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Friday, November 30, 2007

Mr. Grinch?

Nick Saban ruined Christmas in 2004 for LSU fans -- and not to mention the media that had their day turned upside down.

Will Les Miles do the same next week?

The indications are growing that Miles will be offered the Michigan job and he will accept the job. One of the Detroit papers is reporting in Saturday's editions that the Michigan job is Miles' to lose.(Considering the last half of the season, Miles could lose it.)

So here's the question. If Miles leaves next week, is he the Grinch that Saban was?

Saban's late departure made for a late hiring which is how Miles got here in the first place. (I still think, given what was available at the time, Miles was as good as LSU was going to get. And I'm no big Les Miles fan.)

This departure would be roughly three weeks earlier. Still it doesn't appear to be a great crop of potential replacements out there. Now if a '95 Spurrier was available, then you could talk. But some of these names being mentioned just don't do it.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


It will be interesting to see how LSU handles the distraction caused by its own coaching staff in regard to job opportunities.

Actually, you can make a case that Saturday's SEC Championship Game against Tennessee will be the first time all season LSU won't have any pressure on it.

After being No. 1 or No. 2 through much of the season, the Tigers can play with the hunger of a team with something to prove.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Looks like a long winter

LSU got a men's basketball win tonight -- over Nicholls.

Look, I hope I'm wrong about this, but I see this as being a long winter. It wasn't going to be great before Tasmin Mitchell got hurt and now it looks even worse.

Again, it's a long way to March. But right now, I have my doubts about this bunch.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sometimes you feel like a Nutt

The SEC West just got a little tougher today.

With Ole Miss announcing the hiring of Houston Nutt as the Rebels' head football coach, the school will have its first real coach since firing David Cutcliffe following the 2004 season.

In 10 years at Arkansas, Nutt took the Razorbacks to a pair of SEC Championship Games. At Ole Miss, he's probably get a statue of himself in front of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium for taking the Rebels to one championship game.

Nutt will have a new challenge splitting a state with Mississippi State. But he'll have more players in Mississippi than he had in Arkansas. And Ed Orgeron did leave him some players.

Nutt had a way of getting his teams to improve over the course of a season and that should be attractive to Ole Miss fans and a concern for LSU fans.

Now the ball is in Arkansas' court to come up with a coach better than Nutt. If the Hogs can't, the Rebels could rise at Arkansas' expense.

Monday, November 26, 2007

LSU no longer deserving

BATON ROUGE - There is no place I'd rather be than New Orleans for the prolonged Christmas and New Year's holidays than New Orleans with LSU wrapping it all up by playing in the BCS national championship game on Jan. 7 against my alma mater Missouri.

Unfortunately, LSU no longer deserves to play in the BCS national championship game because of its 50-48 loss to Arkansas on Friday.

There is a desperate argument out there that should BCS No. 1 Missouri (11-1) and BCS No. 2 West Virginia (10-1) lose this weekend to BCS No. 9 Oklahoma (10-2) and to Pittsburgh (4-6), respectively, that BCS No. 7 LSU (10-2) could get into the national championship game against BCS No. 3 Ohio State (11-1) if the Tigers handle Tennessee Saturday in the SEC championship game. I believe the Ohio State part. The Buckeyes have only one loss.

I can't believe the LSU part. Georgia (10-2), Kansas (11-1) and Virginia Tech (10-2) are all ahead of LSU in the BCS at No. 4, No. 5 and No. 6.

This is not just LSU fans and apologist LSU media making this argument. BCS expert Brad Edwards, an Alabama grad who is one of the more objective people in the business, is also making this argument. He doesn't see Georgia getting enough human votes from the USA Today coaches poll and Harris poll to get into the game because Georgia will not have even won its own conference, whereas LSU will have with a win over UT.

