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Saturday, September 30, 2006

Matt Flynn a gambler's nightmare

LSU was favored by 31.5 points against Mississippi State today. Now don't take the .5 so lightly ... just ask LSU quarterback Matt Flynn. Flynn came in during the second half, with a 35-3 lead, and promptly threw a pick-6 to bring the Bulldogs within the point spread. But never fear Tigers Boosters and purple and gold bettors. LSU scored in the waning moments of the contest at Tiger Stadium to apparently cover the spread. However, Mr. Flynn dropped the snap on the extra point. FINAL SCORE: LSU 48, MISS ST. 17. That's right, a 31-point victory. Take my word, I stopped betting on college football, and didn't have a dollar on this game, but thousands of people down south would like a piece of No. 15 right now. Coincidence?

DeAngelo Benton update

LSU fans ... I think the jury is still out on DeAngelo Benton, Bastrop's star wide receiver who has verbally committed to the Tigers. Benton didn't show me much Friday night against Ruston. Three catches for 40 yards aren't going to get it done -- not a 6-foot-3. He dropped a sure touchdown when he got a case of alligator arms. His most pressing problem seems to be going for passes aggressively. Several times Friday he had a defender beat, but didn't go after the ball, giving the defender that extra second to either make the play or tackle Benton for a short gain. I'm sure Les Miles and the gang will work on Benton's aggressiveness.

Beating a dead horse

OK, where are you Matt Flynn fans?

If there was any question about the LSU starting quarterback position then they should have been answered Saturday.

Russell was brilliant in passing for more than 300 yards and getting the Tigers out to an early 35-0 lead on their way to a 48-17 win over Mississippi State.

And Flynn? He looked like a quality backup.

Again, the LSU coaches know what they're doing, people.They're not playing one guy over another because they like him. They're playing the best people. Period.

Friday, September 29, 2006


I have not thought this in years. No, make that, in more than a decade.
The New Orleans Saints are a bigger story than LSU football. The buzz in south Louisiana, the Gulf Coast and beyond is the Saints. The Saints' 23-3 win over Atlanta on Monday Night Football, which was only a part of the broadcast, broke the ESPN ratings record with an 11.8 rating, or nearly 11 million homes.
The LSU-Mississippi State game Saturday at 11:30 a.m. will draw a minute fraction of that. LSU players and coaches have been talking about the Saints this week. The Saints have not been talking about LSU. The Saints have had more buzz than LSU for weeks, particularly after LSU lost 7-3 to Auburn on Sept. 16 and made a good Auburn defense look like a great one with bad play calling.
The last time LSU was second fiddle in this state for a prolonged period of time had to be way back in 1993. In 2000, the Saints won their first playoff game ever and finished 11-7 after going 3-13 the year before, but that team did not have the pizazz that this one has. LSU was also very hot in 2000 as it was coach Nick Saban's first year. The Tigers went 8-4 after a 3-8 season the year before and knocked off No. 11 Tennessee 38-31 in overtime on ESPN and beat Mississippi State 45-38 in overtime on ESPN2. So that year was probably a draw.
Before that, both teams were horrible in 1998 and 1999, and LSU easily held the upper hand from 1995 through 1997 as coach Gerry DiNardo went to three straight bowls and reversed six straight losing seasons. The Saints had losing or break-even seasons from 1993 through 1999 with a 3-13 mark in 1996 and 6-10 campaigns in 1997 and 1998.
So, one would have to go all the way back to 1992 to find the Saints as the lead sports story in the state. The Saints went 12-4 that season after winning the NFC West in 1991 with an 11-5 mark. LSU, meanwhile, was in its dark ages under Curley Hallman.
The Saints are just more fun to watch this year with tailback Reggie Bush, who could run from one corner to another before an LSU back can turn a corner. Drew Brees is everything the LSU fans think Matt Flynn is, but Flynn is not. Brees is a heady, smart, cool quarterback without a strong arm who knows how to win and plays more consistently than the strong-armed JaMarcus Russell of LSU.
The Saints' offense is a crisp, rhythmic study in execution. LSU's offense is talented, but its coaches have not decided what they want to do yet. They can't even decide who their tailback is.
LSU's defense is easily the best part of this team, and it is clearly better than the Saints' defense. But LSU's defense cannot alone win at Florida and at Tennessee.
The other reason the Saints are more interesting this year is because the NFL does not have any breather weeks. It does not have armageddon weeks as in college football, but the Saints will never play the equivalent of LSU opponents like Tulane, Mississippi State, Kentucky and Ole Miss.
The NFL has a long season, and the Saints still might end up being an 8-8-type team. So if LSU wants to return to being the best football story in the state, it will have to win at Florida and at Tennessee. And it will have to score more than three points to do it.
The Florida game is a week away. Until then, enjoy the Saints. Oh, I almost forgot. With the Astros strong following in Louisiana and their record breaking run onto the threshold of the playoffs, LSU might be third by next week.


