands where a bunch of 4-star and 5-star recruits were seated and gestured to them, suggesting LSU and not Alabama was the place where their future would be the brightest.
A few weeks later, the Tigers whipped Clemson to win the national championship and complete as dominant a season as any college football team has ever hard.
Louisiana online sports betting is officially live in much of the state. Louisiana joined the handful of other SEC football states with legalized sports betting in January 2022.
Sure, it turns out that time was fleeting.
But LSU can still provide a bright future for players.
The game Saturday will be just the 19th that LSU has played since that championship.
That championship was the Tigers’ 3rd in 17 seasons. Look around and see how many programs can match that. (Only Alabama.)
Each of the past 3 LSU coaches – Orgeron, Les Miles before him and current Alabama coach Nick Saban before him – has won a national championship with the Tigers. Also, Miles’ 2011 team was undefeated and No. 1 when it lost to Saban’s Alabama team for the title.
It obviously doesn’t look like it right now, but if a player goes to LSU, winning a national championship is a more realistic possibility than it is at 120 or so other programs.
If 3 straight coaches can win a national championship – Saban in his 4th season, Miles in his 3rd, Orgeron in his 3rd full season – why couldn’t the next coach win one in, say, the average length of a patient college player’s career?
And speaking of the new coach, naturally players are going to want to know who he is and learn about him before choosing to play for him.
But they’re going to know who he is real soon – probably before the season ends.
And here’s a spoiler alert – he’s going to be good.
Athletic director Scott Woodward wants a big name. Even if he doesn’t land a rock star, he’s going to get a very good football coach.
LSU is serious about this.
The brass decided almost immediately after the loss to Kentucky that the time to fix the program was now.
They scraped together $18 million in the blink of an eye to make Orgeron and his staff go away.
They’ll have the money necessary to get a really good replacement, someone who’s going to want to be that 4th consecutive guy to win a national championship.
That brings us to opportunity.
Every college player wants an opportunity to play, an opportunity to develop into the best player he can be, an opportunity to play for championships, an opportunity to get to the NFL.
Now, it’s hard to project how all of that will turn out, but it all starts with an opportunity to play.
Whoever the new LSU coach is, he’s going to need players – good players and lots of them.
For 2 years now Orgeron has struggled to fill in a 2-deep down the stretch of the season. There is a limit on many how high-school players, JUCO players and portal guys can join a program in one year – and it’s much smaller than the number of blank spaces the new coach is going to have on his roster.
Sure, LSU is starting over, and it has a long way to go.
But players on the team and elsewhere who think that is a disqualifier for the Tigers might want to think again.