Every August for years, I've been producing the Fearless Football Forecast, based on the premise that you shouldn't have to go to a bar to hear uninformed comments about LSU football.
Usually I'm optimistic about the Tigers' upcoming season. This year, not so much.
Unproven quarterbacks, an uncertain running game, inexperienced players at almost every position and a change in offensive coordinators spell a rebuilding (aka "bad") season:
Big wind in Texas
They roar into Arlington, Texas, highly ranked and favored, but for three quarters the Miami Hurricanes play like a tropical storm. Finally, in the fourth quarter, with LSU leading, the Canes put aside those tacky gold chains and remember how to play football, using their overall team speed to get the win.
The Southeastern Lions come over from Hammond and play well for a quarter, until the Tigers wear them down. They leave Baton Rouge with only a big check for their troubles.
The lads from Baton Rouge journey to Auburn to take on the favored other Tigers. LSU keeps it close but doesn't have enough mojo to overcome an inspired Auburn gang, who pull away at the end.
The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs come down from Ruston and play well for a half, until the Tigers wear them down. They, too, leave Baton Rouge with only a big check for their troubles.
Routing the Rebs
Next to visit the Tigers are the troubled Ole Miss Rebels, who wind up stumbling, bumbling and fumbling their way through a game that was never in doubt, as the home team from Baton Rouge has its way with them.
Speaking of troubled teams, LSU visits the Florida Gators, mired in off-field incidents that have some players wearing their Florida orange in jumpsuits. The run-impaired Tigers rely on an air game to win.
The Tigers are 4-2 at the season's halfway mark, and things are looking pretty good. But then the wheels come off, starting with a demoralizing loss to the Georgia Bulldogs.
One dog night
Another set of Bulldogs, from Mississippi State, visit the Tigers in what is billed as a "revenge game" after State won by 30 points last year. But to have revenge you have to win. The Bulldogs' Nick Fitzgerald once again shows the Tigers what it's like to be out-quarterbacked (see Prescott, Dak).
Alabama comes to town and leaves with a win, because, well, that's what they do against LSU. Nick Saban is his usual jovial self, waving to the crowd, cracking jokes with the players and jitterbugging with a cheerleader when the band plays "Sweet Home Alabama." (No, that won't happen — but wouldn't it be fun if it did?)
The yuckiest game
The carnage continues as the Tigers, favored for once, against the Arkansas Razorbacks, find a way to lose on a miserable day in Fayetteville, when a cold rain turns to sleet and both teams struggle to get anything going.
LSU gets a much-needed breather when the lads from Rice, a Texas version of an Ivy League school, come to town. The Owls play smart but don't have the juice to close the deal.
Needing a win to become bowl eligible, LSU travels to College Station, home of Jimbo Fisher, the richest Texan in football who's not Jerry Jones. LSU leaves with a win, because, well, that's what they do against the Aggies.
With other SEC teams snapping up major bowls, the 6-6 Tigers are dispatched to the Liberty Bowl. They're treated well — eating a lot of barbecue ribs, visiting Graceland and enjoying a performance by the third-best Elvis impersonator in Memphis (despite one of the younger Tigers asking, "Who's Elvis Presley?"). The game, against Texas Tech, is played in a driving rainstorm, which negates the pass-happy Red Raiders' offense and leads to an LSU win.
Optimists say that at 7-6, the Tigers can at least claim a winning season. Pessimists don't say anything — they're too busy printing up "O MUST GO" signs.