So what now for the LSU Football program, after the Bayou Bengals’ stunning defeat at the hand of the hated Florida Gators yesterday afternoon?
After the Florida Gators stuffed the LSU Tigers twice in the red zone to earn a 16-10 victory in Death Valley, LSU not only loss the game but a series of questions are up in the air as the Tigers prepare for their season finale against Texas A&M on Thanksgiving Day.
For starters, with the Tigers losing the game, LSU interim head Ed Orgeron can most likely kiss his chances of being the LSU head football coach goodbye.
Despite turning the Tigers dismal 2-2 start into a 6-4 record overall, the big games that Orgeron needed to win to solidify his place of possibly becoming the head coach of LSU — wins against Alabama and Florida — he did not get.
After all, LSU fired Les Miles because of the Tigers’ inconsistency on offense to begin the season and his inability to win games. By the time Miles made the quarterback change from Brandon Harris to Danny Etling, some might argue that it was too late to try to salvage his coaching job with LSU.
Now, this is no discredit to Miles’ legacy and coaching resume at LSU. The Tigers’ football program, however, is used to winning and competing at the highest level.
Knowing this, Orgeron was brought in as the interim coach to fix the issues that Miles allegedly could not fix. After the Tigers recorded three-straight victories, Orgeron seemed as if he had turned the program from dust to gold.
When LSU played No. 1 ranked Alabama, however, things went back to reality as the Crimson Tide defeated the Tigers, 10-0.
Fans, alumni and students want a coach who can lead the Tigers in victories over top-ranked opponents but more importantly, defeating Alabama. They do not want to see the Tigers lose games against teams like Florida, a SEC East opponent that many felt the Tigers should have won.
Nov 19, 2016; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain celebrates the win over the LSU Tigers at Tiger Stadium. The Gators defeat the Tigers 16-10. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
As we know, anything can happen in the SEC on any given Saturday. The loss limits the Tigers’ chances of playing in the 2017 All-State Sugar Bowl. Ultimately, as for Orgeron, it lessened his chances of becoming the head coach.
Even if Orgeron finds a way to defeat the Aggies Thanksgiving Day, his chances of winning the head position will still remain slim.
Secondly, junior running back Leonard Fournette most likely played in his final home game as a Tiger.
Related Story | Leonard Fournette: ‘I enjoyed every bit’ of college career
With one game left before the Tigers earn a spot in a bowl game during the holiday season, the sights, sounds and high-intense play from No. 7 will become distant memories.
What will this mean for the football program moving forward into the offseason and the 2017 season?
Who will be the next emerging star to take the reigns from Fournette?
Nov 19, 2016; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers running back Derrius Guice (5) carries the ball against the Florida Gators during the second half at Tiger Stadium. The Gators defeat the Tigers 16-10. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Running back Derrius Guice looks to be Fournette’s heir apparent.
Offensively, who will the Tigers rely on get the offense moving efficiently along with Etling in the passing game?
That will be something to think about following the bowl season, especially without knowing who will be the Tigers next head coach.
Finally, despite the loss to Florida, LSU needs to earn a big win against Texas A&M for two reasons.
One, the win would allow the Tigers to finish the regular season three games above .500, despite finishing 8-3 in the 2015 regular season under Les Miles.
Nov 28, 2015; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers running back Leonard Fournette (7) carries the ball in the second half against the Texas A&M Aggies at Tiger Stadium. LSU defeated Texas A&M Aggies 19-7. Mandatory Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports
The outcome of the Aggies-Tigers game will determine which bowl game LSU plays in.
A win for the Tigers would be a much needed confidence booster going into their bowl game in the month of December or January, depending on which bowl game they are selected for.
Lastly, as for Tiger fans, players like Fournette and seniors on the team, winning the last game will keep the program moving in a positive direction.
For the players, it will end their regular college careers on a high note, leaving one last opportunity to play under the bright lights in a Purple and Gold uniform….