10-20-18 LSU vs. Mississippi State

LSU prepares for a play during the Tigers’ 19-3 victory over Mississippi State on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018, in Tiger Stadium.

It has to be the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back. The Rubicon has to have been crossed and Fort Sumter has to have been fired upon.

The officiating performance in LSU'S game against Texas A&M on Nov. 24 has to be the final nail in the coffin for the LSU-Southeastern Conference relationship, right? LSU has been part of the SEC since the league’s formation in 1932, but is now a good time to start reevaluating options?

After all, not all relationships are supposed to last forever, and both parties should be proud of the 86-year bond shared. LSU and the SEC accomplished a lot together, especially at the turn of the 21st century. However, it truly seems as if the SEC has decided to stop carrying its weight in this union.

LSU was never the conference’s favorite child, but many believe that it’s become blatantly obvious that the conference does not care about its purple and gold pupil.

At first, the problems were too sporadic and infrequent to cause a ruckus. Fans will gripe when a favorable call decides a game against Alabama or when Florida is allowed to decide terms of a rivalry by canceling a game, but no one would dare dream of filing for a divorce because of these inconveniences.

However, these are the types of events that fester in the hearts of the LSU-faithful, waiting to combust like a keg of gunpowder at the next instance of unfairness. The Devin White targeting debacle pushed the Tiger fan base to a tipping point, and the Texas A&M game drove the fans right off the cliff. Then, the game took fans back to the top and drove off the cliff again.

Repeat that cliff exercise four more times, and you’d be up to speed with the current state of affairs.

Now, the hard question must be asked. Does LSU want to continue playing in a conference that seems to care so little about the Tigers?

There are much easier roads to the team’s playoff destination. Why not join the Big XII Conference? The league would certainly welcome the Tigers with open arms, and the schedule would be far easier than taking candy from a baby. And after watching LSU’s 70-point shootout with the Aggies, the Tigers would fit right in with the faux defense culture of the Big XII.

While seceding from a group is a direct way to express displeasure with the powers that be, leaving the SEC is not the answer at the moment, since leaving the conference would mean refusing to take any blame for the events that transpired last Saturday.

I was as frustrated as any fan watching the seven-overtime heartbreaker, but the best way to deal with any struggling relationship is by looking in the mirror and improving your own shortcomings.

LSU’s defense played poorly in the first half, the special teams unit muffed a punt allowing Texas A&M to capitalize and the offense failed to pick up the last first down that would have iced the game.

Had LSU avoided any of those mistakes, the referees would have never been given the chance to ruin the game.

Is that an excuse for the missed calls? Absolutely not. The SEC wants to be an elite conference, but fans have seen anything but elite officiating. I don’t believe in conspiracies, and I don’t think the league has a personal vendetta against LSU. All I ask is that when there are games with so much at stake and both teams are playing their hearts out, is competent officiating too much to ask for?

I know the SEC has capable officials. I see them in the Alabama games every weekend, and it’s high time that the conference started spreading the Crimson-Tide-love across the board.

Because today, its LSU. Tomorrow, it will be Auburn. Poor officiating is a poison that will sweep right through the conference and be the scarlet letter of the SEC if no improvements are made.

SEC fans and athletes are too passionate about their sports to have poor officiating ruin such a great product. If the conference fails to realize that, there may come a time when LSU and other programs may seriously evaluate other options.

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