Fortunately for me, I was all but apathetic about the LSU-Arkansas game on Friday. After getting spanked by Ole Miss, the Tigers were headed to a disappointing bowl appearance, regardless of the outcome in Arkansas.
So, while I watched the entire game, and got a little excited when the Tigers actually started playing football in the second quarter, I mostly just quietly gritted my teeth for three hours.
LSU is a better football team than that putrid performance. I still believe that. I just can't prove it. Not after the last few weeks.
Porous defense, undisciplined play, terrible play calling, a freshman QB in his first start, a struggling running game, an penalties. All LSU lacked was a few ill-timed turnovers to make the tragedy more complete.
Ah, well. Thus ends the 2008 season - and it may just be fitting. The team has been leaderless all year long, and that, in my mind, is the "why" in all of this. No on-field leadership.
There are coaching problems. There are QB and secondary problems. There have been injuries.
But the critical facet of last year's team, who had all of that to deal with and more (except maybe coaching), was the outstanding leadership of Dorsey, Hester, Flynn, and others. That has been missing this year.
Yes, Arkansas made some critical plays at the right time. But this LSU team should not have let that Arkansas team - particularly with thier injuries - even sniff an opportunity to win.
This team remains rudderless. Especially on defense.
And that leads me to this. Could LSU turn down the bowl game and just let this season go away? I know the Tigers and Les Miles would NEVER do that, particularly because of the senior class. But, really, do any of you want to risk watching LSU get blown out by some crappy ACC team?
Personally, I've had enough. I'd be happy to turn to basketball and start getting ready for baseball and the Spring football game.
It's sour grapes. I admit it. And I know better. I should have more perspective. But, even though I did not in any way expect this season to be a repeat of 2007, I certainly didn't expect LSU to go 3-5 in SEC play. And struggle with Troy. And lose to Ole Miss. And lose to Arkansas. So, although my brain says I'm being childish, my heart is calling for the pain to stop.
Whatever. The game will be played. And I will watch. But that familiar pre-game anticipation won't be there, replaced instead with something very, very close to apathy. But not quite.
Geaux Tigers. I guess.