Is LSU still the top football team in Louisiana?

·2 min read

If you posed the question in the headline to a college football fan five years ago, you would have been laughed out of the room.

Even before LSU put together one of the best teams in college football history in 2019, this was one of the most illustrious programs in the country with a rich history of success on the gridiron. Meanwhile, the only other FBS programs in the Pelican State — Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana Tech and Tulane — didn’t have much football history to speak of.

But the Billy Napier era in Lafayette changed that calculus a little bit. Napier, who is now the head coach at Florida, found unprecedented success with the Ragin’ Cajuns. They’ve won at least a share of the Sun Belt title in each of the last two seasons and have a 23-2 record in that span. Over that same period, LSU is just 11-12.

Still, despite recent success, it would be bold to assume things will continue on without a hitch after Napier’s departure. Louisiana at least maintained continuity, hiring offensive coordinator Michael Desormeaux to replace the best coach in program history, but those kinds of hires can be a bit unpredictable.

It’s for that reason that CBS Sports’ Barrett Sallee still considers the Tigers the top dog (cat?) in the bayou.

The Tigers have been a disaster in each of the last two seasons, but the 2019 national title, coupled with the ninja-like hiring of Brian Kelly away from Notre Dame, has them clinging to their perch atop the Pelican State. The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns have a case in this matter, but we are going to hold off on seeing what they look like in the post-Billy Napier era.

Despite things reaching a nadir at the back end of the Ed Orgeron era, LSU looks to be on its way back up after hiring Kelly — the third-winningest active head coach in the FBS — away from Notre Dame. Year 1 may have ups and downs in Baton Rouge, but given the early recruiting returns, that dip isn’t likely to last long.

The state of Louisiana is arguably more competitive than it has ever been right now, but the Tigers still represent the flagship program, and that isn’t likely to change any time soon.

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Story originally appeared on LSU Tigers Wire