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Little buzz

It's hard to remember an SEC game with as little buzz as this week's LSU-State game.

Maybe it's the different directions the teams appear to be going. Maybe it's the Florida game on the horizon for LSU.

But it's hard to imagine less buildup for an SEC game than this week.

That being said, next week figures to be the exact opposite.

While Urban Meyer is no Steve Spurrier, LSU fans still get up for Florida. And the Gators are certainly aware of LSU.

Maybe this is a hurry-up-and-wait week.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

On the other foot?

In the 1990s, LSU fans lamented having Florida as a permanent opponent in football from the SEC's Eastern Division.

With back-to-back wins and three wins in the last four games, LSU may be getting the upper hand in the series with Florida.

"I understand we have LSU every year,'' Florida coach Urban Meyer said on the SEC Teleconference Wednesday. "A few years ago that wasn't a problem, but they're a heck of a football team. They've recruited well.''

LSU has a ways to go to match Steve Spurrier's dominance in the 1990s. But a win on Oct. 7 in The Swamp might signal a change in the balance of power in this series.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Giving the D-Line its due

One of the neat things about keeping old football magazines around the office is to look back and see what people were thinking in the preseason.

In the case of the LSU defensive line: What were people thinking?

I'm looking at Lindy's top 10 defensive lines nationally. I see Florida at No. 3, Arkansas (Arkansas?) at No. 6 and Georgia at No. 9. Three SEC teams in the top 10 but no LSU.

Then I turn to Athlon's and see Florida at No. 6 and that's it for the SEC.

Do you think these magazines would want a do over about now?

Let's take a look at what the LSU defensive line has done this season. The Tigers have played four games, in three of those games an LSU defensive lineman has been chosen the SEC's defensive lineman of the week.

Glen Dorsey has won two of the awards. Chase Pittman won this week's award.

And let's not forget, Tyson Jackson has knocked out two quarterbacks in four games this year.

I don't know where LSU's defensive line ranks nationally. But I do know this: For one month of college football, they've been pretty salty.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Out of the shadows?

Everyone knows Dwayne Bowe. And Early Doucet was one of the nation's top prospects coming out of St. Martinville High School.

But Craig "Buster'' Davis is beginning to come into his own this season as a wide receiver.

"He played one of his stronger games (against Tulane) with the opportunities catching the ball and without,'' LSU coach Les Miles said today.

Miles lauded Davis for his "intensity from start to finish.''

Davis' ability to block could be as important as his ability to catch the football. Downfield blocking can be the difference between a modest gain and a big play.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Hogs win Independence Bowl qualifier

No one is expecting a whole lot from the little sisters of the SEC West, but Arkansas is already showing more than I thought they had in them with today's double OT win over Alabama. If you play the looking ahead on the schedule game, you can see the Hogs crossing the finish line with seven victories.

Alabama has left itself with little room for comfort. It's home games for the rest of the season are against Duke, Ole Miss, Florida International and Miss. St. The road schedule has nothing but trouble written all over it, Florida, Tennessee, LSU and Auburn.

Oh, what a savior that 12th game has really become for the former powers of college football.

Georgia benefits from great scheduling

So the Bulldogs never did get its act together, but facing the "find-a-way-to-lose" Buffaloes, Georgia's unbeaten record remains intact with a 14-13 win in the final minute. Even in its final winning drive, the Bulldogs lacked the look of a composed team as poor play calling and lousy line play almost cost UGA as embarrassing a defeat as they could have suffered in some time.

Tape time is going to be pain time when Coach Mark Richt reviews this game with his players next week ... if he evens waits that long.

Georgia getting its leash yanked!

Clearly, the Georgia Bulldogs have come into its game with Big 12 whipping post Colorado completely unmotivated and unwilling to put up much of a fight through the first half. However, should Colorado hang on to hang a huge upset on the Bulldogs, you would have to concede that the SEC is very top heavy this season with Auburn and LSU the clear leaders in the clubhouse.

