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Gerald Herbert, Associated Press
LSU head coach Les Miles walks off the field after the BCS National Championship college football game against Alabama Monday, Jan. 9, 2012, in New Orleans. Alabama won 21-0.

NEW ORLEANS — One of LSU's finest seasons ended with a lopsided loss that left coach Les Miles talking about how much he and his players were hurting.

The 2011 season will be remembered as one in which LSU overcame early distractions to get within one win of going down as one of the greatest college football teams of all time.

It ended with a stunning 21-0 loss to Alabama, which also marked the first time in nearly a decade that the Tigers had been shutout.

Miles and his players have vowed to make the game a learning experience. Many of the key players on the 2011 team that went 13-1 will be back in 2012 with every expectation of returning to the BCS championship game.