Our offseason look at the true nature of various fanbases takes a turn for the delicious and dangerous: today, it's time to Better Know An LSU Fan with the help of Billy Gomila, managing editor of And The Valley Shook, SB Nation contributor, and part-time witness relocation real estate agent.
What's the most inaccurate stereotype of LSU fans?
You know that Firefly TV show that millions of people say they love but only a few dozen actually watched? Know how they had those crazy space cannibal thingies called Reavers that flew around and murdered and pillaged and did things so bad that Nathan Fillion usually just shot people first to spare them the horror of being captured?
LSU fans are definitely not that bad. Plus, we had to shelve the space program due to funding issues.
Seriously though, every SEC fan base has some message board story about a trip to Baton Rouge that involves burning cars and deep-fried grandparents and fear for ones life. But they can't wait to go back in a few years. Realistically, this perception largely exists because Southeast Louisiana is just a different cultural demographic from the typical I-20 Corridor portion of the South that is home to the more stereotypical genteel SEC fan and schools like Ole Miss, Bama, Auburn, Georgia, so on and so forth. We just don't have a lot of hangups about drinking, or the volume of our voices, or drinking, or how much we eat, or drinking. Besides, we can just hop in the confessional Sunday morning and Father Deveraux was holding us up on that kegstand anyway so how harsh can he really be?
Truthfully, we like having fun and we want you to as well, so should you find yourself being "Tiger Bait!"-ed by a loud gentlemen you can't quite understand, don't be afraid to walk up and say hi. He probably has some cold beer and hot food he'd love to share, and if there's one thing that unites us all in the SEC, it's high cholesterol.
What stereotype should we be mocking instead?
LSU fans have an eternal belief that the program is an orbital Death Star that could easily dominate the college football galaxy if we could just figure out where we last put the goddamned keys.
It may surprise you that Louisianans have trust issues when it comes to people in positions of authority, like football coaches or governors. But regardless of demographics, funding, fan support, or talent availability, the secret to winning a national championship in any sport at LSU is to just fire the current coach in charge. Sure, the Les Miles Saga captured the college football world's imagination for a couple days in November, but never let it be said that it was a new phenomenon here. I knew LSU fans that wanted Nick Saban gone in 2002, coming off the program's first SEC title since the 1980s.
Meanwhile, the darkest two decades in the program's history came on the heels of the very unceremonious firing of Charlie McClendon, the winningest coach in school history. Whatever, if we wanted to learn from history we'd go take one of those tours in the French Quarter. And only tourists do that shit.
If an LSU fan has to be roommates with a fan of another team, which one are they most likely to get along with?
Let's see...unnatural tolerance for oppressive heat, humidity and blood alcohol levels? A colorful history involving a diverse and colorful swath of the animal kingdom? Unrealistic expectations in sports?
Florida, you complete us.
What's the worst subsection of your fans?
The purveyor of this site once said that "success spoils success," and for a portion of LSU fans, anything less than an undefeated or national championship season is usually defined by one word: mediocre.
LSU finished 16th last season in the final AP poll, with a 9-3 record that only missed being 10-3 because the season opener with McNeese State was cancelled due to weather. For some fans, the fact that Les Miles A) wasn't fired and B) has any lingering support among Tiger fans is just proof that we're all "settling for mediocrity."
Oh and the subject of these fans' replacement dreams, Jimbo Fisher? He went 10-3 last season too.
What is an LSU fan's most delusional but firmly held belief?
That whole Death Star analogy? We're just thissssss close to getting there, if we'd just replace (insert coach) in (insert sport).
It doesn't help that a number of pundits like to put LSU on top of the "best job" lists -- don't get me wrong, LSU is a great job for a lot of reasons. But Louisiana just doesn't have the population base of places like Texas, Ohio State, USC, Florida, nor does the athletic department have the funding or support of schools like Alabama, Texas A&M, Michigan, and so on. Oh, and don't even think about raising ticket prices or donation levels to try and make up that difference either.
The answer is always firing somebody. Kicker misses a kick? Fire the special teams coach. Offensive line misses a block? Fire the offensive line coach. And believe it or not, it's much, much worse in baseball.
What is an LSU fan's deepest fear?
That time is a flat circle, and that somewhere, a Hudson "Curley" Hallman has found his way back into this world.