LSU is still in a great position to find itself in a BCS bowl among the current roster of one-loss teams in the nation. Suddenly, LSU's road schedule doesn't seem as daunting as it did at the start of the season ... sorry, Florida, you're still not impressing anyone.

ESPN's Notre Dame-LSU Sugar Bowl still looks as sweet as it did in Week One.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Still waiting

We always hear about what a great boost a Final Four trip is to basketball recruiting.

Well, we're still waiting.

LSU signed exactly ZERO players last year. (To be fair, they are adding a pair of transfers).

But now comes news that LSU has backed off point guard Jai Lucas, a top-50 point guard out of Houston.

Lucas told Scout.com's Dave Telep that he's no longer considering the Tigers.

"I guess they wanted to go a different direction,'' Lucas said. "We haven't talked to them and they haven't been in for a visit. I really liked them but they stopped calling.''

Fine, then LSU better have a better point guard coming in that what they would have had with Lucas. Otherwise, you have to wonder what's going on at LSU.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Recruiting update

Scout.com is expected to unveil its recruiting rankings in the next two weeks. But the Internet Web site sent out a sneak peak today.

One thing stands out - it's not who is in the rankings that should concern LSU fans the most, it's who is not in the rankings.

That's right, you won't find the LSU Tigers in Scout.com's early recruiting top 10.

Texas is No. 1 and USC is No. 2. Gee, that's a surprise.

Among SEC schools, you'll find Florida at No. 4, Georgia at No. 7 and Ole Miss at No. 10.

Before you start dissing Jamie Newberg and the folks at Scout.com, realize this, those recruiting rankings ARE IMPORTANT. They do give you a good gauge of what kind of talent is being brought in to a program.

There is still a long time before signing day, but a class outside of the top 10 - in Les Miles' third recruiting class at LSU - would not be a good sign. It could even signal slippage in a program that has been at or near the elite level for the better part of the last five or six years.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Quarterback again

I figured it would take one loss to rear the ugly quarterback question up again and it did. Just got a letter to the editor begging for Matt Flynn to play.

Look, JaMarcus Russell didn't have his best game. He probably didn't make his best decisions in the final minute of the Auburn game.

But LSU isn't even close to scoring at the end of the game if Flynn is in there. That's no knock on Flynn, but Russell's arm strength alone gave LSU its best shot at that point in the game.

Now, if Ryan Perrilloux had a little more experience, it would have been interesting to see what his mobility could do against a fast Auburn defense.

Still, only in the rarest of cases is the best quarterback not on the field. Just ask the Miami fans who wanted Brock Berlin benched in favor of Kyle Wright if the coaches knew what they were doing by playing Berlin instead of Wright?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Time to move on

Well, it appears Oklahoma holds a slight lead over LSU in whining about the officiating in last weekend's games.

Oklahoma fired its first shot -- and it was a good one -- on Monday when the school president, David Boren, started talking crazy about getting the Sooners' loss to Oregon stricken from the record book because of a couple of bad calls late.

LSU answered with coach Les Miles disagreeing with the SEC's assessment of a pass interference call against Auburn late in the fourth quarter that was picked up by the officials.

Give OU a big edge there.

OU came back on Tuesday and threatened not to return a trip to Washington if the Pac-10 doesn't change its policy toward having Pac-10 refs at Pac-10 home games in nonconference.

LSU answered with AD Skip Bertman respectfully disagreeing with the SEC's stance. Again, an edge to OU in the whining department.

Look, in both cases, the officials were part of the story. No one wants the officials to be part of the story. But Oklahoma and LSU both still had chances to win and both didn't.

Here we are in the middle of the week still talking about this mess.

It's time for LSU - and Oklahoma - to move on to the rest of the season.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Random thoughts on LSU-Auburn

Let's see, the last two trips to Auburn have resulted in LSU losses with controversial calls from the officials.

Officials, aside, if you don't get in the end zone, you're not going to win many games. LSU failed to get in the end zone on Saturday.

LSU's running game bit the Tigers in the rear end on Saturday. A 1.8 yards per carry averge isn't going to get it done, especially at Auburn.

This LSU defense is looking as good as the 2003 defense. Not saying they are, but they certainly look dominant.

