They met the President. They paraded to the statue of Governor Huey Long at the State Capitol. More important, they kept their coach, who signed another top-ranked recruiting class.
So what can the LSU Tigers do for an encore? Win it again. "Oh yeah, it would be amazing if we do it again," said junior receiver Skyler Green. "If we do that again, there's no telling what could happen in Baton Rouge. They might let Mike the Tiger out of his cage to walk around."
LSU kept a cage around coach Nick Saban, who turned down an offer to be the Chicago Bears' coach in January that would have paid him more than the $2.6 million per year contract he later received from LSU.
But it did lose the heart of its defense, which was the team's heart, in senior defensive tackle Chad Lavalais, a first team All-America selection. And the offense will be without quarterback Matt Mauck and starting receivers Michael Clayton and Devery Henderson.
The Tigers do, however, return the nucleus of their offensive line, emerging tailback Justin Vincent and a host of youthful receivers waiting for a chance.
OffenseLSU is looking for a quarterback. And Saban doesn't want to talk about it.
"It's going to happen on the field," Saban said. "It's not going to happen based on the questions the media asks or the controversy that you try to create, because there's not going to be one."
Competing on the field since the spring and expected to continue through the early part of the season are senior Marcus Randall of Baton Rouge and highly touted redshirt freshmen JaMarcus Russell of Mobile, Ala., and Matt Flynn of Tyler, Texas.
Randall is the incumbent, but more like a lieutenant governor. He started six games in 2002 with mixed results when starter Matt Mauck got hurt. But he does know a complicated system very well.
Russell, who looks like a defensive end at 6-foot-5 and 236 pounds, is one of the most high-profile quarterback signees at LSU in many years. Flynn is not as talented as Russell and comes from a conservative attack, but he has been able to keep pace.
Randall entered and exited spring drills as the starter, but not with a glowing recommendation. "Somebody's got to line up first," Saban said.
Whoever wins the race will be surrounded by tremendous talent. LSU's offensive line returns three starters and a few players who could have been starting at other schools. Tailback is so loaded with Vincent and Co. that Saban moved last year's opening-day starter, Joseph Addai, to receiver. Green leads a young but very talented receiving corps.
DefenseTwo starters -- Lavalais and Marquise Hill -- are gone from what was probably the best line in the nation. But it was the secondary, with excellent cover corners Corey Webster and Travis Daniels, that was the secret to LSU finishing No. 1 in the nation in points allowed (11.0 per game) and No. 1 in fewest yards allowed (252 yards per game).
Webster and Daniels are back for their senior seasons, and LaRon Landry at safety is also back. There is lots of talent and depth here with more on the way. Saban turned down the Bears to stay at LSU, but he can still play NFL blitz ball with his secondary.
Defensive end Marcus Spears turned down the NFL, too, to stay for his senior year, and talent remains on the line despite the losses.
LSU's linebackers benefited from great players around them last season. The position will have more talent with Ali Highsmith, a former Miami signee, and redshirt freshmen Darius Ingram and Dominic Cooper.
SpecialistsIf LSU runs out of players at linebacker or safety, redshirt freshman punter Patrick Fisher could help. He's 6-5 and 224 pounds and averaged 48 yards per punt in high school. Chris Jackson and Ryan Gaudet have done well sharing the place-kicking duties. Return men Green and Shyrone Carey are very dangerous.
Final AnalysisLSU is loaded throughout its roster, but many key positions are filled with young players, not the least of which is quarterback. The Tigers' defense will have to be as good or better than it was last season, and the offensive line and running game may have to carry the team until the quarterback and receivers solidify.
LSU is in peculiar territory. It hasn't had to follow a national title in 46 years -- unless you're talking baseball or track.