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Saturday, November 25, 2006

It's About Time

How great is LSU’s tradition?

How great is LSU’s winning tradition if it’s 2006 and the Tigers just now put together back-to-back, double digit-win seasons for the first time in their so called “illustrious” history?

LSU’s 31-26 win over Arkansas Friday made the Tigers 10-2. The Tigers were 11-2 last season.

“I think it’s the first time in school history that they won two back-to-back, 10-win seasons,” LSU coach Les Miles said after the game. “Am I right there?”

Yes he is. But it is clearly not the first time a Southeastern Conference team has done it. Seven others have done it. Only four have not - Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, South Carolina and Kentucky.

Do you know when Ole Miss turned that trick for the first time? Try 1959 and 1960, and that was back when teams played just 10 regular season games. It has not happened since, however, even in this day of 12- and 13-game seasons..

Tennessee has done it six times – the first time in 1938 and 1939 and the last time in 2003 and 2004. Now, that’s a winning tradition. The Volunteers also won 10 games or more in four straight seasons from 1995-98.

Alabama has also done it six times – the first time in 1961 and 1962 and the last time in 1993 and 1994. Alabama also won 10 games or more in five straight seasons from 1971-75 and in four straight seasons from 1977-80.

Florida has done it four times. From 1993-98, it won 10 or more games an SEC record six straight seasons.

Georgia has done it four times and currently is on a run of four straight 10-or-more win seasons, but it won’t repeat this season.

Arkansas beat LSU to this category as it was 10-2 in 1988 and in 1989, but it has not done it since. Auburn also beat LSU to this status in 1988 and 1989 as it also went 10-2 in each of those two seasons but has not repeated it.

These statistics are somewhat misleading, because former LSU coach Charles McClendon posted nine wins six times from 1962 through 1973, including five straight nine-win campaigns from 1969-73. He never won 10, but he lost more than four only three times.

What these numbers reveal is the tremendous impact coach Nick Saban continues to have on the LSU program. Saban was the first LSU coach in history to put up double digit wins twice over three seasons when he went 10-3 in 2001 and 13-1 in 2003 around an 8-5 season in 2002. He left after going 9-3 in 2004, but many of his players will still be at LSU through the 2007 season and some will still be around in 2008.

LSU has had only eight double digit-win seasons in its history. Paul Dietzel had two – 11-0 in 1958 and 10-1 in 1961. Mike Archer had one – 10-1-1 in 1987. Gerry DiNardo had one – 10-2 in 1996. Saban had two, and Miles is the first to have two back-to-back with a chance for a third.


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