This Saturday has been circled on Alabama’s schedule for 365 days. 

The day Alabama could return the favor after their devastating 46-41 loss in 2019. The day they could travel to Baton Rouge, walk into Death Valley, and manhandle their bitter SEC west rival. The day they could get payback on Ed Orgeron and his locker room comments, and take back the crown as the top dog in the SEC. 

It was set up to be your classic revenge game for Alabama, and LSU had a vengeance to pay. 

That is, until 2020 happened to LSU.

We saw the chinks in the armor begin to appear when LSU had a mass exodus of talent leave for the NFL and opt-outs began. The Tigers had a grand total of - wait for it- FIVE starters return for the 2020 season out of the 22 positions on their 2019 championship team. That is more talent gone than any championship team in the last 15 years.

While there is no shame in losing talent to the NFL, Ed Orgeron and Co.’s mistake was building up this team to be more than it was. In an LSU sports podcast from early September, Orgeron said verbatim “we are so much better on defense right now than any part of the season last year.” What’s more, Orgeron spent a chunk of that same podcast building up newly rehired defensive coordinator Bo Pellini. All you need to know is Orgeron said “He knows what to do against offenses. He’s an expert at it.”

Hm. Let’s refer to the numbers, shall we? 

Last season through 15 games, the Tigers ranked 31st in total defense, allowing about 330 yards  and 22 points per game. Through five games this season, the Tigers rank No. 110 out of 123 teams in total defense, allowing 478 yards and 34 points a game. 

The only teams playing worse defense in the FBS that have played at least five games are Memphis, Arkansas State, Ole Miss and North Texas. That’s not great company. 

This 2-3 LSU team shocked the college football world after losing to Mississippi State in week 1, allowing over 630 yards of offense in a 44-34 loss. For reference, since then Mississippi State has gone 1-4,  hasn’t put up over 24 points, and have benched Quarterback KJ Costello.

The Tigers have also lost in a shootout to Missouri, and were obliterated by Auburn 48-11. They have underwhelmed in almost every fashion defensively, and with the loss of Myles Brennan, their offense now looks mediocre too. Alabama, coming into Saturday as the No. 4 offense in the country, was set to run circles around this shamble of a defense. 

Which leads to what occurred this last Tuesday, when the news broke that the Alabama-LSU game would be “postponed” due to a COVID outbreak on the LSU football team. Reportedly, here is where the outbreak stemmed from.

You read that right, a Halloween party. In the midst of a pandemic, knowing football games are getting cancelled left and right for SEC COVID-19 protocol violations, LSU football players decided a Halloween party would be a great idea. 

With this not being the first COVID-19 outbreak the Tigers have dealt with, it sends the signal to people everywhere that Orgeron does not have a grip on his program. It casts doubt on his actual role on LSU’s championship team last year as well.

Does the name Gene Chizik ring a bell? Could it be that Orgeron was carried by his perennial talent at quarterback much like Chizik was with Cam Newton in 2010? If you remember, what followed two years after Auburn’s 14-0 championship season and Newton’s NFL departure was a 3-9 record and a Chizik firing. To hit close to home, Les Miles ended up following that same path as well. 

Is Orgeron in danger of hopping on that dreaded hot seat? Not even close, but it’s undeniable this LSU program looks like a freight train just ran through it. I know I’m not a head coach, but I also know it takes more than recruiting, making a good pot of Gumbo, and yelling “GEAUX TIGAHS” to be a good head coach. 

With there being no obvious option to reschedule the game having already rescheduled their game against Florida, LSU should be forced to forfeit to the Crimson Tide, which might be the biggest embarrassment of them all for LSU fans. A whooping was expected, but it would at least be fun to see LSU try. 

 Oh well, It looks like they will have to go two more years without scoring a point in their own stadium against the Crimson Tide. 

They should be used to it by now, though. After all, they haven’t done it since 2014.

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