No reason for faithful to lack faith

<p class="indent">LSU landed in the Dallas Metroplex Saturday but took a slight detour before heading to its quarters over in Fort Worth.</p><p class="indent">Normally the Tigers make a beeline for the team hotel.</p><p class="indent">But when playing at AT&amp;T Stadium, it’s best to let those young, impressionable eyes get a gander at the place in advance of when the real bullets to the season start flying, like tonight.</p><p class="indent">Mostly, you have to do the rubbernecking tourist thing with them so that they can actually see that the video board that hangs over the field really is bigger than the Texas panhandle.</p><p class="indent">It has to be the most distracting in-stadium monstrosity in all of sports.</p><p class="indent">When on the field, it’s kind of like being stuck in a science-fiction movie as you expect the fool thing to creak down and start expelling aliens and cyclops at any moment.</p><p class="indent">Before the first quarter is over tonight, past experience tells me everyone in the stands will quit watching the game on the field and watch a game that they are attending on television, albeit on the mother of all hi-defs.</p><p class="indent">It’s a big stage.</p><p class="indent">But these exotic locales are the kind of thing the Tigers have always thrived on — shoot, they’re 3-0 in this palace.</p><p class="indent">It’s always been a happy playground.</p><p class="indent">Fans in purple and gold will likely take over the place today and turn into another game, this time against Miami.</p><p class="indent">Still, something is missing.</p><p class="indent">The season is about to start, a season everybody has begging for for months now, and …</p><p class="indent">Where’s the excitement? Where’s the anticipation? Where in tarnation are the sky-high unreasonable expectations?</p><p class="indent">Mainly, why all the gloom and doom as the Tigers open this particular season?</p><p class="indent">For years LSU fans liked to complain that the Tigers didn’t get any respect nationally. It was silly. Most years they got more than it turned out was warranted.</p><p class="indent">But this year, for some reason, it has been like all the preseason pundits got together and decided this was the year to decree LSU will sit out the national discussion from day one.</p><p class="indent">And LSU fans’ reaction?</p><p class="indent">They’re buying into it.</p><p class="indent">They’re agreeing with them.</p><p class="indent">They seem to be accepting it as fact, an inevitable one at that.</p><p class="indent">Where’s the outrage now?</p><p class="indent">Who knows? Maybe they’re right. Maybe this is a 7-5, 6-6 year, if for no other reason than the monster schedule the Tigers play, beginning tonight with a No. 8 Miami team that seems to be everybody’s preseason heartthrob, ready to return to the glory days of the ’80s, with better decorum.</p><p class="indent">That said, I would remind one and all that, outside of pencilling Alabama into the College Football Playoff, every year a lot of the summer sure things begin to read like satire before September is done for.</p><p class="indent">The season is never quite as cut and dry as those glossy magazines make it out to be.</p><p class="indent">The LSU write-off could be one of them.</p><p class="indent">Or they may be right.</p><p class="indent">Too many LSU question marks, they say. And there are a few. Yet I’m trying to figure out how that makes this stage of this LSU season any different from any other.</p><p class="indent">It’s not like the Tigers just started losing bushel loads of players early to the NFL draft.</p><p class="indent">Granted, it’s tough to imagine the Tigers without a stud running back in waiting.</p><p class="indent">Maybe something turns up. Maybe there’s an offensive Plan B.</p><p class="indent">Besides, when have LSU fans ever been happy with the Tigers’ offense.</p><p class="indent">But, at the risk of reckless summer prognosticating, I see an LSU defense that has a chance to be the best in a long while, like maybe 2011.</p><p class="indent">That alone should keep them in every game, which ought to count for something, like stealing a win over a Georgia or an Auburn or something.</p><p class="indent">Surely, perhaps a Miami.</p><p class="indent">Offhand, on paper, I’d say that this a team that’s a year away from something really special, but it wouldn’t be the first time a team like that came in a year early.</p><p class="indent">So maybe these downsized expectations aren’t all bad.</p><p class="indent">On Monday defensive end Rashard Lawrence was wearing one of those rubber bracelets with the words “Change the Narrative” inscribed on it.</p><p class="indent">In recent years maybe it would have read “Don’t Screw it Up.”</p><p class="indent">But this preseason has a different feel.</p><p class="indent">“This is our football team,” head coach Ed Orgeron said that same day, a little Cajun irritation evident in his voice. “I’m very excited. I think they’re hungry. They’ll have a little chip on their shoulder.”</p><p class="indent">It’s different, for sure.</p><p class="indent">That’s why this game tonight — LSU is a three-point underdog — may be more important than more recent season openers.</p><p class="indent">It’s a chance to change the narrative right off the bat.</p><hr /><p class="indent"><em><strong>Scooter Hobbs</strong></em> covers LSU athletics. Email him at <span class="text_link link_wrap type_eml" data-link-target="" data-link-type="EML"></span></p>””<p>Advocare Classic at AT&amp;T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Sunday, September 2, 2018. (AP Photo/Lake Charles American Press, Kirk Meche)</p>Kirk Meche