The national championship picture doesn't look real good for the Tigers even though they are still hovering around the top 10. The problem is Ohio State and Auburn look like they could run the table giving the BCS its desired 1 vs. 2 matchup the same way it happened last year with Texas and USC.

Saturday, September 16, 2006


The trend says Auburn will win. No team in this series has won back-to-back games since the Alabama Tigers did it in 1999 and 2000.
Home-field advantage is as important in the SEC as any other conference.
Therefore, I am going to pick LSU.
Please don't call me a homer, I'm not from Louisiana, I don't have anything against the Bayou Bengals, but don't have a rooting interest.
That being said, I have a funny feeling LSU will be able to stop Kenny Irons from having another 218-yard effort. In fact, the LSU defense could come up surprisingly strong in enemy territory.
LSU could have some trouble running the ball, but Jamarcus Russell is more than capable of picking up the slack.
The past few meetings, score-wise, have been defensive struggles and today might not be a whole lot different.
LSU 24-17

Friday, September 15, 2006


This Auburn-LSU game Saturday better be good. I feel as if I have already played in such a huge game. There is something that all sportswriters dread. THE TAB! It's those special football sections that come out every August that you folks gobble up like batteries when a hurricane's in the Gulf.
Previewing this Auburn-LSU game has been like working on THE TAB.
It has reminded me of the build-up for my first Alabama-Auburn game back in 1993. This game is not that big yet, but it's getting there. There are so many stories, so many angles. On Thursday, I was wishing for another day. But I think I got everything in.
The reason there are so many stories in, around and behind this game is because the players love games like this, and they like talking about it to reporters.
LSU left guard Will Arnold seemed like a completely new person on Monday. He wouldn't shut up. Auburn's players have been the same way. Players from both sides have enjoyed talking about this game so much, they're calling one another. LSU receiver Dwayne Bowe and Auburn cornerback David Irons are friends and have been talking all week.
On Tuesday after LSU's practice, Times Picayune writer Ted Lewis was interviewing Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp on the phone while LSU free safety LaRon Landry was being interviewed. Muschamp used to coach Landry when he was LSU's defensive coordinator.
"Hey LaRon," Lewis said to Landry, interrupting my interview. "Someone wants to talk to you."
Landry and Muschamp talked for a few minutes.
It's been an interesting week. The LSU-Auburn series is one of the friendliest in the nation. It's also one of the best. There have been spectacular offensive games. In 1997, LSU's Cecil Collins and Auburn's Dameyune Craig put on a show. There have been great defensive games, which was the case in 2004. There have been many just flat strange games, and they all have nicknames. I've been on both sides of it, having covered Alabama and Auburn at the Mobile, Ala., paper from 1993-98.
But enough talk.
Kick that dang thing off.
But there's no sense stopping the talk of the game just because it kicks off.
Send your comments about the game during the game to me at:
I'll be responding from the pressbox beginning at halftime and throughout the game.


Talking hoops

So I'm looking at Athlon's college basketball magazine and I have one question: What are these people thinking?

The magazine picks Florida to win the SEC East. With five starters back from a national championship team that is really going out on a limb, but you would be foolish not to pick the Gators in the East.

In the West, though, you might think LSU would be the pick. The Tigers did win the West and the SEC regular season title last year. Their only significant player losses were guard Darrel Mitchell and forward Tyrus Thomas. Yet Alabama is the magazine's pick in the West.

Now, Alabama may win the SEC West. The Crimson Tide certainly has enough talent. Although they were talented last year and didn't win it.

But if a Final Four team returns the SEC Player of the Year and has experienced players (Tack Minor, Magnum Rolle and Darnell Lazare) to replace Mitchell and Thomas, then don't you think a safer pick would be the team that has done it before?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Just between friends

If you think Saturday's game between LSU and Auburn is between mortal enemies, then think again.

Columbus Ledger-Enquirer sports writer Troy Johnson writes http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/mld/ledgerenquirer/sports/15504640.htm of a friendship between a couple of LSU's players and Auburn's Kenny Irons and David Irons.

Of course, those friendships will be put aside for three hours on a Saturday afternoon. But such friendships serve as a reminder to overzealous fans that it still is a game played between college kids and sometimes even college friends.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Arizona wants no part of LSU in future

For all of their pregame bravado, the Arizona Wildcats are talking a different game after losing 45-3 at LSU last weekend.

