Tom Herman Could Take LSU Past Alabama
It’s no secret, the Alabama Crimson Tide are not only the best team in the SEC, but they’re the best in the country.
That is a statement that has been true every single year since Nick Saban returned to college football to coach the Tide, and it’s one that plagues every SEC team and fanbase every season. Playing in the same division or conference as Alabama is like playing in the AFC East and trying to beat the Patriots. No matter what you do, it’s nearly impossible to top them.
For roughly the last decade or so, the LSU Tigers have been the second or third best program in the SEC. So, having to deal with the unstoppable dynasty that is Alabama is especially frustrating for this fanbase, because we know just how close we are to being at the top and playing for the conference title.
In years that the Tigers have found a way to beat Alabama, they typically go to Atlanta to play for the championship. The problem is, that’s something that has not happened in several years. The knock on Les Miles was that he was not a coach who could beat the Crimson Tide, and that’s one of the big reasons he was fired by the school in September.
As the offseason nears and LSU’s coaching search heats up, many names are being thrown around. There are intriguing things about each of them, but there’s one guy that I keep coming back to as a coach who could be that big-game coach and finally get over the infamous Alabama hump.
That guy is Houston head coach Tom Herman. I’ve talked about him a lot, and the rest of the fanbase certainly has as well. He is a fantastic offensive coach, and other than a couple of embarrassing losses (Navy and SMU) on his record, there really isn’t a lot you can knock the guy on. His offenses are incredible, he recruits extremely well, and his guys absolutely love playing for him.
On top of all of that, Tom Herman is a remarkable big game coach. Yes, we have seen his team slip up a couple of times against inferior opponents, but when the ranked teams take the field against Houston and the lights get bright, they seem to always get the job done.
Last season, against the heavily-favored and the top 10 ranked Florida State Seminoles, Herman led Houston to a smackdown of Jimbo Fisher’s team in the Peach Bowl. That put Herman and Houston on the national map for really the first time. Then, in the first game of the 2016 season, his Cougars beat an Oklahoma team that was ranked number three in the country in a game that wasn’t really close.
As the schedule played out, Houston had those two embarrassing losses, and some people began to write-off Herman as the fantastic coaching candidate everyone thought he was. As the Cougars welcomed number five Louisville to Houston, no one really gave them a shot to win the game.
But once again, Tom Herman’s team came through in a big game, and the Cougars absolutely destroyed a team many thought would wind up in the College Football Playoffs. His defense shutdown the Heisman Trophy frontrunner, and the offense had no trouble scoring all night long.
In two seasons at Houston, we have seen Tom Herman beat three top 10 teams in games he was given no shot of winning. Is it really unfair to say that he could be the guy to get LSU over the hump of beating Alabama? If the Tigers can start beating the Crimson Tide in some of these games, we could begin to see frequent conference championship appearances, and possibly even the playoffs. I believe Herman is the guy that could do that, and his record speaks for itself.
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