By JIM ENGSTER | President, Tiger Rag Magazine
When LSU lost to Troy on the final night of September, this columnist speculated that LSU would be hard pressed to extend its streak of 17 consecutive football seasons with at least eight wins.
Six weeks later, LSU has won four of its last five outings and is one victory from its eighth triumph of 2017. Considering this week’s foe is hapless Tennessee, it is a foregone conclusion that Ed Orgeron will continue a tradition started by Nick Saban in 2000, the year that started the Golden Age of Tiger football.
Eight wins may not be as significant in one season as it once was, but here is a list of current members of the Southeastern Conference and current streaks of eight or more victories per season.
Texas A@M 5
Mississippi State 0
Ole Miss 0
South Carolina 0
Tennessee has been a pest for LSU historically
No SEC foe has dominated LSU through the years as Tennessee. While the Tigers and Volunteers square off irregularly, Tennessee often defeated LSU even when the Bengals were better.
The most infamous Volunteer victory occurred on Nov. 7, 1959 in Knoxville when Billy Cannon may have cracked the goal line on a two-point conversion to keep the No. 1 Tigers undefeated, but Cannon’s burst was called short and LSU lost, 14-13, ending its quest for a second consecutive national title.
Sports Illustrated recapped the game this way:
The avid feet of Louisiana State’s All-America halfback gobbled up the turf and propelled him into the left side of the Tennessee Volunteer line. Down went Billy Cannon, down fell the first team in the land on the wildest, wooliest Saturday of the football season.
Had it succeeded, Cannon’s raw power smash after the LSU Tigers’ second touchdown could have been a game-winning feat of splendor. The Volunteers cut him down. Thus by the spine-chilling score of 14-13, on a wintry afternoon in Knoxville, ended the game’s longest victory streak (19 games).
LSU has not had a streak as long in the 58 years since that fateful day in Tennessee.
LSU has won four games in a row against its distant SEC rival (656 miles), but trails Tennessee 20-9-3 in the history of the series. The last win for the Vols was in the Tiger Stadium debut for Les Miles in 2005, a thrilling 30-27 overtime victory for UT.
LSU’s national championship a decade ago was made possible with a 21-14 win over Tennessee in the SEC Championship Game of Dec. 1, 2007. The Most Valuable Player for LSU was none other than Ryan Perrilloux. He was 20 of 30 passing for 243 with a touchdown and interception.
Coaching merry-go-round in SEC is remarkable
With the firing of Butch Jones at Tennessee, Ed Orgeron is moving up the list of coaches with most tenure at one school as head football mentors in the SEC. It is an amazing list when it is remembered that in the 1970s, the league had long standing sideline stalwarts like Bear Bryant, Vince Dooley, Charles McClendon, Shug Jordan and Johnny Vaught.
Here is the current list of longest tenures among SEC coaches.
- Nick Saban Alabama 148 games
- Dan Mullen Mississippi State 113 games
- Kevin Sumlin Texas A&M 75 games
- Gus Malzahn Auburn 63 games
- Bret Bielema Arkansas 61 games
- Mark Stoops Kentucky 59 games
- Derek Mason Vanderbilt 47 games
- Kirby Smart Georgia 23 games
- Will Muschamp South Carolina 23 games
- Barry Odom Missouri 22 games
- Ed Orgeron LSU 18 games
- Matt Luke Ole Miss 9 games
- Randy Shannon Florida 2 games
- Brady Hoke Tennessee 0 games
These SEC football coaches lasted more than 200 games consecutively at one school.
- Vince Dooley Georgia 288 games
- Bear Bryant Alabama 287 games
- Shug Jordan Auburn 265 games
- Wally Butts Georgia 235 games
- Phillip Fulmer Tennessee 204 games
- Charles McClendon LSU 203 games
- Bobby Dodd Georgia Tech 203 games
Eddie Robinson coached 578 games in succession at Grambling from 1941 to 1997, and Joe Paterno coached 548 games in a row for Penn State from 1966 to 2011.
Since Charles McClendon departed LSU in 1979, this is the honor roll of LSU coaches and their tenure in TigerTown.
1980 Bo Rein No games (Died in Jan. 10,. 1980 plane crash)
1980-83 Jerry Stovall 45 games
1984-86 Bill Arnsparger 36 games
1987-90 Mike Archer 46 games
1991-94 Curley Hallman 44 games
1995-99 Gerry DiNardo 57 games
1999 Hal Hunter 1 game
2000-04 Nick Saban 64 games
2005-16 Les Miles 148 games
2016-17 Ed Orgeron 18 games
Nick Saban has now coached the same number of games at Alabama that Les Miles coached at LSU (148).
Miles owns the best winning percentage in LSU history at 77.0 percent with 114 wins and 34 losses.
Saban owns the best winning percentage in Alabama history at 87.2 percent with 129 wins and 19 losses.
Miles won two SEC titles and one national title from 2005-16 at LSU.
Saban has won five SEC titles and four national titles from 2006-17 at Alabama.
In head to head competition, the record was Saban 6, Miles 3.
Miles was responsible for 15.8 percent of Saban’s defeats at Alabama.
Saban was responsible for 17.6 percent of Miles’s defeats at LSU.
How important is the Wonderlic Test?
The NFL now guards the results of the Wonderlic Test, which is used to measure intelligence of prospects at the Scouting Combine. In the social media age, it is easy to malign a player who may have not taken the exam seriously. Most of the questions are not difficult, but some are challenging, and if player eats up the clock on the tough questions, he will blow the exam.
The test is considered important to assess thinking abilities of quarterbacks, and most of the great ones scored over 30 on the 50 questions. The Saints Drew Brees scored a 28 while the Steelers Terry Bradshaw was a low 16 and the Dolphins Dan Marino an even lower, 15. Bradshaw and Marino are members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Here are some Wonderlic scores by LSU players through the years.
Matt Flynn 38
Matt Mauck 30
Zack Mettenberger 30
JaMarcus Russell 24
Rohan Davey 17
Eddie Kennison 12
Jamal Adams 11
Leonard Fournette 11
Patrick Peterson 9
Morris Claiborne 4