BATON ROUGE, La. -- Things are rarely dull at LSU, but this has been one of the nuttiest seasons on record for the Tigers. The nuttiness might not even be over yet.
Perhaps Saturday’s postgame announcement that Les Miles is welcome to return as head coach next season will end the weirdness that has marked 2015 at LSU. That would be a relief after a turbulent month of November. But call it a hunch that more drama might be ahead.
What if Miles’ name surfaces in one of the umpteen-million coaching searches that will take place in the coming weeks? Would that surprise anyone after the way LSU’s power brokers treated him? Surely Miles realizes we’re doing this same song-and-dance next year if he loses to Alabama or goes 9-3 again.
What if Miles decides to make changes to his coaching staff after the season? He was noncommittal on the subject after Saturday’s victory over Texas A&M, but it would hardly be a shock if adjustments are coming. Any move Miles makes would obviously have a ripple effect that could change the dynamics of his program.
Whatever happens in the coming weeks, unusual occurrences have become the norm -- as LSU beat writer Ross Dellenger frequently reminds readers with a running tally on his Twitter account.
A quick recap of what made LSU's season strange:
Health issues: Miles and LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron both dealt with health scares before the season started.
Cameron was treated for prostate cancer during preseason practice and revealed in a news conference that he had been given a positive prognosis and would be able to coach the season without missing any time.
Miles missed his first Monday media luncheon of the season after visiting the hospital that morning. Speaking with reporters later that day, Miles did not reveal exactly what happened, saying only that he felt awkward after drinking too much coffee.
Weather trouble: LSU was forced to cancel its first game of the season against McNeese State because of repeated lightning strikes around Tiger Stadium on Sept. 5. The teams had both possessed the ball once when the first strike occurred. LSU officials waited approximately four hours before finally calling the game around 10:30 p.m. CT.
Flood waters: Devastating floods in South Carolina forced the Gamecocks to move their Oct. 10 home game against LSU to Tiger Stadium a few days ahead of kickoff. Louisianans were polite hosts to their unexpected visitors, but attendance for the game was just 42,058 -- less than half the capacity of Tiger Stadium.
LSU won the game 45-24, and afterward LSU running back Leonard Fournette -- at the time the Heisman Trophy favorite, and a New Orleans native whose family had been displaced by Hurricane Katrina -- read a statement offering to auction his game jersey. Proceeds were to go to flood-relief efforts in South Carolina.
Caught off-guard by Fournette’s announcement, LSU officials scrambled to determine whether NCAA rules would allow such an auction to occur. The NCAA allowed it, and Fournette’s jersey fetched $101,000.
The South Carolina game was also notable because Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier resigned a few days later. Spurrier went 228-89-2 in 25-plus seasons as a college head coach, winning a national title at Florida in 1996.
QB shuffle: The South Carolina game was also in the middle of a bizarre trend for LSU’s defense. The Tigers faced four consecutive opponents who were forced to start backup quarterbacks either because of injuries or suspension.
It began with Syracuse, which started Zack Mahoney -- the fifth-string quarterback on the preseason depth chart -- against LSU. It continued with Eastern Michigan (Brogan Roback), South Carolina (Perry Orth) and Florida (Treon Harris). And 2015 was the second season in a row that Florida announced on the Monday of LSU week that its starter -- in this case, Will Grier -- was suspended against the Tigers.
Hitting the skids: The Tigers would beat Florida with a fake field goal and romp past Western Kentucky the following Saturday to improve to 7-0 and come in at No. 2 in the initial College Football Playoff rankings. But that weekend, Alabama stomped LSU 30-16 to put the Tigers on a three-game losing streak in which all the defeats came by at least two touchdowns.
It was the program’s first three-game losing streak since 1999, and the Alabama loss was LSU’s fifth in a row against the Crimson Tide.
Miles situation: Last week marked the climax of LSU's dramatics, when school power brokers attempted to force out Miles, the winningest coach in modern Tigers football history. The team carried Miles off the field after the A&M victory, and he learned LSU planned to retain him shortly after the game.
Bright spot: Fournette broke Charles Alexander’s LSU rushing record during the A&M game. The sophomore has 1,741 rushing yards this season -- currently the seventh-best single-season performance in SEC history. Fournette and Derrick Henry (1,797 yards) are both within striking distance of Herschel Walker’s record total of 1,891, set in 1981.