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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Decision time nears for Saban

It is interesting hearing the national pundits' take on Nick Saban.

With the Palm Beach (Fla.) Post reporting Alabama to make a run at Saban next week with millions - and we mean millions - of dollars, a decision could be soon.

ESPN's John Clayton thinks he'll stay with the Dolphins. Another ESPN reporter has Alabama coaches telling him Saban will be named head coach next week.

This will be a test of character for Saban - Does he go for the money or does he stay for the challenge? His integrity is also on the line after his infamous "I won't be the coach at Alabama'' statement.

We shall see.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

What I meant was ...

Here's the scary thing for LSU fans about Wednesday's Sugar Bowl: LSU's players have heard for a month now how much faster they are than Notre Dame.

"I won't say they're slow,'' LSU wide receiver Dwayne Bowe told reporters today. "They're big up front. But welcome to the SEC. We're much faster. They're a good group of guys. They're very sound, very fundamental, we just have to go out there and execute like we do on the practice field."

That's a back-handed compliment. And it's also one that could haunt LSU on Wednesday.

Remember, speed is only good when you use it. Xavier Carter is one of the fastest men on the planet but LSU never really utilized him.

All this talk of speed makes you wonder if LSU isn't slowly becoming overconfident.

As bad as Notre Dame looked in its two losses, this is still Notre Dame.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Saban to the Rescue

Nick Saban to the Rescue?

I’ll never forget descending the I-10 exit ramp onto Poydras on Jan. 1, 1993, and seeing a sea of crimson around the Louisiana Superdome as a huge speaker system blasted out, “Sweet Home Alabama.”

"Man,", I said to myself, it would be great to cover a real football program. I covered LSU at the time for the Alexandria Town Talk, and the Tigers were coming off their worst year in football ever at 2-9 and 1-7 in the Southeastern Conference. That was their fourth straight losing season with two more to go. Their coach was from Alabama, but his name was Curley and they played like the Three Stooges.

That night Alabama upset and embarrassed No. 1 and extremely cocky Miami 34-13 in the Sugar Bowl to finish 13-0 and win its first national championship of the post Bear era. Early in the game before the red storm, a Miami writer mocked Alabama’s old fashioned offense by saying sarcastically, “Boy, they really spread the field.”

Miami was the modern team with the fancy offense, and it received an old fashioned butt kicking by a team seemingly in leather helmets and void of chin straps and forward passes.

These were bold red times at Alabama – the best post Bear run ever. It was truly a national program. It was the king of the SEC. Florida had not quite taken over yet. Alabama owned Tennessee, Auburn, LSU and everyone else. And if you closed your eyes, you would’ve sworn coach Gene Stallings was Bear Bryant.

Eight months after that game, I left the Town Talk to cover Alabama for the Mobile (Ala.) Register. For the first time in four years, I covered games that actually meant something. There were always a few national writers around. I felt like I’d gone from rookie ball to the bigs.

From 1991 through 1994, Alabama was 45-5 with three SEC West titles, one SEC championship and one national championship. While on the beat in 1993 and 1994, Alabama was 21-4, including a 12-1 mark in 1994 with the only blemish a one-point loss to Florida in the SEC championship game. LSU was 9-13 over those two years. Alabama also went to something over the holidays I was not familiar with - a bowl. I felt sorry for my sportswriter friends still in Louisiana. So I sent them bowl postcards from Florida.

In only 12 years since then, it’s amazing how Alabama and LSU have switched universes. Alabama just left that Motel 6 in Shreveport, where it lost the Independence Bowl, which used to own LSU.

LSU is in its third Sugar Bowl this decade and will play Notre Dame on Wednesday – nearly three years to the day it won the national championship. Alabama has not played in the Sugar Bowl since that feverish night in 1993. LSU has had seven straight winning seasons and an unprecedented four straight wins over Alabama. After that 1994 season, the Crimson Tide went on the first of two NCAA probations and has had four losing seasons beginning in 1997, including two in the last four years. The probation has not hurt as bad as did the poor coaching hires of Mike DuBose and Mike Shula.

When Alabama hires its next head coach, he will be the school’s fifth since Stallings left after the 1996 season.

Alabama is now a red-faced embarrassment, based on what it was. It is the most ridiculed big time program in the country. Two coaches – Dubose and Mike Price – were let go over a three-year span partly for sexual indiscretions. Shula installed a clean image and some badly needed class to the program along with a 10-2 season in 2005, but he should never have been hired. He was fired after going 6-6 this season.

