The 2011 regular season was an interesting one if your mascot is a tiger. Defending national champion Auburn finished 7-5, preseason Top 25 Missouri with the same record but LSU and Clemson had very different seasons.
By the end of October, both teams were undefeated, ranked in the BCS Top 5 and had legitimate national title aspirations. Unfortunately for Clemson, that was short lived and the team fell all the way to 20th heading into the ACC Championship Game, which it won to earn a berth into the Orange Bowl.
LSU beat Alabama 9-6 in overtime and no one came within 24 points of beating the team, finishing the year the unanimous No. 1 team heading into a rematch in the national championship.
Then January came around. Apparently neither of these teams felt like showing up because they both got absolutely dominated by their opponents by a combined 91-33, despite being higher ranked than West Virginia and Alabama.
So, who had a worse performance? That honor has to go to LSU.
Clemson plays in the ACC which is absolutely terrible at winning big games and the program hadn’t been to a BCS Bowl since 1981. West Virginia posed a real matchup problem with all of its skill players, but if it weren’t for one eight-and-a-half minute stretch in which the Mountaineers scored 35 points, the game would have been a lot closer.
LSU, on the other hand, had already went into the lion’s den in November and beat Alabama and matched up well with what the Tide do on offense.
The Tigers managed to move the ball into Alabama territory once the entire game and then fumbled it back into their own territory. The defense was gashed by A.J. McCarron and the offense continued to run the same terrible plays right into the Tide’s defense.
Oh, and this game was played in LSU’s home state for the national championship.
Clemson may take years to truly overcome its loss to West Virginia, but in terms of a performance in a single game, nothing was worse than LSU’s against Alabama.