History is on the line, and history is written by the winners.
Two days and ten hours from now, it won’t be a stage without players anymore, as it has been for two long weeks. Clemson and LSU will send its respective players to that stage for one final show, for one final battle that will decide who gets the trophy, who gets the ring.
It will decide who will be remembered in the annals of history.
The LSU Tigers have raised the standard. Now all they have to do is finish.
You’ve Raised the Standard.
Now Finish What You’ve Started pic.twitter.com/lfNq5EDXFw
— LSU Football (@LSUfootball) January 11, 2020
Back in 2011, that Tiger team was on the verge of being considered as one of the greatest teams of all time, having beaten eight top-25 teams, including three in the top-5, before falling to No. 2 Alabama in a miserable night no Tiger fan will ever forget.
Unfortunately, maybe history does sometimes remember the loser, because Alabama’s dominating victory that night defied logic and seemingly nullified a 13-0 season and SEC championship for LSU. People still remember wondering what on Earth was wrong with LSU that night.
But people can start forgetting Monday night.
Once again, the Tigers have, right there in front of them, the opportunity at history. They have the opportunity to be considered among the greats of all time.
If not the greatest.
With a win, LSU will have defeated seven top-10 teams this season. Seven. Let that sink in. Almost half of their fifteen victories will have been over the elitest of the elite.
(6) LSU 45 (9) Texas 38
(5) LSU 42 (7) Florida 28
(2) LSU 23 (9) Auburn 20
(1) LSU 46 (2) Alabama 41
(1) LSU 37 (4) Georgia 10
(1) LSU 63 (4) Oklahoma 28
This never happens.
The team boasts the Biletnikoff Award winner, the Thorpe Award winner, the Maxwell Award winner, the Davey O’Brien Award winner, the Walter Camp Player of the Year, the Coach of the Year, and of course, the Heisman Trophy winner.
Now, after its 63-28 dismantling of Oklahoma in the semifinals, with six top-10 wins and a wagon-load of individual awards accumulated already, the question is not at all out of the realm of possibility:
Would an LSU victory Monday night, over the defending national champions on a 29-game winning streak themselves, cement the 2019 Tigers as the greatest college football team of all time?
Tiger fans would say yes. They would say a resounding yes that would echo all the way back to January 9, 2011, all the way 350 miles north to Tuscaloosa.
So here it is, Tigers. Your one shot at greatness. Your one shot at erasing another kind of history, the one no one wants to be a part of.
It is your one shot at being remembered for the right reasons this time.
Finish the job.
Finish what you started.
And sit back and watch history tell the tale.
Writer Jeff LeJeune has an M.A. in English, is a high school and college instructor, and is a former college athlete. In addition to his writing work for The Hayride, he is a ghostwriter, editor, and novelist. His website is www.jefflejeune.net.