An ESPN announcer said Friday, “Maybe Joe Kines (Alabama’s interim head coach) will take the job. No one else wants it.”

Just about everybody in the SEC owns Alabama now. Even Mississippi State beat the Tide last season. Alabama has had to resort to bullying around tiny UAB, which wanted to hire offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher from LSU. But Paul Bryant Jr., who sits on the board that governs both Alabama and UAB, would not allow it. He thought Fisher was too good.

There is a cure for Alabama out there. His name is Nick Saban. On numerous occasions, Saban has said he doesn’t want the job. But the story will not go away. There is talk that Saban is unhappy as the NFL Miami Dolphins coach. He is suffering through the first losing season of his head coaching career. Some at LSU who were close to Saban when he was at LSU actually think he will take the Alabama job.

Saban could unquestionably do the job and restore Alabama to its classic crimson ways of the pre-probation 1990s. He could recruit Alabama, Florida and Louisiana. He could beat Auburn, Tennessee and LSU.

As the NFL regular season ends in a few days, it will be more important to the LSU Nation that Saban remains at Miami and doesn't take the Alabama job. Saban at Alabama would be LSU's worst nightmare and could eventually reverse those two universes.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

DiNardo's take

The South Bend Tribune has an interesting take on the Sugar Bowl with former LSU coach Gerry DiNardo.

While DiNardo expresses some bitterness about his ouster at LSU, he also realizes that's part of the profession. His take on Notre Dame is a bit more interesting in denouncing the Irish for becoming just another major college football program.

While I can't say I was a great DiNardo fan, he must be given credit for pulling LSU out of the depths of Curley Hallman and the end of the Mike Archer era.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Welcome to the other side

The Miami Dolphins' loss to the New York Jets on Monday night wrapped up a dubious feat for former LSU coach Nick Saban.

The Dolphins' ninth loss in 15 games secured a losing season in Miami.

It is the first losing season in Nick Saban's 13 years as a head coach.

He never had a losing season at Toledo, Michigan State or LSU. Now with the Dolphins, Saban knows how the other side feels.

The question is this: Will Saban cut and run to Alabama? Or will he stay the course with the Dolphins and try to build a program there?

Whatever he decides, a 6-9 record certainly takes some of the shine off Saban who ruined Christmas for LSU fans just two short years ago.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Good pickup

So John Brady didn't sign anybody last spring - or last fall.

But apparently the transfers Brady added this year will give the same immediate help that might have come from signing a player last year.

Case in point, Texas Tech transfer Terry Martin.

Thus far, in the two games Martin has played for LSU since becoming eligible, he's made 12 of 20 shots (60 percent).

LSU desperately could have used Martin in the loss to Wichita State when perimeter shooting did in the Tigers. (About the only thing that would have helped at Washington would have been the return of Tyrus Thomas.)

The Tigers appear to still have some weaknesses. But Martin appears to be someone who can be an answer and not a question for this LSU basketball team.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

What if?

OK, here's a what if?

What if Alabama's relentless pursuit of Nick Saban turns up a coach? What if Saban does go to Alabama? What would that mean?

While I think Saban is an excellent coach - he certainly proved it at LSU - I don't know that Alabama hiring him would mean the Tide goes straight to the top of the SEC.

There are a couple of important things to remember here. One, Alabama's turmoil through recent years has helped create one of the Tide's problems - Auburn. Auburn is no longer a stepchild to Alabama. In fact, you could make the case that Tommy Tuberville has the better program in the state.

Two, Saban would have to split talent in the state, much like he did at Michigan State. You may remember those years at Michigan State -- 6-6, 6-5-1, 6-6, 7-5, 6-6 and finally 10-2. At Alabama, you don't make it past that second or third 6-6.

Alabama is trying to catch lightning in a bottle, something made increasingly more difficult with parity in college football.

Friday, December 22, 2006

McKnight update

It's been a busy week for John Curtis star Joe McKnight. He's been on ESPN's Cold Pizza. And he's the favorite to be named Mr. Football on Sunday.

Recruiting figures to get busy as well.

McKnight, the 5-11, 195 running back/wide receiver/defensive back, has three visits set and they reflect his interest in schools.

He is set to take trips to USC, Notre Dame and LSU in January.

The good news for LSU fans is McKnight's LSU visit is last. College coaches usually like to have the last visit if possible to seal the deal. The thing is, you've got to hope a kid doesn't commit prior to visiting your school or just cancels.

