brand new ORLEANS — The signs of a renewed football empire were everywhere as Monday night merged with Tuesday morning: the cigar smoke cloaking Louisiana State’s locker room, the purple along with gold confetti on the Superdome’s field, the crush of reporters along with state troopers surrounding a coach whose career had been all nevertheless left for dead not long ago.
On Monday night, L.S.U. — a program of which just two years ago failed to beat Troy, a team This specific paid nearly $1 million to play — again reached just one-season pinnacle. nevertheless the recent history of college football shows of which L.S.U., which began This specific season as an underdog even within its own division, faces a mighty challenge in keeping its toehold at the very top.
“Everything fell into place to hold the season we needed to have,” said Ed Orgeron, the Louisiana native who grew up harboring a dream to coach the Tigers.
Since the start of the Bowl Championship Series era from the 1998 season, which ultimately gave way to the College Football Playoff system in 2014, a champion has successfully repeated winning the crown just once: Alabama. nevertheless L.S.U. has right now amassed the second-most titles of of which 22-season stretch — more than Florida, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Southern California or, yes, Clemson.
Indeed, L.S.U. is usually well versed from the challenges of remaining the champion: This specific tumbled to 9-3 immediately after the 2003 season title, along with to 8-5 after This specific arrived on the scene on top of the 2007 season. along with no matter how the next campaign goes for L.S.U., any future team, in Baton Rouge or elsewhere, will struggle to match its success This specific past season.
L.S.U.’s perfect record included victories over a few teams — Clemson, Georgia, Florida, Oklahoma along with Alabama — of which finished from the top eight of the Associated Press Top 25 poll. The Heisman Trophy winner, Joe Burrow, threw 60 touchdowns to set a Football Bowl Subdivision record. The offensive quartet of Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase, Clyde Edwards-Helaire along with Justin Jefferson flourished in a spread offense of which was brand new to L.S.U., along with played having a resurgent line of which terrorized opponents. Its defense was less potent than its offense nevertheless also unnerved plenty of quarterbacks.
“We’re national champs,” Orgeron said soon after the game. “We’re 15-0. Whether we’re mentioned among the greatest teams or not, of which doesn’t matter to me. I think we’re going to get to work, we’ll go to class on Wednesday along with we’ll start working on next year.”
Despite the benefits of a dominant performance This specific season, L.S.U. cannot escape the peculiarities of the sport: roster evolution, rising along with falling fortunes at additional schools, sheer luck (not bad or bad).
To be sure, the L.S.U. roster will still be among the most well stocked in college football. K’Lavon Chaisson, an outside linebacker, along with Chase, a wide receiver who had a team-leading 221 yards along having a pair of touchdown catches on Monday night, have finished only their sophomore campaigns. Derek Stingley Jr., a cornerback via Baton Rouge, commenced every game of his freshman year.
nevertheless Burrow, after a college career of which commenced at Ohio State along with skyrocketed at L.S.U., is usually bound for the N.F.L., possibly as the top pick of April’s draft. Jefferson, a wide receiver, was a junior This specific past season along with could elect to enter the draft, as could Edwards-Helaire, a star tailback, along with two safeties, Grant Delpit along with Jacoby Stevens, who were defensive staples.
The snake pit of the Southeastern Conference also will be refreshed. Nick Saban, who was on the sideline in brand new Orleans on Monday, is usually plotting a comeback at Alabama. Gus Malzahn, whose Auburn Tigers came closer than anyone else to beating L.S.U. This specific season, will be seeking another signature win at home, along with Texas A&M, under Jimbo Fisher, will take its shot at L.S.U. in College Station. Mike Leach’s Air Raid playbook has arrived at Mississippi State, along with Lane Kiffin, a veteran of the SEC’s assorted wars, is usually right now in charge at Mississippi.
along with of which is usually just the West Division. The rest of L.S.U.’s schedule includes Florida along with Texas.
L.S.U. certainly gained plenty This specific season, including months of public attention along having a soaring reputation of which may help the Tigers to guard — somewhat — against the pitfalls of college football.
Dave Aranda, who just finished his fourth year as the defensive coordinator at L.S.U., said of which the championship campaign had signaled to prospective players of which the team via Baton Rouge had “energy along with moxie along with swagger,” along with of which his recruiting pitches were already finding more receptive audiences.
“We’ve shown of which the L.S.U. brand is usually strong, along with we’ve shown of which you can have special years here,” he said. “We’re counting on This specific being the first of many.”
nevertheless Aranda conceded of which L.S.U. would likely have to search for a brand new chemistry like the one of which fueled This specific season’s mounting momentum, limited crises along with gave credence to Orgeron’s “one team, one heartbeat” mantra.
“You have to start over again,” Aranda said in a crowded Superdome corridor early Tuesday. “You have to identify your leaders, you’ve got to put them through stress along with through breakdown so you can identify the right people to build them up the right way.”
Patrick Queen, a linebacker who could be among the Tigers from the N.F.L. by This specific time next year, argued Tuesday morning of which the L.S.U. culture was an enduring lifeline for the program, whose last three head coaches have right now brought championships back to Baton Rouge.
“L.S.U. is usually always going to be capable of doing what we did This specific year,” said Queen, who is usually via a tiny community northwest of the Louisiana capital. “We’ve got great players, great coaches. As long as we believe in each additional, we’ll be able to accomplish anything.”
L.S.U. is usually already on the clock.
The semester’s start, delayed because of L.S.U.’s appearance from the title game, will come on Wednesday. Recruiting, Orgeron said, had already resumed with volleys of text messages ahead of weekend meetings. The lobbying to salvage This specific season’s roster, as much as the coaches can, will soon begin.
nevertheless Orgeron did savor the victory, at least for a meal: Ensconced from the Marriott on Canal Street, he along with his wife had fried chicken via Popeyes.