Every August I publish my Fearless Football Forecast for LSU football — and fervently hope that readers forget it by the end of the season.
This was especially true last season, when a tough schedule and doubts about quarterback Joe Burrow had me predicting a 6-6 season and a Liberty Bowl berth. Shame on me.
So it's back to my usual cockeyed optimism for the 2019 season, with a couple of exceptions. Here goes:
The Beer Bowl
There's been a lot of drama centering around the Georgia Southern quarterback and his inability to tell bird poop from Shinola or whatever. But in Tiger Stadium the big news is that beer and wine are available to even the peons in the cheap(er) seats, and not just the 1-percenters in the suites.
Alcohol and Tiger fans — what could possibly go wrong?
Oh, by the way, the Tigers beat the Eagles rather handily.
LSU plays its first road game in the neighboring state of Texas, going to Austin and raising eyebrows among the national analysts with a surprisingly decisive victory over the Texas Longhorns.
The Tigers go back to the friendly confines of Tiger Stadium to vanquish a gutsy but outmanned group of Demons from Northwestern State in a game where many LSU backups get to see the field.
It ain't baseball
It's hard to work up much hate for the Vanderbilt Commodores (except for that damn whistler, but that was baseball). A private school with high academic standards, it sometimes overachieves in football. But not this year. The Tigers journey to Nashville and take care of business.
After a bye, LSU warms up for tougher Southeastern Conference games by walloping the Utah State (Utah State?) Aggies (Aggies?) before a raucous crowd. Although when discussing LSU fans in Tiger Stadium, "raucous crowd" is redundant.
The Tigers, riding high at this point, are chomping at the bit to take on the highly disliked Florida Gators in their homecoming game. It pains me no end to say this, but Dan Mullen's crew does some chomping of its own, and leaves Baton Rouge with the victory.
Recovery in Starkville
The gang in purple and gold need a win badly to get their mojo working again. They get it in Starkville ("Stark Vegas" is SO last season) when the lads from Baton Rouge win a close one over the determined Bulldogs.
Good Tigers win
Back in Baton Rouge, it's another SEC West opponent, the Auburn Tigers, who have had some classic (and often strange) games with the other Tigers. This year is no exception, but when the smoke clears (not real smoke like that game years ago in Auburn), it's LSU with the victory.
After the traditional bye, LSU rolls into Tuscaloosa undefeated in the SEC West — and rolls out with a defeat that pretty much dashes the Tiger faithfuls' hopes for a SEC championship. Yeah, I'm not happy either…
A welcome 'W'
In Oxford, the Tigers get back on track by vanquishing the Ole Miss Rebels, Black Bears, Land Sharks or whatever they're called this season.
The swagger is back when the Tigers take on the visiting Arkansas Razorbacks — but they nearly blow it when the Hogs put up a valiant effort and only lose by a point.
Revenge is sweet
After that seven-overtime epic in College Station last year, the Bengals are glad to have the Aggies on their home turf. This one features little drama, just a sky-high group in purple and gold seeking a Sugar Bowl berth — and getting it with that win.
The 10-2 Tigers make the short trip to New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl. While they would have rather played later in the Dome for the national championship, they play like champs in overcoming the favored Oklahoma Sooners — just like the 2003 team did in winning the 2004 Sugar Bowl, to be crowned BCS champions.
Quarterback Joe Burrow is named the game's MVP — a fitting honor for the gutsy kid.