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LSU is Ahead of Schedule, but Fans are Way Ahead Infront. Remember Saban at Bama had 2 Losing Seasons

According to Brian Kelly, LSU has reached the point of ‘conscious competence’ this season.

When Kelly threw out that phrase Monday afternoon in talking about the preparation for the SEC championship, he was referencing the standards set within this program and what it’s going to take for this group to level up. This team now understands the standards, knowing what to do and how to do it.

But it’s been tough for it to sink in with the Tigers daily, which has led to some of the up-and-down growing pains of this team. This isn’t unique to year one rebuilds but what has been pretty uncommon, particularly in a conference like the SEC, is for LSU to be so competitive this early on.

The purple and gold have beaten the likes of Alabama, Ole Miss, and Arkansas in their quest to clinch the SEC West. Those wins set expectations at a high that not many believed LSU could reach, making the disappointment of the Texas A&M loss all the more profound. It’s games like this last weekend that shed light on the next step for this program under Kelly’s leadership.

“We want to get to where it’s unconscious competence. We don’t have to think about it,” Kelly said. “It’s just we do it and we do it the right way every day. I think it’s still a process for us. They understand it a lot better. So I think that’s where that level is. But we still have another level to go.”

LSU didn’t have that ‘unconscious competence’ Saturday against Texas A&M, where a week of preparation ultimately failed come game time. That’s been consistent in Kelly’s message to the team for much of the last several days.

This team can’t fall out of bed on Saturdays and beat the kind of teams it’ll face in the SEC week in and week out. The Tigers rely so much on the traits that it takes to prepare to win these tight games and sometimes that doesn’t translate into performance.

That’s where the next level of the process comes in and why a game like this weekend against the No.1 Georgia Bulldogs comes into play. This is a significant matchup on so many levels but one of the most crucial is to see how this program looks come postseason time.

How this group shrugs off the disappointment of not getting to compete for a college football playoff spot while simultaneously understanding that an SEC championship win is a huge step to ‘graduating champions’ is a significant point of view.

“I think it would be something that we would all feel great about in our first year here at LSU, but I think overall it’s hard to win SEC Championships. It’s so hard,” Kelly said. “There’s so many good teams. We’ve just talked about how you have to play week to week in the regular season, but to get there and then win it all — that’s why somebody asked me yesterday about do you think that if they expand the playoffs that an SEC Championship would be devalued, and I said, absolutely not; you don’t know what you have to go through to actually get here, and that’s why I think it would never be devalued and would be such a huge thing for this football program.”

The value of winning this game is astronomically important to an LSU team looking to build credibility not just in the conference and college football world but on the recruiting trail as well. All of these recruits will be tuned into this game to see how this team responds Saturday against a Bulldogs team the Tigers will be directly recruiting against in the future.

This is a national stage for college football unlike many others outside of the playoff. If LSU can compete and continue to build on the standards set by Kelly and this staff, there’s a lot of momentum heading into the offseason.