Here is a prediction: If McKnight makes it to his LSU visit as an uncommitted prospect, then he'll probably sign with the Tigers.

Until he gets there, though, LSU fans may have a little sweating to do.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Saban talk

Nick Saban must be just about ready to kill someone.

Every week it seems Saban has to issue a denial that he is not interested in the Alabama job.

This week's denial, probably the strongest one he's had yet, came out today.

"I guess I have to say it," Saban said in an Associated Press story. "I’m not going to be the Alabama coach."

But that doesn't stop Bama. Which makes me wonder, what are the stalking laws for an athletic department and a coach?

Golden Domers Getting Angry

Word out of Chicago is the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame are getting a little miffed and will be coming to New Orleans sporting a bit of an attitude.

Heisman contender Brady Quinn says he and the Irish are tired of hearing about how Notre Dame is lacking in what it will take to tear down the Tigers.

The Irish are tired of hearing how slow they've looked in their last three bowl games, they're tired of being reminded that they've lost their last eight bowl games, they are offended that Las Vegas has tagged them as nine point underdogs. They are sporting puffed out lower lips because the Chicago Bears are stealing the December/January limelight.

OK, but all the above is true! Sorry, when you signed the dotted line to commit to the Irish, this is what comes to the program that has its own TV network deal.

Mark me down as picking the Tigers to once again expose the Irish for the not-ready-for-prime-time players they are.

I'm putting my trust in a Michigan guy to help add to the South Bend misery.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006



LSU should beat Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl, but it will not be a blow-out like many LSU fans and some in the media are thinking.
It will be a close game and LSU could lose to what will likely be an inspired bunch of Irish. LSU has much more talent than Notre Dame, particularly at the skill positions, including quarterback. Unfortunately, LSU coach Les Miles' LSU teams have rarely completely played up to their talent. The Tigers' blow-out of Miami in the Peach Bowl last season was a rare example when LSU lived up to its talent.
Miles lost to a team with far less talent in Tennessee last season, and it lost by 20 to one with equal or less talent against Georgia in the SEC championship game last season. Also in 2005, LSU was lucky to beat less talented Auburn and Florida after constantly turning the ball over.
Miles made Auburn look like it had a great defense this season in a 7-3 loss when Auburn proved as the season went on that it had an average defense. Miles lost to a less or equally talented team at Florida this season as his team was again plagued by turnovers against good competition.
LSU had more speed and talent than Arkansas and Alabama this season and should have won those games by much more. And Miles had to go to overtime at home to beat an Ole Miss team with far less talent than LSU.
LSU's talent is miles ahead of Notre Dame's, but the game will be bumper to bumper.


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Say what?

So I'm listening to Charlie Weis' Notre Dame news conference today and Weis is asked if LSU is comparable to any team the Irish have faced.

Weis says LSU's defense reminds him of Tennessee's defense from last year. Now, that's not exactly the greatest compliment in the world since the Vols had a losing season last year.

And then on offense, Weis removes JaMarcus Russell from the equation, and says the Tigers remind him of Michigan State.

Michigan State?

Look, LSU may be overrated at No.4 in the country. But Michigan State? A mediocre Big Ten that fired its coach? Please.

So now I'm wondering if Weis is trying to play a mind game or if he really doesn't think that highly of LSU.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Meyer kudos

Florida coach Urban Meyer may be hated in Michigan, but the folks here in Louisiana may want want to give him some begrudging admiration.

Meyer, you see, is fairly well impressed with the Tigers.

He told ESPN.com as much for the Web site's SEC season review.

"I still say LSU is as fine a football team as there is on film," Meyer told ESPN.com. "The day after that game, I thought we were a little bit better than I was giving us credit for because that was a two-touchdown win over a top-3, top-4, in my opinion, football team."

Meyer was right. LSU ended the regular season at No. 4.

Maybe LSU fans will realize he's not such a bad guy after all.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Recruiting talk

It's a light weekend for college football recruiting.

However, I've come across a couple of interesting LSU-related tidbits in talking to a college coaching source in the state.

Apparently, DeAngelo Benton will sign with LSU - then make Tiger fans sweat out his academic eligibility. LSU went down that road last summer with a handful of players. Look for Benton to follow suit.

Gabriel Bryant, remember him? He was an early commitment to LSU last spring. He got kicked off the Jonesboro-Hodge team and then LSU pulled his offer.

