Prre-season hype in full gear

John Dupnt

Patience wears thin as the countdown continues.

Seven weeks and two days separate us from the start of the 2012 LSU football season.

While the Tigers have not yet gotten into the thick of the pre-season drills, the analysts got the ball rolling weeks ago.

Some say they haven’t really stopped since the end of the last season.

Granted, the titanic meltdown in the much-hyped “dream match” of a championship game became more of a nightmare for the Tigers, who suffered an embarrassing 21-0 loss against Alabama, led by former LSU coach Nick Saban.

Most analysts – including Danny Flynn and Sean Merriman of – believe the Tigers have all the tools to chisel out another SEC title and maybe another run at the BCS National Championship.

“One day at a time,” as one friend often reminds me.

It doesn’t take a Rhodes scholar to guess that both the Tigers and their fans would much rather block from their minds the memories  of their championship loss against Alabama.

The 2012 season will leave some fans unsure about forgiveness and redemption, at least until they host Bama in front of a national audience Nov. 3 on CBS.

Read the blogs and listen to the area radio or TV call-in programs. The mere mention of the 2011 season brings to mind the no-show

performance at the Superdome and a barrage of calls from fans, many of them still angry about the outcome.

Even though both have finished their collegiate careers, the armchair coaches argue about whether Miles should’ve played Jarrett Lee or Jordan Jefferson.

Whether fans like it or not, it’s in the past and nothing can change it. But it’s LSU’s job to make fans forget the championship debacle.

The Tigers can make last season seem like a distant memory – a bad dream, perhaps. They should have little trouble with their non-conference schedule.

Unlike last season’s non-SEC games included ranked teams Oregon and West Virginia, the 2012 slate does not offer nearly the suspense – North Texas (the season opener Sept. 1), Washington, Idaho and Towson.

But fans know better. They’ll reserve their thoughts for the SEC slate, which includes Auburn, perennial powerhouse Florida, a much-improved South Carolina, Alabama and the ever-unpredictable Arkansas

It’s up to Miles and the team to make the most of that pre-season confidence.

Anticipation will reach a fever pitch in the days leading to Sept. 1, but it shouldn’t take long to find the answers to a lot of persistent questions.