10 Greatest LSU Football Teams of All Time

Ed Orgeron's 2019 Tigers certainly make this list

The LSU Tigers finished the 2019 college football season 15-0 and national champion. The 2019 team is definitely one of the best in program history, but where do those Tigers rank? Let's take a look.

 

10. 1935

Record: 9-2

Finished: Lost to TCU 3-2 in the Sugar Bowl

Final Ranking: N/A

The Williamson System, a national champion selector approved by the NCAA from 1932 to '63, awarded the 1935 title to both LSU and TCU (Note: LSU only claims the 1958, 2003, and 2007 national championships.). Ironically, the two teams met in the Sugar Bowl on a Tulane Stadium field that was sodden from four days of rain. The only scores came in the second quarter when TCU kicker Taldon Manton booted a 36-yard field goal and quarterback Sammy Baugh was penalized for intentional grounding in the end zone, giving LSU a safety.

 

9. 1961

Record: 10-1

Finished: Beat Colorado 25-7 in the Orange Bowl

Final Ranking: No. 4

Head coach Paul Dietzel's last squad bounced back from a season-opening loss to Rice to win the rest of its games and share the SEC title with national champion Alabama. Dietzel left to take the head coaching job at Army following the Orange Bowl win.

 

8. 1936

Record: 9-1-1

Finished: Lost to Santa Clara 21-14 in the Sugar Bowl

Final Ranking: No. 2

The Tigers held their opponents to only 33 points during the regular season en route to their second straight SEC title. At the end of the regular season, sportswriters awarded Minnesota the first-ever AP Poll national championship, with LSU ranked second.

 

7. 1908

Record: 10-0

Finished: Beat Arkansas 36-4 in final regular season game

Final Ranking: N/A

Head coach Edgar Wingard's squad outscored its opponents 442-11 and recorded seven shutouts. The Associated Press did not begin naming the national champion until 1936, but the National Championship Foundation retroactively awarded the top spot to LSU and Penn.

 

6. 2006

Record: 11-2

Finished: Beat Notre Dame 41-14 in the Sugar Bowl

Final Ranking: No. 3

The Tigers' only losses were on the road to third-ranked Auburn and national champion Florida. In the Sugar Bowl, quarterback JaMarcus Russell threw three touchdown passes and ran for another as LSU shut down Notre Dame in the second half.

 

5. 2007

Record: 12-2

Finished: Beat Ohio State 38-24 in the BCS National Championship Game

Final Ranking: No. 1

The Tigers overcame two triple-overtime losses to Kentucky and Arkansas to take the No. 2 spot in the BCS rankings at the end of the crazy 2007 regular season. They then dispatched Ohio State to become the only two-loss national champion of the modern college football era.

 

4. 2011

Record: 13-1

Finished: Lost to Alabama 21-0 in the BCS National Championship Game

Final Ranking: No. 2

Yes, I am ranking this team above the 2007 squad even though they didn't win the national title. The Tigers beat No. 3 Oregon 40-27 at Cowboys Stadium to open the season and then defeated 10 of their next 12 opponents by at least 24 points. LSU's only close games were a 19-6 win over Mississippi State and a 9-6 overtime victory against Alabama in Tuscaloosa in one of the best games of their rivalry. But at the end of the season, the BCS rankings still scored the Tigers and Crimson Tide as the top two teams in the league. In the rematch in the championship game in New Orleans, Alabama shut down LSU and won 21-0.

 

3. 2003

Record: 13-1

Finished: Beat Oklahoma 21-14 in the Sugar Bowl (BCS National Championship Game)

Final Ranking: No. 1 (Coaches Poll), No. 2 (AP Poll)

The Tigers finished the regular season No. 2 in both the AP and Coaches Polls behind USC. However, the BCS rankings had LSU and Oklahoma holding the top spots so USC played in the Rose Bowl and beat Michigan to win the AP title. Meanwhile, LSU took care of business against Oklahoma to win the Coaches Poll national championship and take home Nick Saban's first title.

 

2. 1958

Record: 11-0

Finished: Beat Clemson 7-0 in the Sugar Bowl

Final Ranking: No. 1

The NCAA slowly relaxed its substitution rules during the era of iron man football and by 1958, players were allowed to re-enter a game only twice per quarter. Head coach Paul Dietzel took advantage of this by adopting a three-platoon system. The "White Team" were his starters, the "Go Team" played primarily on offense, and the "Chinese Bandits" (named after Terry and the Pirates comic strip characters) would come off the bench and play frenetic defense. The move worked extremely well. LSU held its opponents to less than five points a game and its Wing T backfield of Johnny Robinson, Warren Rabb, and future Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon, overwhelmed defenses. The team went undefeated and secured the program's first outright national title.

 

1. 2019

Record: 15-0

Finished: Beat No. 3 Clemson 42-25 in the College Football Playoff National Championship

Final Ranking: No. 1

The Tigers were down 13-10 to Auburn in the third quarter on Oct. 26. They did not trail an opponent again until the national championship game, beating their next seven opponents by an average of 26 points. All told, they beat seven top-10 teams, including the top four (Clemson, Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma) from the preseason polls. Their run of dominance makes them the best team in the history of the program.

 

— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports’ Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.

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