Well, Bryant resurfaced at Desire Street Academy in Baton Rouge.

And guess who is back recruiting him again? Yep, LSU.

Bryant apparently has had a rough upbringing which may explain some of the problems at J-Hodge.

This coach I talked to - not on the LSU staff - predicts Bryant will sign with the Tigers.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Where are they headed?

Les Miles' coaching staff appears to be headed for some transition.

Wide receivers coach Todd Monken has interviewed for the Louisiana Tech head coaching position. I for one would not be shocked to see Monken, a former Tech assistant, get the job.

In today's San Francisco Chronicle, LSU defensive coordinator Bo Pelini is mentioned as a candidate at Stanford. Pelini was an assistant at Iowa back in the day. That's the former school of Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby.

Then there's Jimbo Fisher, who now has been linked to the Louisiana Tech job, the UAB job, the N.C. State job and the Florida State offensive coordinator's job. It's beginning to look like Fisher will be anywhere but Baton Rouge next season.

Assuming Fisher leaves -- only N.C. State has hired a coach and he has withdrawn from UAB -- the Tigers could be interested in Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Larry Fedora. In fact, The Sporting News lists LSU and Florida State as potential "suitors'' for Fedora, if Fisher leaves in LSU's case.

If any or all of these coaches move on, then the pressure will be on Miles to make good hires.
Bad hires as assistants - something Gerry DiNardo can attest to - can take down a coach and his program.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Looking ahead

I guess it's never to early to start waiting until next year. There is a Web site devoted to just that.

The Web site has LSU ranked No. 4 in its early preseason 2007 poll. The Tigers are behind USC, Michigan and Ohio State and ahead of Oklahoma and all the rest.

The Tigers are picked to win the West and Florida picked to win the East with the two meeting in Atlanta for the SEC championship with the Tigers winning.

Now, that being said, all bets will probably be off if JaMarcus Russell turns pro. Because no one really knows how Matt Flynn or Ryan Perrilloux will do as the Tigers' QB.

Monday, December 11, 2006


No. 9 LSU lost a game to unranked Texas Sunday night that it could have won. The Longhorns won 76-75 in overtime at the Toyota Center in Houston.
Point guard Garrett Temple missed a three-pointer from the top of the key with six seconds to go when LSU did not need a three-pointer. I would have preferred to see center Glen Davis try to fight off three defenders for a two-pointer. He often scores in that fashion. It is better to lose with the ball in your best players' hands. Davis did not get the rebound and never touched the ball in the final moments.
Temple did make a key three-pointer to tie the game 68-68 in the final 20 seconds of regulation, and it was good to see someone with the guts to take shots like that. LSU badly needs that. With point guard Darrel Mitchell finishing his career last season, LSU's guards have tended to look for someone else with the gumption to shoot at critcal times. It is great that Temple has that, and that will help him and the team in the future. Temple truly is a much better shooter than last season. In the 70-60 overtime win over Texas to reach the Final Four last season, Temple was 2-of-9 from the field and 0-of-6 from three-point range. On Sunday, Temple was 5-of-11 from the field and 4-of-10 from three-point range.
But, still, Davis should have had the ball at the end. With about 40 seconds to go, Davis had three men all over him and got two shots off in close range. He missed them both, but that's what LSU should have tried at the end.
No one on Texas' team was strong enough to really stop Davis. He should have had the ball more.
In the end, though, when you lose to a likely NCAA Tournament team on the road by one point in overtime, that is not a bad loss. It is reminiscent of LSU's 67-66 loss last season at Connecticut - also at a neutral site but in the state of Connecticut. Mitchell missed a three-point jumper from the top of the key in that game when all LSU needed was two.
Mitchell made those shots as the season went on, including a career three-point shot that beat Texas A&M in the NCAA Tournament and propelled LSU to the third round. Temple could be that man this season. If not, help is on the way.
Texas Tech transfer point guard Terry Martin of Monroe will be eligible for LSU either on Sunday at Oregon State or next Wednesday at Washington.
The Tigers' win at home against No. 6 Texas A&M last week and their performance in a loss against Texas each proved LSU is ready to contend again for the overall SEC title and should make a long run in the NCAA Tournament.


Sunday, December 10, 2006

Picking up steam

Of the recruits from Louisiana to commit to Ole Miss earlier this year, John Ehret's Drake Nevis was probably the one coveted most by the LSU coaching staff.

