Let's be up front about this: LSU's 2011 Tigers absolutely deserve to be wearing something like this, the SEC championship ring. This one belongs to sophomore tackle La'el Collins, whose pictures have recently surfaced on the Internet.
But we're not sure at all they deserve to have this particular detail included as part of that ring:
That's right: "#2 NATIONALLY." No. 2 because, as you may recall, LSU lost to Alabama 21-0 with the national title on the line in the 2012 BCS Championship Game. That's the sort of memory we're guessing LSU's seniors -- and maybe the entire team -- would like to forget, rather than have it engraved onto a cherished permanent keepsake.
In a vaccum, yes, "#2 NATIONALLY" is an unbelievable accomplishment, a dream season ... but a team that came within 60 minutes of a national championship only to fall short against the same team they'd defeated earlier in the season doesn't live in that vaccum, do they? It's also not as if LSU's incredible 2011 season lacks for achievements to occupy that space on the ring.
Maybe we're overreacting; maybe, eventually, the rings will outlive the hurt of that loss and their owners will be able to appreciate that finishing "#2 NATIONALLY" is an achievement that instills a feeling of overwhelming pride, and not a failure that instills disappointment.
But our initial reaction? That's one detail about the 2011 LSU season the ring designers would have been better off omitting.