LSU's Loss to Ole Miss a Harbinger of Life with Les Miles

Brad TaylorContributor INovember 22, 2008

There was a phone ringing at Tiger Stadium late Saturday afternoon. Turns out it was the DiNardo years calling and they wanted their program back. 

LSU continued its slide back to the Gerry DiNardo era today at the hands of upstart Ole Miss, who appears headed to its second Cotton Bowl appearance in six years.

The Rebels, who found the end zone on the game's first series, never trailed and handily defeated the host Tigers, 31-13.

Nobody who has followed SEC football this year should be surprised at the result. Ole Miss has lost its four games by a total of 19 points and could possibly have won each game, and should have at least beaten Wake Forest and Vanderbilt.

LSU, on the other hand, is slowly and painfully adjusting to exactly what life will be like now that all vestiges of the Nick Saban turnaround have vanished. To be more precise, all of Saban's recruits are gone.

Now, let's be honest. LSU is still a Top 25 program. Their two recent national championships and resources should keep them in the top half of the conference even in down years. However, their bowl trips in the future are going to be a little more Nashville than New Orleans and a little more Shreveport than Orlando.

Tiger fans will cry a river while protesting that Ryan Perriloux's troubles put them behind the eight-ball early on. But does that excuse the defense giving up 52 points to Georgia, 51 points to Florida, and 31 to both Troy and Ole Miss. 

If the defensive nightmares aren't evidence enough of program slippage, consider that four of the seven wins are against powerhouses like Appalachian State (Michigan fans might agree with that assessment), North Texas, Tulane, and Troy. Their league victories are against SEC teams who have only won nine conference games and lost 14. 

LSU fans are surely coming to grips with what must been as painful as a Curley Hallman sighting. That is, realizing that the man standing on their sidelines is no Nick Saban.  

It was a great five year run, LSU. You will always have the memories. 

Besides, Shreveport and Nashville are fine towns.