Sunday night, the purple-and-gold sky will either be falling or there will be unbridled optimism by a somewhat fickle LSU fan base.
Their Tigers open the season Sunday night against the University of Miami in Arlington, Texas.
In four quarters, many offseason questions will be answered: How talented is quarterback Joe Burrow? How much different is the new LSU offense? With the addition of cornerback Kristian Fulton, is the LSU defense as good as advertised?
Miami is favored in the game, and many expect the Hurricanes to be a Top 10 team. That is, of course, many spots higher than projected for LSU.
The groundswell of support for the ‘Canes is interesting. They won their first 10 games last season then lost their last three, allowing 96 points in the three games to end the 2017 season.
If Miami has such an edge at quarterback with Malik Rosier, the numbers don’t support it. In those three losses, Rosier was 40-of-89 passing with five interceptions.
If Miami has such an edge in coaching, why is Mark Richt 22-7 in his last 29 games, and Ed Orgeron is 21-8 over the same stretch?
On defense, does Miami have a better player than LSU linebacker Devin White? Do the ‘Canes have a better cornerback than Greedy Williams?
Is LSU offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger that big of a risk as a play caller? In 2016, when Ensminger was promoted to the same job by Orgeron, LSU fans discovered D.J. Chark, a wide receiver who was drafted in the second round by Jacksonville.
Does Miami have a better defensive coordinator than Dave Aranda? He’s a guy that LSU gave $10 million in the offseason to keep him from getting poached by Texas A&M.
The answer to many of the questions above is probably no, yet some LSU fans approach the season like seven or fewer wins are an inevitability.
If a team has solid quarterbacking (let’s assume Joe Burrow can at least do that) and an outstanding defense, how can they be bad?
Even though I am into the autumn portion of my time on the planet, my mind still functions pretty well. And I have a hard time remembering when a solid quarterback and a stout defense produced bad football.
In Louisiana, for all the great things we have going, we also have this complex that somehow we aren’t quite good enough.
I thought some guy named Nick Saban changed all of that.
So, enjoy the game Sunday night. It will be one of the most interesting openers for the Tigers in a very long time.
All the national websites, those with Orgeron at the top of their coaches’ “hot seat list,” are ready to change his seat color from red to scalding if the Tigers stumble against Miami.
However, I think if there’s a paper Tiger in this game, it’s Miami. So, I think LSU wins.
And, if the Tigers don’t, the naysayers will be everywhere like cockroaches.
To paraphrase former NFL coach Bill Parcells: Each Sunday (in the NFL) is either a carnival or a catastrophe. And, so it will be for LSU on Sunday night.
Ed Daniels can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.