I disagree right there. I believe Georgia is better than both LSU and Tennessee right now and deserve to get into the game based on its present ranking. A voter or computer can't rank a team No. 4 and then say, "Oh wait, this team didn't win its league." So what? Teams have won the World Series that didn't win their division.
Funny, we all talk about how tough the SEC is, but if LSU wins the league Saturday it will do so without ever having to play the highest rated team in that league - Georgia. Isn't that somewhat of a tainted title? Les Miles and many of us like to make fun of the Pacific-10 conference and how it doesn't have a championship game, but at least everyone in that league plays everyone in that league.

Georgia actually tied for the SEC East and will get a banner for that. It's not in Atlanta because it lost the tiebreaker because of a loss to Tennessee way back on Oct. 6. Georgia is better than Tennessee now.

Edwards and others eliminate Kansas and take LSU because of Kansas' tremendously poor schedule, and I can understand that. But I've got to say Kansas impressed me in its 36-29 loss to Missouri on Saturday. At this point in the season, whom Kansas was playing earlier in its season doesn't matter. Last weekend, Kansas looked better in defeat than did LSU. Kansas lost to the No. 1 team in the nation with perhaps the best quarterback and offense in the nation and a strong defense.

LSU lost to a four-loss, average Arkansas team with a one-dimensional offense at home with everything on the line and turned in one of its worst defensive performances in history. Who's to say Kansas would not beat LSU this weekend? I have a feeling Kansas would pass all over LSU's suddenly porous defense that let 3-9 Ole Miss matriculate up and down the field.

Edwards and others eliminate Virginia Tech and take LSU because LSU beat Virginia Tech 48-7. This is a strong argument, but that game was way back on Sept. 8. To quote LSU coaches, fans and apologist media, LSU's defense was hurt badly by the loss of defensive tackle Charles Alexander to a knee injury a week after Virginia Tech. Alexander played against Virginia Tech. He's not playing anymore, so LSU is not the same team that beat Virginia Tech. LSU is obviously not the same team that beat Virginia Tech if you just watch game film. For one, the team is not nearly as aggressive and seems to be afraid to blitz.

LSU also just lost to a mediocre Arkansas team. Virginia Tech's only loss since Sept. 8 was in the final seconds to BCS No. 11 Boston College (10-2). Since that game Virginia Tech has defeated Georgia Tech (7-4), Florida State (7-4) and No. 16 Virginia (9-2) in recent weeks. LSU in recent weeks barely beat a 6-6 Alabama team and lost to a mediocre Arkansas team. Who's to say Virginia Tech would not beat LSU and its new Tepper-like defense this week.

I'm sorry, everyone, but when it's over it's over.

On Monday, Miles was trying to say that his team hasn't lost in regulation yet and how those two OT losses could have been two ties in a former era, which would equal one loss so he's back in it. It did not look good. At least he didn't bring up 9/11 and Pearl Harbor.

LSU can try all the math it wants, but it only has itself to blame. It was at home with everything on the line against an average-at-best team with a one-dimensional offense that other defenses like Auburn and Tennessee had handled. And it got run over in late November. There's no coming back from that.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

An interesting take

While the Michigan papers are in full-throttle coverage of Les Miles, I did come across an interesting quote from former Colorado coach Bill McCartney.

As background, remember that McCartney's grandson T.C., is a walk-on quarterback at LSU, and McCartney was in attendance at the LSU-Florida game this season.

McCartney was asked if he thought Miles would leave for Michigan.

Here's McCartney's quote in the Detroit Free Press.

"I've never been anywhere where a football game is more exciting and important as it is at LSU," McCartney said. "When people say it's a foregone conclusion that somebody would go to Michigan if they could, in my mind, it's not. Michigan is a great place, but LSU a great place, too. Because of the way he deports himself and the success in his three years, people really grown fond of him. I'm sure this is not an easy decision."

If you want to read the whole profile, click on this link.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Oh Rocky Top

If you see some people with shoe prints on their rear ends,it will probably be the LSU Tigers players and coaching staffs.

They should be kicking themselves for the Arkansas loss.

