No. 18 LSU still aims to make program history
BATON ROUGE (AP) — For Les Miles to make LSU history as the first coach to claim four consecutive 10-win seasons, he’ll have to do something he hasn’t accomplished since 2006: win the final three games of the season.
The Tigers (7-3) haven’t strung together that many wins this season since September, the weakest part of their schedule.
“We expect more because we’re awfully ambitious,” Miles said this week. “With every year — with every stinking year — we lost a couple that we shouldn’t have. ... There’s some victories I’m awfully proud of and some games that we played extremely hard and finished second.”
LSU is out of Southeastern Conference title contention following last Saturday’s loss to Alabama. But Miles and his team don’t have much time to feel sorry for themselves. They’re in the midst of their second bye in three weeks, but No. 11 Texas A&M visits Baton Rouge next weekend with bowl game implications on the line.
Miles said he is currently focused on the Aggies and isn’t looking toward the bowl picture yet, but several bowl representatives are expected to be in Tiger Stadium on Nov. 23.
Representatives from the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla., the Texas Bowl in Houston and Florida Citrus Sports, which represents the Capital One Bowl and Russell Athletic Bowl both in Orlando, Fla., have received game credentials, LSU officials said. The Sugar, Gator and Capital One bowls have SEC tie-ins.
A Capital One Bowl representative also was in Tuscaloosa, Ala., last week.
“I think there’s a real quality group of men on this team that understands this group has accomplished a lot and there’s still a lot to play for and they’re looking forward to finishing this season strong and playing their best,” Miles said.
Offensive lineman Trai Turner said a bowl game is the farthest thing from his and his teammates’ minds at the moment. The Tigers are trying to maintain the one-game-at-a-time mindset as they prepare for the Aggies, he said. LSU will then close the season at home Nov. 29 against Arkansas.
While a setback against Heisman Trophy winner quarterback Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M would hand LSU its first four-loss season since 2009, wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. said it doesn’t matter how many losses the Tigers have because every remaining game is meaningful to them.
“Like they always say, ‘You fall down seven times and you stand up eight,’” Beckham said. “It’s something we do at LSU. We’re going to fight no matter how many losses.”
Beckham, a junior, is among a number of draft-eligible Tigers who could be playing their final few games in purple and gold. His fellow receiver and best friend Jarvis Landry is another, as is senior quarterback Zach Mettenberger and sophomore running back Jeremy Hill.
LSU hasn’t won a bowl game since the 2010 season, which it finished with a lopsided Cotton Bowl victory over Texas A&M.
If LSU fails to win a bowl game this season, it would mark the longest postseason drought for the program since the early 1990s, when the Tigers failed to appear in a bowl game for the better part of a decade.