And if Arizona coach Mike Stoops has his way (http://www.tucsoncitizen.com/daily/sports/25895.php), the Wildcats made their last trip to Baton Rouge for awhile.

Stoops' stand is certainly understandable.His team has won six games in the last two seasons. LSU, at least since Nick Saban arrived in 2000, has been a dependable top-25 and in some cases, top-10 team.

It is just interesting to see the change in attitude after Saturday's game.

As an aside, you may notice that both the LSU and Auburn players and coaches have taken the high road this week. Neither team has anything to prove to the other.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Recruiting work ahead

There is good news and bad news on the recruiting front in regards to wide receiver Terrance Toliver of Hempstead, Texas.

Scout.com is reporting Tolliver has narrowed his list of schools to five and LSU is among the five schools. That is the good news for LSU and Tiger fans.

The bad news - it appears Florida and USC are the leaders for the signature of Toliver, ranked as the No. 3 receiver in the country by Scout.com.

Toliver says Florida is recruiting him the hardest. He also likes USC because the Trojans are in the national championship hunt seemingly every year. Oklahoma, LSU and Miami round out his top five.

If LSU could somehow land Toliver, then it would soften the loss of Sterlington wide receiver Ahmad Paige who committed to Florida State last week.

The significance of Paige's commitment could be in the return of FSU as a player in the Louisiana recruiting scene.

Whether you like Nick Saban or not, the former LSU coach all but kept the Seminoles out of the state during his tenure. And it's no coincidence the Tigers began winning big when the border was sealed.

Monday, September 11, 2006

More Random Thoughts

Take this from someone who doesn't drink the purple Kool-Aid, LSU looks awfully darn salty. Coordinators Jimbo Fisher and Bo Pelini have their units playing at midseason form. However, LSU can't keep turning over the ball.

As tough as both LSU and Auburn are on defense, it wouldn't surprise me to see the first team to reach 10 points win.

I can't help but think Tennessee isn't much better this year than last. If so, how bad is the trendy pick of California to rise up and challenge USC?

Is it that Ohio State's defense is better than advertised or is the Texas offense worse than we thought? I've got to give it up to the Buckeye defense. There just isn't anyone left on Ohio State's schedule that can stop them. Therefore, who will the Buckeyes face for the title?

Right now, one has to go with either USC or Notre Dame. Why not West Virginia, LSU or Auburn? Because they have conference championship games to contend with whereas the Trojans and Irish only need to face off against each other.

Reggie Bush didn't have that "Jordan moment," but it was still a solid effort in a rookie's first game. Meanwhile, Joseph Addai averaged more yards per carry (3.7 vs. 1.8) than Dominic Rhodes against one stingy N.Y. Giants defense. Expect Addai to take the starting role by Week 4 and have a breakout game against the N.Y. Jets.

Joe Posnanski of the Kansas City Star on Eddie Kennison: "Kennison is 33 and on his one deep pass Sunday the defensive back covered him so closely you would have sworn they were wearing the same pants."

OUCH! And you thought Trent Green got slobberknocked!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Game of the Century Again

Remember when the Florida State-Miami game was the biggest early season matchup of the season? Remember when it was Florida-Tennessee? Remember when it was Texas-Ohio State?
Move aside. Those pairings are just not as good as they used to be.

The big one is Saturday. Auburn versus LSU at 2:30 p.m. on CBS from Auburn. Both are in the top 10. Both are undefeated.

There has not been a better pairing this season between two teams who are as talented and at the top of their games. Neither may be as good as Ohio State, but both together are better than Ohio State and Texas together. Auburn and LSU will definitely provide a better game than Ohio State and Texas, which fell 24-7 to the Buckeyes.

Neither LSU nor Auburn has played a very good team yet, but each have played about as well as a team can play this early in the season. Each team has a very good defense. Each team has very good quarterbacks. Each team has speed.

Each team has dismissed a Pac-10 team like it was a Sun Belt team. Combined LSU and Auburn beat Arizona and Washington State 95-17. Both games were a day on a California beach.

Each team will venture into Saturday healthy and refreshed. Each has barely broken up a sweat while gaining a combined 1,802 yards (930 by LSU, 872 by Auburn) and holding opponents to 763 yards (328 by LSU and 435 by Auburn).

