BATON ROUGE, La. — 2016 was a crazy year in these United States, and LSU sports was no exception to the insanity.
From the disappointing Ben Simmons Experience to a dramatic super-regional loss to the eventual College World Series champs to the end of Les Miles’ 12-year run in charge of the football program, it was a roller coaster of frustration for Tiger fans.
But with Christmas upon us, the year is finally about to come to its conclusion. We got to thinking about what LSU fans would like to see underneath the tree for a more promising 2017. And we thought about a few lumps of coal that no one would want in their stocking.
So we’ve made a list, and checked it … uh, once.
LSU wish list
Cam Akers: The nation’s top undecided running back prospect is reportedly down to Florida State, Ole Miss and LSU as his top three choices. And it won’t take long for this gift to materialize — Akers will make his college announcement on Dec. 27.
Explosive offense: Ed Orgeron promised it, and new offensive coordinator Matt Canada seems poised to deliver it in 2017. He led the country’s No. 10 scoring offense this season at Pittsburgh, though SEC defenses will represent a step up in competition.
A win over Alabama: No less an authority than Orgeron’s mama already has it marked on her list.
Relevant basketball: The clock is ticking on Johnny Jones to provide this gift. A blowout loss at Wake Forest to close out nonconference play does little to assuage an already apathetic fan base. The Tigers will have to go on a heck of a run in SEC play to get anyone excited, or Joe Alleva may be conducting yet another coaching search this school year.
A long stay in Omaha: Since winning its last College World Series title in 2009, LSU hasn’t made it to the final weekend of the event. TD Ameritrade hasn’t treated the Tigers as well as Rosenblatt Stadium — but maybe 2017 is the year all that changes.
Mike VII: The heir to LSU’s mascot throne has yet to be named following Mike VI’s death this fall. A new tiger needs to move into the habitat by next fall to make fans happy.
Lumps of coal
Cam Akers to Ole Miss: Having to face the 5-star back every year figures to be more painful than if he picks Florida State over both of his SEC suitors.
Football regression: Thanks to the Hurricane Matthew-induced swap with Florida, the Tigers play five conference road games next year. It won’t be easy, and combined with a defense depleted of its biggest stars, there’s a decent chance LSU will take a step backward next year.
Another baseball Cinderella: Stony Brook. Coastal Carolina. Could a third Cinderella use Alex Box Stadium as its path to Omaha this season?
PETA protests prevent new Mike’s arrival: Far-fetched, perhaps, but in an era where seemingly everything is protested, why should this be an exception? This scenario would truly be the ultimate bummer for most LSU fans.