Scooter Hobbs column: No expectation is too great for LSU baseball

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Shortly after Skip Bertman invented college baseball, his LSU followers looked around and decided it was unquestionably a good thing.

But it was still missing something.

So the Tigers’ faithful, after tinkering in the garage for a year or two, decided that it needed something to spice it up. The LSU fan base made a few adjustments and, almost unnoticed, came up with the Unreasonable Expectation.

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The way it worked was, while other schools dreamed of reaching Omaha for the College World Series, LSU fans just assumed their Tigers would be there.

It was kind of the minimum requirement for an acceptable season. There was even a stretch there when the fan base considered going home without a national championship trophy a wasted trip.

And forget that none of it was ever as easy as Bertman and his teams used to make t look.

Never mind that this is 2023, and LSU hasn’t been to Omaha since 2017 and hasn’t won it all since the 2009 title team made it a nice, round number for baseball fans, i.e., a six pack.

Doesn’t matter.

The Unreasonable Expectations never change.

They have survived LSU not even hosting an NCAA regional — an LSU fan’s summer birthright — the last three completed seasons.

That is part of what makes LSU baseball special even when AWOL from Omaha.

Still, the anticipation for this season, which begins Friday night against Western Michigan, is a little different.

This year the expectations may be going beyond insane. They may, in fact, be jumping the shark.

Ordinarily, there would be an antidote from the rest of college baseball.

Some message board would get wind of the latest round of Unreasonable Epectations and get quite a kick out of it. They might perhaps remind social media that: Aw, that’s just LSU being LSU again. Pay the Tigers no mind. Happens every year. Living in the past.

Not this year.

The Tigers and their blind optimism aren’t getting much of an argument from anybody.

College baseball is nothing if not an equal opportunity pollster. There are so many different rankings there should be something for everybody. There are so many of them you can generally find one that agrees with you or refutes your neighbor.

I managed to track down all six of these polls that I know of — there could be more start-ups on the way — plus another that does a much-needed consolidation. You’d think that with so much variety, there would be some diversity therein.

Yet LSU is ranked No. 1 in the nation in each of them. I don’t have to tell you how the composite played out.

The SEC coaches did their own polls for the college baseball’s dominant league.

It wasn’t very creative.

LSU heavily was favored to win the West Division and overall title.

Again, keep in mind, this is a league that in the last five CWS’s (COVID canceled everything in 2020), has had four different SEC teams win the national championship.

And none of them were named LSU.

Yet it’s LSU that is the odds-on choice to win the league.

The last two national champions, Ole Miss and Mississippi State, came from the SEC West, yeah could barely get an attaboy.

LSU got 12 of the 14 votes to win the West and 11 of the 14 to win the overall title.

True, this is the preseason. Yes, I know, preseason is as untested as it is blind. Also unpredictable. But normally you’d think that at the least there would be a lot more divergent opinions this time of year.

Did I mention that it doesn’t take much to get LSU baseball fans’ hopes up and the expectations boiling over?

I might even bring up that this, as of now, is still all on paper. Not a single game has played out yet.

Analytics may run (or ruin) modern baseball, but they aren’t infallible.

Still, this looks like a stacked deck of purple and gold cards.

The website is probably the most reliable and respected.

The D1 reasoning about LSU was fairly simple. The Tigers, it said, had the best returning core team, the best incoming recruiting class and the best group of incoming transfers.

How that all translates on the field is yet to be determined. But when it comes to expectations, that’s pretty much your triple crown right there.

Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at