The LSU Tigers being in the Chick-fil-A Bowl isn’t that new during Les Miles‘ time as head coach. This season’s appearance will be the Tigers’ third under Miles. In an interesting bit of irony, the two previous seasons where the Tigers have been in this bowl game under Miles bear their own similarities to this season.
Miles took over as Tigers head coach in 2005 and his first season ended up with the Tigers in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. The Tigers were just outside the top 10 while their opponents, the Miami (Fla.) Hurricanes, were in the top 10. The only competitive part of the game turned out to be a brawl involving players from both teams. Though that came after the game concluded, so technically no part of this game was competitive. A 17-point second quarter built a comfortable halftime lead for the Tigers. They extended on this lead with two touchdowns and two field-goals in the third and fourth quarters respectively. In the end, what was the most high-profile bowl game outside of the BCS turned into a 40-3 blowout win for the Tigers.
In 2008, the Tigers landed in the Chick-fil-A Bowl for the second time under Miles. The previous season, the Tigers won what is still their last national championship. The followup wasn’t any good as the Tigers finished 7-5 and drew a top 15 opponent in the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. This, like the 2005 installment, was the non-January 1 and non-BCS bowl game I was most looking forward to. And like that 2005 game, it turned out to be a slaughter.
The Tigers had every answer necessary to contain and dominate the Yellow Jackets’ triple-option rushing attack. Like three years before, it was a big second quarter that put this game out of reach for the Tigers’ opponent. This time around it was 28 second quarter points that built a big halftime lead. This time, the Tigers didn’t even really need to add on to it. They ended up with a 38-3 win and only scored three points in the entire second half.
Now in 2012, the Tigers are back in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. This time around they are facing another top-15 opponent from the ACC. This is also an appearance coming in the season after a conference title and near national championship; the Tigers won the SEC last year only to lose to the Alabama Crimson Tide in the national title game in a rematch from a regular season game that the Tigers won.
Recent history suggests that Tajh Boyd is going to be the next victim of the Tigers’ defense in a bowl game played in the Georgia Dome. It is my hope that this game turns out better than both of the Tigers’ previous Chick-fil-A Bowl appearances in the last seven years combined. This is because, like the Tigers’ other recent appearances in this bowl game, this is the most high-profile bowl game prior to January 1.