Five of the last six of these games has decided the SEC West winner. The last two games have been decided by four points. LSU won in 2003 and won the national championship. Auburn won in 2004, finished undefeated and should have played for the national championship. LSU won last year, but everyone said Auburn was better. LSU lucked out when John Vaughn missed 5-of-6 field goals, but Auburn lucked out the year before on a cheap call that allowed it to get another chance to kick the winning extra point.

It will come down to a couple of points this year, too. This is only the second time beginning in 1990 that this game is the CBS national game, but it is also the second LSU-Auburn game on CBS in three years. It needs to be an annual thing.

LSU and Auburn are the two best teams in the SEC this year and long term they probably have the best two programs.

Saturday, September 09, 2006


Random thoughts about LSU-Arizona:

When will people quit throwing on Jonathan Zenon's side? That's two picks for touchdowns in the last two weeks.

Jacob Hester is a football player. He can catch the ball. He can run the ball. He can block. A versatile football player is always good to have.

It's hard not to get sloppy when a game starts getting out of hand early. Still, two turnovers in the first two quarters won't cut it against Auburn next week.

Alley Broussard is a weapon - fumble -- and all.

Now that it is over let me just say something I wrote for a preseason football section - Why all the love for Arizona from the national media? This is a team that has won all of six games in the last two seasons.

Somehow I don't think the score next week is going to be 45-3 for the third straight week.

Friday, September 08, 2006

For what it's worth

The folks at Yahoo have compiled a list of their most searched college football teams on the Internet.

The No. 1-ranked team should surprise no one. It's Notre Dame, of course. Ohio State is ranked No. 2 and really that shouldn't be a surprise seeing as how the team is ranked No. 1 in the polls. That stirs even the casual Buckeyes fan.

Texas is No. 3 followed by USC and Penn State.

So there is the top five with no SEC teams in the mix.

But at No. 6 is the first SEC team in the rankings.

If you guessed Florida because of the size of the fan base and the state you would be - wrong.

If you guessed Tennessee because of the size of the fan base, you would be - wrong.

Nope, No. 6 is Georgia followed by Alabama at No. 7.

Where does LSU fit in all of this? The Tigers are No. 10 as the most-searched college football team on the Web.

But cheer up Tiger fans, you search for your team more than Florida, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Florida State fans.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Best of the best

The Sporting News rated its top 101 NFL players in this week's issue. The magazine's listings aren't very kind to LSU.

In fact, LSU places just two players - both offensive linemen - in the NFL's top 101 players. Center Kevin Mawae of the Tennessee Titans is ranked No. 83. Alan Faneca, the Pittsburgh Steelers' perennial Pro Bowl guard, comes in at No. 41.

What to make of this list?

Well, considering neither Mawae nor Faneca played in the Nick Saban era there are two schools of thought. One, Saban's players haven't played long enough in the league to be considered among the truly elite. Or two, Saban was even a better coach than previously thought.

Will that list change in the future? You'd like to think more LSU players would climb into the top 101. If not, then Saban may have been winning with talent not quite as good as was previously thought.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Antonio, we hardly knew you

Say goodbye to running back Antonio Robinson.

Actually, many LSU fans never said hello to Robinson. He's a redshirt freshman running back who, obviously, is a good reader of the depth chart. Robinson left the team on Wednesday with plans to transfer to another school where he'll have more playing opportunities.

This isn't all that unusual, especially when you get in the upper echelon of college football.

It's survival of the fittest on the depth chart - and with Charles Scott having already passed him as a true freshman, well, Robinson could read the writing on the wall.

So best wishes to Antonio Robinson is his next endeavor. As for LSU, running backs are a dime a dozen.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Remember me?

If you're a recruiting junkie, then this is the week you'll think about what could have been.

Arizona comes to Baton Rouge to play LSU on Saturday. And the Wildcats' defensive line is anchored by a man the Tigers wanted bad last year - end Louis Holmes.

Holmes took an unofficial visit to LSU in the summer of 2005. He followed with a visit during the Arkansas weekend.

But former LSU assistant Karl Dunbar was unable to reel in Holmes. Though, he had some pretty elite company in coming up short - USC and Ohio State also missed out on Holmes.

So what are the Tigers missing? Apparently a lot.

"He had two sacks, a batted ball and caused a fumble (in the opener),'' Arizona coach Mike Stoops said today. "That's pretty productive. That's a guy that had production numbers that were really solid for a first game.

"He played really, really well. He's a very good football player and he's only getting better and better as he gets in the system and more comfortable. There are some things he needs to work on, but playing his first major college game, I thought he performed very, very well.''

