Fans must allow room for LSU improvement

LSU Tigers vs. Mississippi State football video highlights, score

First, LSU defeated McNeese State, and I wrote nothing because it was McNeese State.

Then, the Tigers defeated Central Michigan, and I wrote nothing because it was Central Michigan.

Finally, the Tigers traveled to Mississippi State and defeated the Bulldogs 28-25 on the road, and now I must write something because perspective on this football season has quickly deteriorated.

The 2021 LSU football team is not going to win the national championship this year. The Tigers aren’t even going to make the College Football Playoff. 

My apologies to the portion of the readership that already understands that fact of life, but I feel that many are living in denial of this truth.

Afterall, denial is the only conclusion I can draw after hearing so much frustration from fans following LSU’s victory against Mississippi State on Saturday. 

The Tigers dominated the game for almost three whole quarters and led the Bulldogs 21-3 until State scored a touchdown with 26 seconds left in the third-quarter. Even then, LSU staved off the Bulldogs long enough to secure a Southeastern Conference win on the road.

This was the same Mississippi State offense that scored 44 points on LSU in last year’s season opener. This was also the same LSU defense that, in all honesty, looked completely unprepared to take the field against UCLA in this year’s season opener three weeks ago.

While the Bulldogs made the game far closer than it had to be when they came within three points of the Tigers, I must admit that the team showed improvement since their beatdown in California.

Surely, dear reader, you would have to admit that watching Damone Clark and Micah Baskerville combine for 26 total tackles surprised you after you spent the last few weeks bashing the Tigers’ linebacker play to all of your buddies at Wrong Iron.

It surprised me, and I was that schmuck at Wrong Iron bashing the linebackers.

And, yes, dear reader, it’s fine to admit that Max Johnson’s performance of 280 yards passing, four touchdowns, and one interception is a decent enough job even after you saved a countless number of Twitter memes of the LSU quarterback doing his worst Patrick Mahomes impression of a “no-look” pass.

I know that I appreciated the game he played.

It’s also okay to point out that the Tigers still have no running game to speak of after only amassing 63 yards on the ground, and how Mississippi State isn’t as good as the other teams remaining on LSU’s schedule, and how the offensive line has yet to muster any praiseworthy moments.

Johnson is still struggling with his pass efficiency, Orgeron is still on the hot seat, and this LSU team has yet to prove anything to anyone.

All of these critiques are valid, but life is far too short to watch an entire football season with a miserable disposition. 

There is a fine line between discussing areas of improvement for a not-great LSU team and allowing your shattered fantasy of a Tiger football championship in the near future to ruin your weekends.

Of course, LSU fans want their Tigers to be the best team in the country, and it is admirable to demand such a high standard every season. 

However, the reality of the situation is that this team doesn’t have the talent, experience, or coaching to be in the conversation for best in the country. Could LSU continue to improve? Sure. Could the Tigers also take a step back this weekend against No. 22 Auburn? Quite possibly.

Stop pretending that this team should have beaten a subpar State team like a drum though. These Tigers aren’t built to do that. These Tigers may not even be built to win eight games this year. We’ll have to let the season play out.

Please don’t misunderstand my acceptance of reality for my forgiveness of the coaching staff or my permission for LSU to field a team this bad for a second year in a row.

I stand by my column after the UCLA game, and I especially do not appreciate being gaslighted by LSU coach Ed Orgeron all offseason.

Orgeron’s constant insinuations before the season opener that the coaches corrected the problems of the 2020 season, his repeated incompetence in hiring qualified assistant coaches, and his knack for fielding unprepared teams has solidified my opinion on his future at LSU, or, rather, the lack thereof.

However, I refuse to allow the failings of this coaching staff to steal my enjoyment of LSU football. I will continue to cheer for the Tigers as if they will win every game, and I will continue to praise the team for its improvement and point out its shortfalls.

I will not hold this team to national championship expectations, and I urge you to do the same if you enjoy watching football and love LSU.

Anything to the contrary is unrealistic, counterproductive, and misery-inducing.

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