LSU seems to be doing its level best to work up a good mad-on at its newest, bestest rival, Texas A&M.

Meanwhile, head coach Ed Orgeron is doing his best to draw back on the revenge factor, and rightfully so.

Those things rarely work out as effectively as you'd think when the vows are made in the heat of the moment.

LSU has plenty of reasons to win its final regular-season game that have nothing to do with seven overtimes, unfortunate calls by SEC officials or postgame squabbles.

Sure, everybody seems to love a good Revenge Game, particularly when you've been stewing over the matter for a calendar year.

But at lot has happened since those seven overtimes in College Station, and most of them have been good for LSU, which hasn't lost since and still can't figure out how it lost 74-72 that night.

Maybe things even out.

A whole lot went wrong for LSU that night while doing nothing wrong. A lot went right for the Aggies while doing nothing right.

To recap, a game-ending interception was overturned when Zapruder-quality replay showed the Aggies quarterback Kellen Mond's knee grazed the ground while retrieving a bobbled snap before the pick; an Aggie failed to get out of bounds on what would have been regulation's final play, but a technicality stopped the clock for A&M to force overtime; a game-ending fumble in OT was ruled an incompletion (bang-bang play).

None were necessarily bad calls, just unfortunate bad luck for LSU.

But then, of course, the thing was finally decided when an official stepped in NFL-style for a truly egregious pass interference call that gave A&M a mulligan on the winning 2-point play.

The Tigers had every right to be mad and frustrated.

But I'm not sure what their gripe with the Aggies is about. Did they expect A&M to turn down the "victory?"

LSU might argue that any team that gets that lucky to win a game shouldn't be celebrating it with commemorative stadium cups for the entire next season.

But if LSU wants to get mad at somebody right now, this moment, it would be the Aggies' biggest, baddest, nonexistent rival, the Texas Longhorns.

Those guys in burnt orange are doing their tea-sip best to ruin LSU's magical season.

I could have sworn it was a big deal when the Tigers went to Austin and beat the Longhorns 45-38 in a wildly exciting game that just about the entire nation was watching.

The whole football world was abuzz about it. Could talk about nothing else, it seemed, the next day and into the next week.

It kind of announced that the Tigers' newfound offense was for real, that the old LSU stereotypes no longer applied and that it was time to look at the program in a whole different light.

Suddenly, LSU was considered a shoo-in for the College Football Playoff and quarterback Joe Burrow, who few outside Louisiana and his home state of Ohio had thought much about at the time, was in the mix for the Heisman Trophy.

There was idle chatter that this might be the year that LSU beats Alabama.

Yes, it was quite a coming out party, another encouraging sign of good things happening to teams that aren't afraid to schedule quality out-of-conference games.

Now?

It was gradual at first. But suddenly it's like it never happened.

Fortunately, the Tigers built on that statement victory with several others of the high-profile flavor to where it is still begrudgingly admitted that LSU has the best résumé in college football.

Good thing, because the victory over (then-) No. 9 Texas, which kick-started it all, no longer seems to count.

It was there one moment, hung on most of the season, and then suddenly vanished into thin air.

It's been swept under the rug, all because the Longhorns have lost four games since that night, including three of their last four.

That's LSU's fault?

The dilution of the Texas win no doubt was part of the reason Ohio State leapfrogged LSU in the CFP rankings. No bid deal. If the Tigers beat A&M and then Georgia in the SEC championship game, they should return the favor, which they were going to have to do anyway.

But explain how Baylor, fresh off a victory over Texas, moved up five spots in the latest rankings.

It almost seems like LSU is being accused of scheduling fraud when claiming victories over four top-10 teams in a single season, a first for college football since poll era began in 1936. Apparently the Tigers get to keep claiming wins over Florida, Auburn and Alabama (if anybody remembers that Tua Tagovailoa played, and played quite well, that afternoon).

At Texas there was no rivalry trophy involved, like the last two weeks when LSU turned its nose up on spoils of victory, but the Tigers were pretty proud of it.

Now, at best, it's been watered down considerably, at worst there are demands to expunge it from the record.

Doesn't seem fair.

It was all done in good faith.

LSU had it on good authority that Texas "was back," as was documented on videotape by UT quarterback Sam Ehlinger after the Longhorns beat Georgia in last season's Sugar Bowl.

And that game was certified all summer as the biggest matchup nationally of the early weeks of the season, with the promise of sending tremors throughout the land.

It looked that night like Texas was a pretty good team.

But no matter how good or bad Texas was at the time, half the mental battle of winning a game is beating the perception of what an opponent is at the time.

Shouldn't that count for something?

l

Scooter Hobbs covers LSU

athletics. Email him at

shobbs@americanpress.com

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