Nevis' commitment to Ole Miss went out the window this weekend. He told Rivals.com that he had switched his commitment to LSU.

The Tigers also added another commitment from defensive back Phelon Jones of Mobile, Ala.

At 19 commitments, the better part of this Tigers class has come together. However, there is still Joe McKnight, Terrance Tolliver and others out there. And there will likely be some decommitments as well.

But for Dec. 10, this Tigers class is coming together.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Bad timing

Boy, those TV network boys know how to screw up a Sunday evening.

On the night NBC is carrying the New Orleans Saints vs. the Dallas Cowboys, another Louisiana-Texas matchup will be televised.

ESPN will carry the LSU-Texas basketball game straight up against the football game.

This could be a tough call for some fans to make - Saints or LSU. But it will also be tough in Texas where the call will be Cowboys or Longhorns.

It would have been nice if the games didn't conflict. But in the end, it likely won't matter. Most will probably watch the Saints and then flip over and catch LSU.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Recruiting update

It doesn't appear to be a very busy weekend for LSU football recruiting.

Among those expected to visit this weekend are John Ehret defensive lineman Drake Nevis and Mobile, Ala., defensive back Phelon Jones.

Nevis was an early commitment to Ole Miss. But most in the recruiting circles think Nevis' commitment to the Rebels is as soft as toilet tissue.

Jones is considered to be the better of the two prospects.

Scout.com has Jones ranked as a four-star recruit while Nevis is ranked as a three-star player.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Shrinking market

It's been an interesting offseason for Jimbo Fisher.

The LSU offensive coordinator has seen his name tossed around a bunch with various jobs, yet nothing has stuck.

One has to wonder if the market is shrinking on Fisher.

He rightly decided he was better off at LSU than trying to be the head coach at Cincinnati.

Many thought he was in line at N.C. State, but apparently that job is headed to Boston College's Tom O'Brien.

Fisher's best bet may be for Rich Rodriguez to leave West Virginia for Alabama. Then there would be an opening at West Virginia.

The real problem is when you're making good money - and Fisher certainly is - some lower-tier college head coaching jobs come at a pay cut. And upper-tier jobs are looking for head coaching experience.

It's still early, but it will be interesting to see what happens to Fisher on the market.

Jimbo joining the Wolfpack?

Rivals.com reports that LSU offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher is in line for an interview with N.C. State to follow Chuck Amato as the head coach of the Wolfpack.

The timing would be great for Fisher. The ACC is the weakest of the BCS conferences so the rise to the top isn't that much of a stretch for any of its schools. N.C. State only enjoyed ONE winning season in conference play during Amato's seven years at the helm.

West Virginia also looms as a possibility for Fisher should Rich Rodriguez head off to Alabama.

If you had to choose between the two schools ... well, show me the money!!! I don't know that I would want to be the guy who followed Rodriguez in Morgantown, but the salary may make it worth the trip.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Notre Dame Not Good Enough?

How far has the LSU football program come in just four years? The Tigers are playing national college football icon Notre Dame in a BCS bowl, in a bowl with as much tradition as most, and in a bowl in LSU’s own backyard. And it’s a disappointment? Yes it is.

LSU plays Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 3, and it’s a consolation prize! Just four years ago, the LSU nation was excited about an 8-4 season and a trip to the Cotton Bowl to play Texas. Nine years ago, LSU was tickled to death to get a re-match against Notre Dame, and that was in Shreveport.

On Monday, fans complained about having their BCS No. 4 Tigers play the BCS No. 11 Fighting Irish in the lesser Sugar Bowl. Just a few days ago, LSU was headed to a more classic match-up with Michigan in the Rose Bowl. Once you get a whiff of the big time, it’s hard to smell sugar. And Notre Dame has not been the big time in decades.

On paper, LSU should put up about 40 on the Irish, and everyone knows it. LSU needs to be careful, though. Everyone expects a large win. That is a very dangerous recipe. LSU coach Les Miles has his work cut out for him convincing his team that Notre Dame is capable of the upset. Particulary when it was Miles who made the following statement last week when LSU and Notre Dame were sparring for the Rose Bowl invitation to play Michigan.

“We are ranked higher,” Miles said. “There is no arguable playing advantage in the match-up. I think it would be a unanimous feel that LSU would be the best team.”

LSU is still ranked higher.

Miles will also have a tough time finding game film of Notre Dame playing good defense or of Notre Dame winning a bowl game.

