(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
#13—The ‘ROHAN’ Game: LSU v Georgia Tech (Peach Bowl) 12/29/2000—The importance of this game was that it put Nick Saban on the map with LSU. Saban’s maiden voyage was decent (not great) but most fans, me included, were happy with him as a coach even though some of us (or maybe it was just me) still thought Dinardo had gotten the boot way too soon. None the less, when Rohan Davey started the second half and led the Tigers on a stirring comeback that was capped by a spectacular Josh Reed catch in the back of the end zone to secure the 28 – 14 win over the Jackets; the Saban era was well underway.
#12—The ‘Blue Grass Miracle’ Game: LSU @ Kentucky 11/09/2002—LSU went into Kentucky ranked #16 in the country and quite frankly should have put this game away early. They did not, and needed a miraculous 75 yard Hail Mary from Marcus Randall (through the hands of a couple of defenders) to Devery Henderson. That play is probably second only to the Billy Cannon Halloween Punt Return as all time greatest plays in LSU history. I felt bad for the UK fans that tore down their goal post, they don’t get to do that very often and ever since then I’m sure they think twice before they celebrate!
#11—The ‘Fare thee Well Mr. Manning’ Game: LSU @ Ole’ Miss 11/22/2003—My wife, my Brother and I met in Memphis, picked up my Dad and all went down to Oxford for this classic. We had great seats in the end zone on the visitor’s end of the field so we had a perfect view of the touchdown Matt Mauck tossed to an Ole’ Miss line backer on the first possession. Not a good start. The game however, was fantastic and both teams played lights out for 60 minutes. It ended on an absolute bull rush by the #1 Defense in the land and virtually cemented our place in the SEC Championship Game. To my recollection, Ole’ Miss’ center was actually the body on top of Eli on that final sack. He had barely snapped the ball when he was pushed back about 8 yards in .5 seconds and used to start the pile on Manning the younger! Fare well Mr. Manning, fare well! LSU 17 – UM 14 (Oh yea, Geaux to Hell Ole’ Miss)
#10—The ‘House Divided’ Game: LSU v UGA (SEC Championship Game) 12/06/2003—My little Georgia peach (wife) comes from a long line of Georgia Dawgs, but she has become a Tiger fan by osmosis. This game put her loyalty to the test. When we left the hotel for the game I noticed she was wearing all black with a reversible purple sweater (black on the reverse side) and no visible logos for either team. I told her that I was on to her plan to remove the purple and blend in if our seats were in a Georgia section. They were, she did! Of course she left the game wearing an SEC Champion’s hat and chanting L S U!! With the dismantling of UGA LSU assured itself a place in the BCS National Championship Game. (As a side note, and also fodder for future discussions, LSU would have jumped USC in the BCS even if OU had not gotten smoked in the B12 Championship Game and I for one wanted them to play USC – I whole heartedly believe the outcome would have been the same)