SEC football Misery Index: LSU has a bad football team and a miserable decision on its hands

Nick Gray
Nashville Tennessean

This week's SEC Misery Index comes in a dark roux with a Garth Brooks tune on in the background. Maybe it's why the Misery Index was generally kind this week.

Let's get going.

Most miserable: Coach O-vermatched in Kentucky

LSU will make a decision on coach Ed Orgeron's status sometime between now and the end of the year. It won't be an easy one, because of Orgeron's love for the state and the job as well as the relatively short time on the calendar between the 2019 national title and today.

The problem is that it has become more and more difficult to think of those things when watching LSU's uninspiring 42-21 loss at Kentucky on Saturday. The Tigers could not physically compete with Kentucky, allowing 330 rushing yards and struggling to protect QB Max Johnson. The game plans on both sides of the ball missed the mark, as the Wildcats constructed a 35-7 lead by the fourth quarter.

Oct 9, 2021; Lexington, Kentucky, USA; LSU Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron looks on during the second quarter against the Kentucky Wildcats at Kroger Field. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

What does LSU do? What should it do? If LSU again struggles to a .500 finish, that would be two such seasons in a row following the national title. LSU fans probably won't be too keen to see Orgeron lead the team again, but does Orgeron deserve one final shot?

Tigers fans loved Orgeron just 20 months ago, when he led the best team in school history. That wasn't that long ago.

The Misery Index talks about miserable performances all the time.

But real misery is having to make a decision about a Louisiana-born coach who won a national title two seasons ago but has struggled ever since then. There are no right answers for LSU.

BLAKE TOPPMEYER:Getting harder to find reason for LSU football to wait to fire Ed Orgeron

LSU MAILBAG:Why LSU can't replace Ed Orgeron with Urban Meyer

Also miserable: Nick Saban and Alabama fall into the trap

Nick Saban warned us. He warned the Misery Index, who had the Texas A&M Aggies battling just to get to .500 by the end of the season. He warned his players, whose last road trip resulted in a nail-biting two-point victory at Florida.

And he was right.

You ever notice how much different Saban acts during a close game compared to a blowout of Vanderbilt or New Mexico State? He's coaching just as hard, no doubt, but it's different. Every team wants to see a calmer Saban clapping during a big play (good or bad) or change in possession, trying to keep up the positivity on the sidelines.

It means Alabama is in for a fight. So there was Saban, calmly clapping on the sidelines during one of the Tide's worst halves in recent memory, a first half in which the Aggies built a 14-point lead. Alabama eventually got the lead by the final minutes, but the Aggies scored 10 in a row late to win 41-38.

Saban was right. Not all the bluster in front of the media and on the sidelines in weeks where Alabama is destined to blowout its opponent is stuff to ignore. It shows you when Saban takes an opponent seriously.

OOPS:See woman clobbered by security escorting Nick Saban off field after Texas A&M loss

Saban took the Aggies seriously, but it's just as likely that his team did not. It's the only way, after all, to justify A&M quarterback Zach Calzada's shift from backup QB struggling with his opportunity to playmaking gunslinger who has a win over Alabama to his credit.

Alabama has to learn to take the rest of its opponents seriously, lest Saban calmly clap on more sidelines this season.

CECIL HURT:Can Alabama football still make the College Football Playoff? Only if it improves quickly

Miserable, but can deal with it: Arkansas defensive failures, but a symptom of facing Ole Miss

Two things can be true: Arkansas has a good defense, and Ole Miss has a really, really good offense.

Arkansas coach Sam Pittman lamented his team's tackling, but that wasn't the only issue. Too many times did an Ole Miss receiver run free behind the Razorbacks defense.

Pittman and his staff should rightfully stress over the poor play of their defense. But Ole Miss is just too good, and Arkansas' defense won't face an offense quite like it again.

OLE MISS MAILBAG:Can Rebels stop Tennessee? Should Rebels stop playing defense?

Not everyone is miserable...

Oct 9, 2021; College Station, Texas, USA;  Texas A&M quarterback Zach Calzada (10) throws for a touchdown at Kyle Field. Texas A&M defeated Alabama 41-38 on a field goal as time expired. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports
  • Texas A&M is the story of the weekend in college football, and it shouldn't be overlooked how improbable it is for Calzada to turn things around against Alabama of all opponents. The Aggies offense was inarguably not good over the past three weeks with the backup QB at the helm, but maybe they were saving up for Alabama?
  • Kentucky is 6-0 after the LSU victory, and it means the Cats have navigated two-thirds of their hellacious October slate successfully. Georgia looms very, very large next week.
  • Tennessee keeps scoring points and blowing out inferior opponents, with South Carolina the unfortunate foe on Saturday. Hendon Hooker was the only QB on the roster with previous college success, and it's no surprise to see him succeed in Josh Heupel's offense.