It's official: LSU fans are spoiled by last year's national championship, and anything less is a failure.
It's something coach Nick Saban suspected anyway, but it was confirmed again last week when a fan out in public told Saban: "Hang in there, Coach."
"I didn't understand why," Saban told the Baton Rouge Advocate. "Hang in for what? I mean, there's nothing wrong with me. I'm fine. We just won three games in a row.
"But that's happened quite a few times, and I don't quite get it. It's not how I feel. It's not how we feel. We haven't always been what we wanted to be, but it seems like we're getting closer to it right now."
Instead of being 8-1 and on their way to the SEC Western Division, SEC and national championships, as the Tigers were at this point last year, the Tigers are 6-2 and ranked 17th in the nation. Both losses came on the road to Auburn and Georgia, two teams currently ranked in the Top 10, but somehow this is being interpreted as a disappointing season by many LSU fans.
Instead, Saban looks at the way his team has continued to grow and improve as it moves toward a final three-game stretch against Alabama, Ole Miss and Arkansas. The Tigers are a good bet for a quality bowl invitation. Early bowl speculation has them headed for the Cotton Bowl.
"Losing a tough game at Auburn early in the year and maybe not being in the race anymore, it takes a lot of resiliency to still be able to play for what we have to play for, which is the possibility of winning nine games, 10 with the bowl game," Saban said. "There's only a few teams around here that have done that, only two since we've been here. I think we can probably win more games in two years than anybody has ever won around here in a two-year stretch. There's a lot of things we can do.
"And the legacy of this team will be remembered by how we finish this season. That's what I'm looking forward to."
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