Dear Tiger Fan,
The end of the college football season always generates fervid conversation. We look back at the past year and reflect on both the highlights and the "what-could-have beens." Schools like LSU that play at the elite level of college football generate even more debate about what went right and what went wrong.
Let me open this letter by emphasizing that I share the passion for winning that is the hallmark of LSU's faithful. I want to make it clear that LSU is committed to having a football program that regularly plays for championships.
LSU did not win a football championship in 2009, so there is room for improvement. It is hard to be too critical of a season in which three of the four losses came against teams that won 11, 13 and 14 games, including the No. 1 and No. 3 teams in America. LSU led both Alabama and Penn State in the fourth quarter and, with a few breaks, could have challenged Florida. Very few teams in the country can make that claim.
In the past five years LSU has enjoyed one of the most successful eras in all of college football. The crowning achievement was the 2007 BCS national title, and that came in the midst of winning 51 games in the last five seasons, the most of any other school in the SEC other than Florida. To top it off, Les Miles led LSU to its best five-year stretch in school history, finishing in the top five in the nation for three straight seasons for the first time ever at LSU. He is the only coach in school history to beat Alabama, Auburn and Florida all in the same season and he's done it twice. In the process, he reached 50 wins faster than any coach in the history of the school.
Under the leadership of Coach Miles, LSU has 18 wins over Top 25 opponents, including eight over Top 10 teams. Until the Capital One Bowl, Coach Miles had won every non-conference game he had coached at LSU, including wins over the likes of Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Miami, Notre Dame and Ohio State.
Every year, athletic directors and head coaches evaluate their programs, making whatever adjustments are necessary to stay on top of the game. I am personally committed to working with Coach Miles to evaluate and improve all aspects of our football program to keep us strong and competing for championships. LSU had a nice season in 2009 with nine wins and a New Year's Day bowl game. On the other hand, being "nice" is not our annual goal. We intend to contend for - and win - championships at LSU.
Improvements are already underway. We will work hard in the off-season to make the adjustments necessary to compete for a championship in 2010. After a troubling season on defense in 2008, Coach Miles re-tooled his defense and the Tigers ranked No. 12 in the country in scoring defense this year. This season, our offense floundered as it slipped to a No. 112 ranking in the nation - a statistic certainly not indicative of a championship-caliber team. I am confident there will be the necessary improvement on offense in 2010.
LSU has just come off the greatest decade in school history. We have facilities that rank among the best in the country. We are playing in the greatest conference in America. Our program is committed not only to winning and flourishing in any one year, but to maintaining and energizing the tradition of victorious seasons, year in and year out. The passion of our fans is second to none. We will always try for bigger and better accomplishments, so let's celebrate the fact that LSU football is thriving and the crystal ball is always in reach.
As always, we welcome your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org. Unfortunately we cannot answer every e-mail we receive, but please be assured they are all read.
Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics