On Nov. 24, 2018, LSU lost a seven-overtime game against Texas A&M that was cursed with questionable calls, bad luck and soul-crushing heartbreak.
They haven't lost since.
That game changed everything. That game was this team's gut check. It was their moment of clarity when they stood tall and said, "Never again."
They followed that devastating loss with a win in the Fiesta Bowl over a Central Florida team that was riding a 25-game winning streak. They carried it over into this season, steamrolling to the national title game and dethroning the defending champs by 17 points.
In doing so, they once again ended the nation's longest active winning streak. Clemson's stood at 29 games. Now, LSU holds college football's longest winning streak at 16.
I hope you all took the time throughout the season and especially on Monday night to appreciate what you were watching.
What we all witnessed was not just special. It wasn't just magical. It was legendary. It was something we'll never see again.
LSU won its fourth national title and its third in the past 20 years. But this one was different. This was the sweetest of them all.
The Tigers' two national titles they won in the modern era both came with the dreaded "yeah, but" attached to them.
In 2003, they had to share the national championship with USC, and as a result, there was a large segment of fans that always said, "Yeah, but you would have lost to USC."
In 2007, LSU backed into the national title game with two losses. Afterwards, there was a large segment of fans that were there to say, "Yeah, but you would have lost to USC and Georgia."
This national title has no "yeah, but." There is no asterisk. There is no "what if." There are no naysayers.
LSU left no doubt. They beat everyone. The Tigers are the undefeated, undisputed champions of college football.
The only debate now is if this team is the greatest of all time.
The greatest teams I've ever seen in my three decades of watching college football were '95 Nebraska and 2001 Miami.
Is LSU better? That is something I don't know.
But there are three certainties that came out of LSU's national championship victory on Monday night: LSU just completed the greatest season in the history of the sport, this Tiger offense is the greatest of all time and Joe Burrow just had the greatest season a quarterback has ever had in the history of college football.
I don't know if this team is better than those great Corn Husker and Hurricane squads, but the impressiveness of what they accomplished throughout the season is not up for debate.
LSU is the first SEC team to ever go 15-0 and only the second team in college football history to finish with that mark.
Of the Tigers' 15 wins, seven of them came against AP top-10 teams--two more than any team in history. They beat five teams that finished in the AP top 8.
Most impressively, LSU beat all four of the teams that began the season in the AP top 10, and they beat them by an average margin of 21 points.
A big thanks should go to the College Football Playoff Selection Committee for dropping LSU out of the No. 1 spot during the season, and then explaining that it was because their defense wasn't any good.
LSU played five games after that. They won those games by an average score of 50-18.
No offense has ever been this dominant. They scored more points than any team in the history of college football.
They finished the year averaging 48 per game. They scored at least 42 in 12 of their 15 wins.
They faced Clemson's top-ranked defense and Georgia's second-ranked defense. They put up a combined 79 points against them.
No college team has ever had a 5,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard rusher and two 1,500-yard receivers. Until now.
And this season by Burrow will never be topped by another quarterback.
He set every major SEC passing record. He broke the NCAA single-season touchdown record with 60.
He won the Heisman, and most importantly, he won the national championship.
And when it mattered the most, he was at his best. In the semifinal, he threw for 493 yards and seven touchdowns. In the national title game against the top-ranked defense in the land, he threw for 463 yards and five more scores.
Not bad for a guy that never could start at Ohio State and was passed over by virtually every big-time program when he announced he was transferring. Not bad for a guy Nebraska scoffed at both times he wanted to sign there.
Not bad for a coach that was supposedly just a dumb Cajun that LSU "settled on."
Not bad for a two-star recruit like Justin Jefferson. Not bad for a guy like Lloyd Cushenberry, who was LSU's last signee back in 2016.
Not bad for a guy like Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who was passed over by so many programs because of his height.
They were all told they couldn't hack it. Now they just completed the greatest season in the history of college football. Now they're champions.