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LSU’s 36-16 thrashing of Georgia the biggest win for program since…

LSU players celebrate

Baton Rouge, La. – On Saturday afternoon in Baton Rouge, LSU scored the program’s biggest win since the 2011 “Game of the Century” at Alabama when the No. 1 Tigers defeated No. 2 Crimson Tide, 9-6.

I am not big into hyperbole and admittedly, we are often prisoners of the moment.

With the sights and sounds of LSU thrashing No. 2 Georgia 36-16 still fresh in our memories, it is easy to catapult this win to the top of the list. Obviously, this is the highest-ranked team that LSU has beaten since that night in Tuscaloosa, but the win is so much more significant than the number next to Georgia’s name.

It is not as if LSU has been void of impressive victories over the past seven seasons. In fact, the Tigers have tallied eight top-ten wins since 2012, including three already this season. But rankings alone sometime lack context. LSU’s wins earlier this season over No. 7 Auburn and No. 8 Miami will go down as top-ten wins, but clearly neither of those teams will finish the season as highly ranked as they started.

LSU has also claimed a pair of matchups between top ten teams in Tiger Stadium during that span.

In 2012, No. 6 LSU rallied past No. 3 South Carolina, 23-21. During Les Miles’ final full season as head coach in 2015, the sixth-ranked Tigers outdueled No. 8 Florida, 35-28. In 2012, little else mattered as LSU was on a collision course with Bama for a rematch and most people understood the 2015 Florida team were a paper Gator. They would lose their final three games of the season.

The one game that stands out above them all was the 2014 win at home against No. 3 Ole Miss, when a struggling LSU team won a 10-7 standoff with the Rebels in Tiger Stadium. To illustrate how the perception of a championship program had faded, LSU students rushed the field that night after beating a team led by Bo Wallace. That is hardly the behavior of a program that had played for three national titles during the previous decade.

Elite programs don’t rush the field after big wins because they expect to win big games. Over the past seven seasons, LSU had slipped from an elite program to a very good program. The Tigers were no longer a team that expected to not only win big games, but punish their opponent in the process.

Georgia, meanwhile, is in the process of becoming an elite program. Georgia won the SEC a year ago and was a breath away from winning the national title. Georgia unseated Alabama with the top-ranked recruiting class in the country. Georgia has the hot young coach that everybody wanted. Georgia is the team that everyone agrees is the biggest threat to Alabama’s reign over the SEC and college football.

Georgia was outplayed, outcoached, and outclassed by LSU Saturday.

It wasn’t just that LSU beat a highly ranked team; it was who they beat and how they beat them.

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