With Tennessee's four-overtime win over Kentucky, the Vols will be headed to Atlanta for next week's SEC Championship Game meeting with LSU.

That was the matchup LSU wanted.

Of course,LSU wanted to beat Arkansas on Friday and then Tennessee in the title game and coast into the national title game.

It didn't happen quite the way the Tigers planned.

Tennessee kept up its end of the bargain. LSU didn't.

Friday, November 23, 2007

No. 1 bites the dust

One of the more unfortunate effects of LSU's 2003 national championship season is that seasons are now judged by playing in the national championship game.

Make the title game, the season is a success. Play in a BCS bowl game that is not the title game? That's OK, but it's still not the title game.

This year's LSU team had a simple goal - title game or bust.

It's bust after the Tigers lost 50-48 to Arkansas in triple overtime.

Two losses. Both in triple overtime.

If you're an LSU fan, it may have been an exciting three months, but now it is a waste.

Imagine being a player and having to get up for the SEC title game next week.

Prediction: LSU loses that one if for no other reason than the difficulty of pulling oneself off the mat.

So the 2007 season will go in the books similar to 2005 -- lot of close wins, gaudy record, nothing won of value yet. Divisional titles and trips to Atlanta are old hat now for LSU.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Two more tests

It's a two-game season for the LSU Tigers football team.

They need a win on Friday against Arkansas and another in the SEC title game. Do that, and LSU is in the national championship game.

Here's the twist, Les Miles hasn't been able to pull off this daily double since coming to LSU in 2005.

He got the win over Arkansas in 2005, but then came a loss in the SEC Championshp Game to Georgia.

Last year, he got the win over Arkansas, but there was no SEC Championship Game.

The next game is always the most important one. On paper, LSU ought to be able to score some points. The challenge will be slowing down Darren McFadden and the Arkansas offense.

The LSU defense hasn't been nearly the force it was early in the season. Injuries have a lot to do with that. Still, LSU is going to need a better performance than the one it had last week at Ole Miss on defense.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Scouting out the opposition

Let's say LSU wins two more football games - and everyone knows that is not a given this season. But for argument's sake let's say LSU defeats Arkansas on Friday and either Tenneessee or Georgia in the SEC title game.

That would put LSU in the national championship game.

But let's look at the teams on the BCS title game radar.

Kansas is currently No. 2. The Jayhawks are in the same shape as LSU. If they win their last two games - against Missouri and the Big 12 title game and they're in New Orleans.

I think LSU would be fine with that matchup.

But if Kansas falters, West Virginia is sitting at No. 3 with home games against Connecticut and Pittsburgh remaining.

After watching what Tim Tebow and Brent Schaeffer have done to the LSU defense over the last month, LSU probably would prefer to see the Mountaineers and quarterback Pat White in another bowl. Few in the SEC can forget what White and West Virginia did to Georgia in Atlanta in the Sugar Bowl in 2006 (following the 2005 season.)

Missouri is at No. 4 in the BCS rankings. A win over Kansas and another in the Big 12 title game could get Mizzou to New Orleans. Chase Daniel has enjoyed a great season but you've got to figure LSU would rather see him than White.

Of course, all of this is moot if LSU doesn't take care of its own business at hand.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

It takes two to tango

This isn't exactly the way you script a national championship run. You wouldn't script the part about the head coach's alma mater having a job opening just a few days before the head coach's current team's regular season finale.

But in the immortal words of Bill Parcells, "It is what it is.''

So, should LSU fans be concerned about losing Les Miles to Michigan?

Of course.

But this may not be the done deal everyone thinks. At least one columnist in Detroit doesn't think so.

Then again some others at competing newspapers see him as a goner.

Miles skipped his usual Sunday media gathering. (Read into that what you will). The reason was said to be short week for Arkansas.

Whether he stays or goes, the timing stinks if you're an LSU player or fan.

But hey, it is what it is.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Sorry for the delay ... bit of technical difficulty in the press box.

