LSU Tigers entertaining bowl candidates

Attention, bowl representatives: The LSU Tigers you might be getting in late December or early January aren’t the Tigers of September and October. You need to give these guys another look, if you haven’t already.

No one knows who’s going to wind up with LSU in the postseason, but the Tigers should look more attractive to suitors than they did just three weeks ago.

Their second loss of the season earlier this month pushed them to the farthest fringe of championship possibilities, but their newfound passing game and toe-to-toe battle with then-No .1 Alabama opened some eyes.

Their ability to sustain that offensive balance in a 37-17 victory against Mississippi State a week later kept those eyes open.

Then the entertaining — and gutsy — 41-35 victory against Ole Miss on Saturday demonstrated they’re not just a top-10 team and a team that can beat you with physicality, but also a team that can be downright fun to watch while they’re doing it.

If you’ve been scouting LSU all along, you knew it had top-tier NFL prospects on defense. You knew that defense could force turnovers and make big plays.

You knew the Tigers could run the football, but you also knew they didn’t have much to offer the pass-happy football fan.

They haven’t taken on the video-game characteristics favored by so many teams nowadays, but you should know by now they have a quarterback in Zach Mettenberger who can make all the throws, who showed Saturday that he can take a licking and keep on clicking with his receivers.

You now know that Jarvis Landry and James Wright and Kadron Boone and Odell Beckham Jr. can make big-time plays in the passing game with Mettenberger, and that Beckham does a mean Billy Cannon impersonation on punt returns.

What in the name of 3 yards and a cloud of dust is going on around here?

In early October, LSU had one rushing first down against Florida. In late October, it had 97 passing yards against Texas A&M.

But in three games in November, the Tigers have shown they can run it and throw it and catch it. They can gain yardage in big bites and not just in nibbles.

They have thrown for 296, 273 and 282 yards the past three games — not enough to get you an invite to the Big 12, but enough efficiency and consistency to make you one of the most-balanced teams in the country as Thanksgiving week arrives.

Coach Les Miles and offensive coordinator Greg Studrawa practically looked like mad bombers against Ole Miss, throwing the ball downfield with more regularity and efficiency than they did even against the likes of North Texas, Idaho and Towson.

So if you’re from the Rose Bowl or the Fiesta Bowl or the Sugar Bowl or Cotton Bowl, or any of the other possible destinations, you need to keep an eye on these Tigers when they wrap up the regular season on Black Friday at Arkansas.

Hey, there are lots of good teams out there, and three of LSU’s Southeastern Conference brethren are ahead of them in the BCS rankings (Alabama, Georgia and Florida), and two of those teams (Alabama and Florida) beat the Tigers. So LSU has lots of competition for the most-coveted bowl destinations.

But if any of you prospective bowl hosts aren’t sold on the Tigers’ newfound entertainment value on the field, take a look at Miles’ postgame tour de force Saturday.

Talk about entertainment value. A week’s worth of that guy having press conferences ought to seal the deal.