“It’s been 18 years, and I can still smell the fresh bourbon. The stadium cups had never been used. The cigars had never been smoked. Tiger Stadium was the stadium of dreams, and it was. It really was.” - Rose DeWitt Bukater - Titanic
We’re trying to do something today that hasn’t been done this millennium. When you say it like that, it’s much heavier than saying “We haven’t beaten LSU in Tiger Stadium since 1999, which is eight straight games.” When you look at it, we never really did have much of a chance. Each of those years, LSU was the clear favorite, and in many of those games, they dominated. Let’s run it down.
2001 - Auburn was on the downswing after losing the Iron Bowl 31-7 and losing Cadillac Williams to that broken collarbone. LSU was in the midst of a championship run where they’d win the West and beat Tennessee in Atlanta. Josh Reed won the Biletnikoff Award, and they’d trounce Illinois in the Sugar Bowl. Plus, we were reaping the blowback karma from our first trip to Death Valley since smoking the cigars. Oh God.
2003 - Our poor poor pitiful offense had no shot against one of the best defenses of the early 2000s as we got smoked 31-7 by the future national champions.
2005 - Bourbon-soaked voodoo really began to take hold as John Vaughn missed five field goals and we lost in overtime as he doinked a kick off the upright to tie. Again, LSU went to the SEC Championship Game.
2007 - We lost in the last second to the future national champions. Demetrius Byrd. True villain. My hate of Les Miles grew to its apex on that day. I actually pulled for Ohio State to beat them in the national championship game — I felt dirty.
2009 - Chizik’s first year, we were alright, but hit the midseason wall and again got rocked down in Baton Rouge by a more physical team in a night game.
2011 - Day game. True domination as LSU beat us by a billion on their way to another SEC Championship. This would have been considered one of the great all-time teams if not for that egg they laid in the national title.
2013 - We just weren’t there yet. We play LSU three weeks later and not in the stiff dew, we probably win. Timing was everything that year. Our only loss until the national championship.
2015 - We were coming off of the “win” over Jacksonville State, everyone was down, nobody thought we could do it, and we didn’t. Leonard Fournette put on a show that day, nearly going for a long touchdown on the first play of the game, and he rumbled for 228 yards and averaged 12 yards per carry.
So, five of the eight times we lost in Baton Rouge since our last victory, we lost to the SEC West Champions. There’s not really any shame in that. On the other hand, it’s not like Jordan-Hare has been all that different for them. We won at home in 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2010, 2014, and 2016. Their only victories in Auburn have come against the two worst teams we’ve had since the turn of the century. Long story short, there’s not some magic voodoo hex on Tiger Stadium for us — they’ve simply had better teams when we’ve gone down there. We’ve had better teams when they’ve visited us for the most part. Home field advantage does play a part, but that’s true of nearly any stadium you visit.
It hasn’t been the case for LSU this year. As old Rose would say when she looks in that old mirror -- “Reflection’s changed a bit” — and the same is true for the power of Tiger Stadium. You don’t lose to Troy at home and still have the same creaky swamp magic. It could be an exceptionally well-played long con, yes, but it’s not.
The fact of the matter is that LSU is injured on both lines. LSU is injured at running back. LSU does not have a very accurate quarterback. Auburn’s got an explosive offense and a defense that’s playing with a frothy, rabid nature. The day after Friday the 13th, and we’ve already seen two top ten teams go down, it only helps Auburn stand up a little straighter, pay a little more attention, focus a little harder.
It’s time for us to win in Death Valley. It’s time for us to beat LSU. It’s time for us to show the country what kind of a team we really are. Beating all of the ‘M’ teams in our league doesn’t matter anymore. Here’s the real test. Let’s go to it. Beat the hell out of LSU today, gentlemen. War Eagle.