The postgame press conference wasn't exactly all smiles and laughter for LSU head coach Les Miles. He's trying to figure out how the Ole Miss Rebels collected nearly 500 yards of offense.

However, he said at this point in the season, he's just looking for wins.

LSU scores pick ... this one is over.

Rebels force Tigers to punt

With 7:43 left, anything can still happen. For some reason, the Tigers just don't make anything easy. Ole Miss takes over at their own 13.

Ole Miss' onside kick fails

LSU takes over at the Rebels' 40

SHAYFUH scores from 39 yards out

Brent Shaeffer scrambles for a touchdown run with 9:11 to go. The sloppy play the Tigers have showed throughout the day is precisely the stuff that comes back to haunt you. Not today, but perhaps some day soon.

Drive stalls again; David comes through again
LSU takes a 27-10 on a 43-yard field goal from Colt David. LSU's 12-play, 66-yard drive erased 5:25 off the clock, but the Tigers have got to start punching these opportunities in. However, LSU has scored on all three of its second-half possessions.

Charles Scott big gainer
The 28-yard gain up the middle put the Tigers at the Rebels' 45. That is how you put a team away.

Big drive for LSU
The Tigers will likely win this game, but there is something to be said for putting a team away (not named La. Tech). Tigers start at their own 9.

Colt David makes school-record 20th field goal
The Grapevine, Texas, kid is good from 48 yards (had plenty of leg) and LSU is back in front by two touchdowns.

LSU holds Rebels to field goal
Joshua Shene makes good from 23 yards and Ole Miss climbs within 21-10. LSU is lucky this game's not a one-possession contest again.

Rebels march right back down the field
I'm wondering where the oh-so dominant LSU defense from the month of September disappeared to. Ole Miss, not exactly the most prolific offense in the nation, is already down the LSU 6.

Keiland Williams scores from 10 yards out
It's a 21-7 lead for LSU. It's a familiar look, let's see if the Tigers can keep the Rebels at a distance this time.

Meanwhile, LSU is on the move.
The Tigers have taken the second-half kick and are at the Rebels' 10.

There is a buzz throughout the press box right now, and it has nothing to do with the game everyone is watching here. ULM has just defeated Alabama 21-14 in Tuscaloosa. Holy cow!

Steltz hauls in big interception
Penalties cost Ole Miss this time. The Rebels got to LSU's 4 before a delay of game and personal foul sent them back. LSU hauls in a pick and heads to the locker room up 14-7.

WOW! Ole Miss converts a third-and-29
Shaeffer hits Shay Hodge for 39 yards and Ole Miss is knocking on the door. THIS is the stuff that has to make you worry about LSU being able to run the table.

LSU avoids disaster
Shaeffer had Mike Wallace alone in the end zone, but Wallace was unable to hauled the ball in and the Tigers maintain their lead for now.

Shaeffer has been electric
Ole Miss hasn't scored yet, but Brent Shaeffer has provided a bit of a spark on offensive. LSU has had a little trouble containing the former Tennessee QB.

Brent Shaeffer is in at quarterback for Ole Miss.

Good drive hampered by ... shocker ... penalties
LSU lost its hope for a third score early in the second quarter thanks to a pair of penalties (illegal touching and intentional grounding). The Tigers committed a third penalty (holding), but Ole Miss declined to give LSU a fourth-and-24.

Things have settled down as the first quarter ends
LSU with the ball at the Ole Miss 49.

Anything you can do I can do better
Track star Trindon Holliday returns the ensuing kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown to give the Tigers the lead back immediately. It took all of 14 seconds for the speedster to change the tide.
Amazingly, the Tigers' longest kickoff return this season coming into the game was a 44-yarder by Holliday (at Kentucky, Oct. 13)

Well the Rebels got their touchdown anyhow
Ole Miss keeps the Tigers pinned and then gets a 44-yard punt return by Marshay Green to help tie the score late in the first quarter.

