After a 24-21 devastating loss to Troy back in September, LSU seemingly in a 3-2 hole, Tigers clawed there way to finishing the season 6-1. Their last contest was a 45-21 victory over Texas A&M, were almost all parts of this LSU team appeared to finally come together.
The Tigers started off strong against the Aggies. Russel Gage's first quarter 11-year receiving touchdown put LSU ahead by 13 points. Senior Darrel Williams had a big night, with his 77-yeard run, his longest of the night. The run set him up for 1-yard touchdown with LSU able to bring their lead to 20 points.
Texas A&M was unable to answer the Tigers until late in the second quarter. The defense struggled early in the second half, giving up two more touchdowns. But in the third, defensive back Donte Jackson got his first interception of the year. Jackson picked off A&M's quarterback Nick Starkle, leading to a Darrius Guide touchdown.
Head Coach Ed Orgeron says the pick was a turning point, "You could feel the team going a little low right there, you could feel the bit of change in A&M. I think that was a big play. The main thing was man covered and I think Dante did a good job."
The momentum did shift toward LSU. They were able to put up 18 more points over the Aggies. Linebacker Devin White says the opponent should not count out the Tigers, "We bend but we don't break. If you step on our toes, we're going to keep fighting. You might think you got us because you did something good."
LSU will found out its bowl destination on Sunday. There are a few possible venues the Tigers can find themselves at the end of the month.
Bowl experts have narrowed down LSU's likely opponents to three teams, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Northwestern. The majority of experts think the Tigers will face the 9-3 Spartans, who sit in third place in the Big Ten East. Where LSU will end up has been difficult.
Could a repeat be possible? The SEC hasn't seen a team return consecutively to the Citrus Bowl since 1996. But the Tigers could likely end up in Orlando for the second straight year. Auburn, Georgia and Alabama will each likely end up in one of the New Year's six bowls. The Citrus Bowl then selects first over the rest of the bowls who it wants. Usually one team from the SEC and one team from the Big Ten.
LSU is the next best SEC team outside of Auburn, Georgia and Alabama, so it makes sense for the Citrus Bowl committee to select the Tigers. If the Citrus Bowl decides to pass up on LSU, the most appealing bowl game to the Tigers would be the Outback Bowl on New Year's day in Tampa, Florida.
The New Orleans Saints will play at Raymond James Stadium against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers just one day before the Outback Bowl. Assuming many Louisiana residents decide to stick around to watch LSU the next day, Outback Bowl organizers have the potential to rank in a large amount of revenue from ticket sales.
Today, Football Scoop reported that Matt Canada is seeking an interview to be the next head coach at Rice. Reports such as these will be circulating for the next couple of weeks. It shouldn't come as a surprise, after Orgeron expressed support for Canada to explore head coaching vacancies this off season.
Orgeron didn't exactly see eye to eye with Canada's offensive scheme, hinting that he would like to change the offensive style if Canada is to take a job somewhere else.
Just as Canada will search for a head coaching gig, many other jobs have opened up around the country. Four of those vacancies are in the SEC. Arkansas, Texas A&M, Mississippi State and Tennessee are all looking to make big hires this off season. Now who will end up at each school? The Aggies reportedly have Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher on their radar, a big get that may leave some LSU fans feeling a bit sentimental if the Aggies make the hire. Reports circulated today that Oklahoma State Head Coach Mike Gundy talked to the Tennessee Athletic Director about the vacancy in Knoxville.
It is still unclear who Arkansas and Mississippi State plan to pursue, expect some names to drop in the coming days.