not old enough to remember why we were so bad.
It was bad. My first LSU game was the Miami of Ohio debacle
in 1986. A few years later I remember getting tickets to a daytime SEC game (Kentucky, maybe?). I was excited until we arrived at Tiger Stadium and found whole sets of free tickets just laying around--the memory of a set of 8 tickets spread out on top of a garbage can near the West entrance is burned in my mind.
IMO the decline traces back to Archer and Curley--and Joe Dean's unwillingness to hire a top-notch coach. I don't remember the specific numbers, but Curley's salary was not much more than a mid-level attorney. I do know DiNardo started with a whopping salary of $350K.
Semi-related: What is the real story on Curley's departure? I've always heard he was caught cheating on his wife--at least that was the rumor when I was at LSU in 1994.