The Irish have lost eight straight bowls, and most of those weren’t even close. The green men haven’t won a bowl since the Cotton in 1994.

Miles should note that the last time Notre Dame came to the Sugar Bowl in 1992, though, the Irish upset Florida 39-28.

The Irish will hear how bad it is and how bad its bowl record is for the next month. The Irish will be motivated, but I still can’t see Notre Dame staying within 10 points of the Tigers.

LSU will have every advantage, including the Superdome. Against virtually every other opponent, Notre Dame would have the Catholic advantage in New Orleans. Not this time.

The LSU nation should not complain about this game. Yes, the Rose Bowl would have been fun. (Excuse me, I forgot to cancel my hotel room in Beverly Hills.) But God has a funny way of not making things happen and then making them happen.

LSU and Notre Dame in the first Sugar Bowl since Hurricane Katrina. LSU and Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl for the first time. LSU returning to the Louisiana Superdome for the first time since winning the 2003 national championship there.

All this God and football in the same city that still needs all the prayers anyone can muster. If LSU fans hang like they did for the national championship game, New Orleans may just start coming back. It could be a bayou blessing, particularly if there are enough police.

“It’s just what the doctor ordered,” said Sugar Bowl CEO Paul Hoolahan, who had to move his bowl to Atlanta last year while the dome was being restored. “It’s an absolute panacea for what has happened here. It’s a godsend.”

You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes, well you just might find
You get what you need.

Of course, that song was made famous in the “Big Chill,” which was a movie about a bunch of Michigan graduates.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Take out that second mortgage ...

Going over the votes cast by the coaches in the USA Today coaches poll and you see an overwhelming majority going with Florida. Naturally, Big 10 types went with Michigan and SEC types with Florida. However, there was one coach who, maybe not surprisingly, got this whole conference loyalty things screwed up.

Ron Zook, he of the Fightin' Illini head coaching fame and the previous Gator head coach before the arrival of Urban Meyer, voted Florida ahead of Michigan.

I don't care what the point spread may be, take Michigan and the points against Illinois next season!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Bowl business

So much for that Rose Bowl trip.

While a matchup with USC in the Rose Bowl would have been intriguing, LSU may be better served - at least on paper - matching up with Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl.

A win in the Sugar Bowl will likely move LSU up to No. 3 or, possibly, No. 2 in the final poll.

That alone should be plenty of motivation for the Tigers in the Sugar Bowl.

Not bad for a 10-2 team that didn't even win its own division.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Saturday's wreckage

Wow, USC certainly threw a wrench into things on Saturday.

Let's start at the very top. Ohio State was set to play USC. Not so fast. USC's loss to UCLA opens the door for Florida and Michigan. I think Florida deserves to play in the game - look at the teams the Gators beat this season. But I figure Michigan will play because, hey, the SEC gets ripped off in these deals.

But what looked like a Michigan-LSU Rose Bowl could now be a USC-Rose Bowl if Michigan is in the title game. Or, if Michigan isn't, LSU could be aced out of the Rose Bowl by Michigan and USC.

So if Florida gets the bad end of the deal, LSU will be in the Rose Bowl. If Florida doesn't, then LSU will get left out in the Rose Bowl.

The good news is LSU will play in a BCS bowl game somewhere. It may be in Miami against Wake Forest in the Orange Bowl or in the Sugar Bowl against Notre Dame.

Either way, LSU should be in good shape.

But nothing ever comes easy.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Better things to do?

Am I the only person struck by the funny juxtaposition of a couple of newspapers today? There, on the cover of USA Today, is a story headlined, "Crime takes hold of new New Orleans.'' And on the same day, in newspapers throughout Louisiana, there was a story headlined, "Blanco pushes LSU to BCS bowl groups.''

So we have a state recovering from the greatest natural disaster to ever hit this country. Crime is spiraling out of control in what used to be the state's largest city before the disaster. And Gov. Kathleen Blanco is on the phone with the men in the funny-looking coats.


I know sports is important to a lot of people, but I've got to figure there are better ways for the governor to spend her time these days.

Here is my thought. LSU is 10-2 on the field and No. 5 in the BCS standings. The school is nearing the 40,000 mark for Rose Bowl ticket sales. If that's not enough to get LSU into the Rose Bowl, then so be it.

Yes, I know LSU fumbled last year and dropped all the way to the Peach Bowl with a team that played - and lost bad - in the SEC Championship Game.

But this year, LSU is in better shape - even without Blanco.