Holmes will be a man LSU will have to keep an eye on Saturday. For LSU fans, it'll be bittersweet thinking about what could have been.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Honey, I shrunk the football game

The effects of college football's new rules to lop off some of the game times didn't seem to be working all that well - at least from in front of the television. The Arkansas-USC game lasted three hours and 35 minutes. And it seemed longer than that.

But then, there is LSU.

A year ago, the Tigers opened with a 3:39 marathon at Arizona State. That game was televised nationally.

This year, with the game on TigerVision and new rules in place, LSU and ULL played in a mere 2:46. Now, I wasn't a math major but that game took nearly an hour less to be played.

A good thing right?

Well, not if you're Les Miles.

At his weekly news conference on Monday, Miles expressed his displeasure with the rules changes. They cut off about 20 total plays, Miles said.

But Miles also makes some very good points.

One, point totals will go down this year because of the shrinking number of offensive plays run by a team.

Think about it, how many teams hung 70 on an opponent over the weekend?

"The defenses will allow less points,'' Miles said. "There'll be record defenses all across the country.''

And the offenses? "You have to be more efficient in your offense, period.''

At least one Division I coach told me he doesn't expect the rule to be in place after this season.

Personally, I'm in favor of a shorter game. But the powers that be won't do the right thing and cut the cause of the longer game - the extended television timeouts.

Impressive Opening

Louisiana-Lafayette was totally outmatched by LSU in a 45-3 loss Saturday night to LSU and ULL is from probably the weakest I-A conference in the nation.
But do not be afraid to be impressed by what the Tigers have this season. The game reminded me of LSU's easy win at Arizona in 2003. It was a terrible Arizona team from a usually bottom-weak Pac-10 conference, but LSU displayed so much talent and speed on the field that some Arizona writers said LSU looked better than the two teams that had just played there months before for the national title - Miami and Ohio State.
This ULL team could have probably beat that Arizona team.
The 2006 Arizona team will be much better than it was three years ago and much better than ULL, but I don't see LSU having much of a problem Saturday.
Offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher is directing an NFL-type passing game that will do damage throughout this season. LSU needs to run the ball better than it did against the Cajuns. It doesn't matter how many people opponents put in the box, a team still has to be able to run at times.
LSU's coaches should realize now if they haven't already, though, that the Tigers are not going to set the world on fire with the rushing attack, so focus on the passing game. Look out, LSU could be a Pac-10 team this season. And not a moment too soon with an improving Arizona program coming to town.


Friday, September 01, 2006

LSU is off to the Sugar Bowl ... so says ESPN

OK, it is ridiculous to be making bowl projections prior to the start of the college football season, but that doesn't stop ESPN from taking a stab at it or me from looking in.

Sorry Tiger fanatics, but LSU will not make it to the BCS Championship Game. ESPN has given you all a great parting gift, hosting Notre Dame at the Sugar Bowl.

If not for the national championship, I'd take that over anything else.

There is one SEC school ESPN predicts will make the BCS title game, Mark Schlabach says it will be Auburn and Ohio State on Jan. 8. Of the BCS bowls, only LSU represents the SEC, a slap in the face of whoever comes out of the SEC East.

Looking further down the bowl hierarchy, ESPN likes Georgia to face Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl (nice), Florida to face Michigan in the Capitol One (yawn), Iowa and Tennessee would face off in the Outback (welcome back, Vols!), Arkansas and V-Tech in the Chick-fil-A (not likely), UCF meets Alabama at the Liberty Bowl (would Bama even show?), Spurrier's crew would face Georgia Tech for the Music City Bowl (Spurrier is no longer Mr. January), and finally, Ole Miss and Missouri face off in the Independence Bowl (hello, Petro!).

Like I said, LSU could do so much worse than Notre Dame in New Orleans.

Recruiting tidbit

LSU coach Les Miles and his staff may have some work ahead of them with West Monroe's Will Blackwell.

Scout.com reports Blackwell's leader is Notre Dame with LSU, Alabama, Florida and Texas A&M also in consideration. Blackwell is one of the top line prospects in the country and several recruiters debate whether his future is on the offensive line or defensive line.

Losing Blackewll would be a huge hit for LSU and also quite a coup for Notre Dame.

There is still a long way to go before signing day but keep an eye on Blackwell's situation.