Roll back the clock. Wait, let’s not go that route. Looking back the past few seasons, the LSU – Florida game has been the turning point for the Tigers. LSU has come into this game undefeated the past three seasons and with victory and defeat, the outcomes have proved to be the key to their season. Now, LSU faces Florida on Saturday night with a lot more at stake this time around.
Think back to 2007. All was good in Tigertown. Coach Les Miles had his ‘damn strong football team’ pushing people around and daring teams to go nose to nose with them. Miles made bold coaching decisions and his never back down approach led to five fourth down conversions and a Saturday night in Tiger Stadium that we will never forget. The Tigers beat the Gators 28-24 and used that game as a springboard to the National Championship.
In 2008 and 2009, LSU was dealt a bad hand and was forced into a situation that teams like Texas and Georgia are facing this year; having to play young quarterbacks. In ’08 Florida routed LSU 51-21 when redshirt freshman Jarrett Lee was forced into action after Andrew Hatch was injured in the first half. LSU stumbled to a 4-4 finish. All of a sudden, Coach Miles’ bold coaching decisions took a back seat to bad throwing decisions on the part of his young quarterback.
Once more, 2009 ended in similar fashion after a loss to Florida. This time it was sophomore Jordan Jefferson who couldn’t make a play in a 13-3 loss at home under the lights. LSU finished the season with a 4-3 record. Along the way, Miles’ decision-making, from who to play at quarterback to clocking the damn ball, has caught up to the once brash leader and National Championship coach.
Now, fast forward to 2010 and again Les Miles’ LSU Tigers are 5-0. Except this time his ‘damn strong football team’ is saying ‘damn, what happened?’ Another quarterback controversy and another time management gaffe have put a hot flame under the seat of the ‘Mad Hatter.’ Instead of celebrating a Top 10 ranking and being undefeated, the players and coaches are having to defend themselves from national and local media, as well as a fan base that are absolutely crucifying their decision-making and play on the field. So what is the best thing about having to play the Gators this Saturday?
A turning point is near.
Either the Tigers get a big win on the road and silence their critics or Les Miles digs himself deeper into the whole he has dug for himself. LSU is bouncing on their springboard. Will they be on their way up or nose diving to the bottom of the pool?
Late Saturday night, listen and see if you hear a splash.