Expect Tigers to scratch, claw after Tide loss

Posted: November 8, 2017 at 2:34 a.m.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban, right, and LSU head coach Ed Orgeron, left, meet in the center of the field before an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

It appeared when the SEC, no doubt on the advice of CBS, changed the timing of the Arkansas-LSU game from the day after Thanksgiving to earlier in the season, the league had taken what was becoming a rivalry and made it part of the regular season.

That game was fun whether played in Little Rock or Fayetteville.

When it was in War Memorial Stadium, a convoy of motor homes with Louisiana license plates would arrive to mix and mingle with the Road Hogs.

They came early and stayed late.

The day before the game, a slow drive through the park would fill the senses with frying turkeys that were soaked in Cajun seasonings. Laughter could be heard throughout the land of football fans off Markham Street and Fair Park Boulevard.

Apparently, CBS wanted that day to instead be the Tigers and Texas A&M Aggies. The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville got the Missouri Tigers.

The first two years, 2014 and 2015, it appeared the SEC had given the Hogs a golden opportunity to hold on to the Golden Boot.

In both of those seasons, LSU lost to Alabama the week before it played the Razorbacks, and the Tide hangover was so harsh the Tigers lost to the Hogs 17-0 and 31-14.

The 2014 victory was the Hogs' fifth of the season, and the next week they beat Ole Miss to clinch a spot in the Texas Bowl in Houston.

The 2015 victory was their sixth of the season and put them on the radar of the Liberty Bowl in Memphis.

The schedule change was more glorious each year.

Then LSU made its own change. After an 18-13 loss to Auburn that left the Tigers 2-2 and 1-1 in the SEC, it was decided the Mad Hatter had lost his stinger, so Les Miles was fired.

Ed Orgeron was named the interim head coach and reeled off three consecutive victories before hosting the dreaded Crimson Tide, who won 10-0, prior to their trip to Fayetteville.

LSU blew in, got a 38-10 victory, and the Tide hangover was no more.

Orgeron would finish the season 6-2, including a 29-9 victory over Louisville in the Citrus Bowl, and the interim was taken off his title. He agreed -- of course he did -- to a $3.5 million per year contract with a $12 million buyout.

The Tigers opened this season with two victories before getting embarrassed at Mississippi State 37-7, and the grumbling began among the fans. When they lost to Troy 24-21 at home, there was outrage throughout the Tigers Nation, especially about the hefty buyout. A fan started a GoFundMe account to raise the money.

Orgeron and LSU then knocked off Florida, Auburn and Ole Miss, and the fans were't even whispering about their coach.

They lost to Alabama on Saturday 24-10, and Orgeron is 12-5 as the LSU head coach and 18-7 as a head coach when not counting his three seasons at Ole Miss.

After Orgeron's first four losses at LSU, the Tigers won their next game.

The players spoke this week about Orgeron's 24-hour rule, which most coaches employ, and their time limit for enjoying a victory or suffering a loss. They said he is passionate in the locker room after every game, and the message is loud and clear: They are going back to work the next day.

The Tigers are not just playing for the Golden Boot this Saturday when they take on the Razorbacks, who have won two games in a row. At 6-3 LSU already is bowling, but 9-3 is likely to earn a trip to the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Fla., which is a lot more appealing than just about any other bowl city the Tigers have a shot at.

Plus, Orgeron would like to keep his record perfect in winning the next game after a loss. So far it hasn't been a problem for him or the Tigers.

Sports on 11/08/2017