Well, we shall see. Take a look at any of the myriad way-too-early Preseason Top 25s out there (mine will be published shortly, I assure you) and you'll see Les Miles'
LSU Tigers ranked right up near the top. And justifiably so, of course. The Tigers cruised their way through the 2011 season and looked well on their way to winning yet another national title before running into the buzzsaw that was that hyped-up Alabama Crimson Tide team down in New Orleans
. For the vast majority of the season, the Tigers looked to be the most complete, most confident, most talented team in the nation, and with many of the key cogs from that 2011 bunch coming back--yes, the Honey Badger
shall return, as will all-everything punter Brad Wing
and host of other stars--one could make a pretty darn good case that, on paper, LSU will once against be the most complete, most talented team in the nation. But the most confident? Well, that remains to be seen. I'd hate to over-think things, of course, but part of me believes that the loss to Alabama will linger, and that this LSU squad is going to have an awfully hard time forgetting just how close they were to the biggest prize of all, and how awful they were on the game's biggest stage. Make no mistake: LSU got flat-out embarrassed by 'Bama in that title game, and all at once, it seems as though Nick Saban
has reasserted himself as The Unquestioned Best in the coaching business (sorry, Les). Yes, LSU will be very good next year. But up the road, Saban remains. And you have to wonder if maybe the guy is now in the Tigers' heads. Even just a little bit.