What a killer for the Rebels
Ole Miss used a nice kickoff return and a defensive pass interference penalty to drive deep inside LSU's 10-yard line before BenJarvus Green-Ellis coughs up the pigskin at LSU's 1.
If Ole Miss has any hopes of hanging in this game, those mistakes just can't happen.

A methodical march ends in 7 points for the Tigers
What a drive by LSU. The Tigers march 98 yards in 4:25, collect 5 first downs and get a 5-yard touchdown run on the option from quarterback Matt Flynn. Could this be an easy victory for LSU in the SEC. It's been a while for that.

When in danger, give it to Hester
Former Evangel standout Jabob Hester has received the ball in his hands on all three LSU plays in the shadow of its own goalposts. The Tigers have collected a first down and have some breathing room.

McCluster's got some speed.
McCluster just too and end-around and turned on the turbo boost to gain about 30 yards.
Ole Miss was soon forced to punt, but the Rebels down the ball at the LSU 2.
Tough sledding for the Tigers on their first posession.

What a Mc-Cluster-
Dexter McCluster fumbled the opening kickoff and Ole Miss had to start deep in its own territory. I can hear the "That was a McCluster..."

LSU to kick

As expected, HUGE turnout by the Purple and Gold
Ole Miss fans are the majority, but not as much as you might think for the final home game of 2007. The entire north end zone is purple and gold while all four corners of Vaught-Hemingway boast a Tigers' tint.

Good jokes abound in the press box.
The best pregame jokes so far involve LSU quarterback Ryan Perrilloux.
No. 1:
"Perrilloux make it to Tunica last night?"

Greetings from Vaught-Hemingway Stadium
Roy Lang III here to inform and possibly entertain you from Oxford, Miss.
It's a beautiful day for football. Partly cloudy skies, temperatures in the 60s and a fairly stiff breeze out of the south. LSU looks to continue its run toward the national championship game as they visit the Ole Miss rebels.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Ole Miss thoughts

I pick up this week's Sporting News and they're talking about LSU-Ole Miss being close because several teams in the conference have played well after open weeks and well Ole Miss was open last week.

Then I remember Seth Adams and Brent Schaeffer are the Ole Miss quarterbacks.

I hear talking heads on the radio reminding everyone that Ole Miss led 20-7 going into the fourth quarter in Baton Rouge last year. And, as we're told, LSU was better last year. (Never mind that team never sniffed No. 1).

Of course, what people don't want to remember is that earlier in the day Arkansas clinched the West's spot in the SEC Championship Game. Thus, LSU's game with Ole Miss didn't carry quite the same pop as it could have.

So I'm torn on this one.

I find it hard to believe an SEC team can go winless in the conference. Yet I believe Ole Miss will be underdog in its season finale at Mississippi State and is an underdog today. So the odds don't look good there.

The Rebels have also played good at times. But they were downright horrible at home against Arkansas.

So who knows what you'll get there.

And LSU. Well, LSU is still looking for that team from the first month of the season.

Even against Tech last week, there were moments of head-scratching play.

My mind says LSU wins this one. But my gut says this may be harder than some people expect.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Love that Maize and Blue

BATON ROUGE - I've always thought it was funny how LSU and many other schools with major football programs invest a lot of time and money with media consultants to help their young football players relate with the media. I like to call them the truth police, because young people tend to tell the truth more. And big schools don't want to have too much of that.

Yet, these same media consultants do not spend as much time with the coaches, and believe me they need to. Curley Hallman was in desperate need of a media consultant when he was at LSU. Mike Archer and Jerry Stovall could have used one, too. Gerry DiNardo could have used one at Vanderbilt, but he polished up his act while at LSU and it worked until he started losing.

Nick Saban has benefitted from some consultant advice, namely from Skip Bertman.
Present LSU coach Les Miles could use a media consultant. He's actually good with the media and has gotten better each year he's been here. Problem is from the LSU perspective, Miles tends to be a little too honest. Had he been more careful or had a consultant spoken to him, he would not have had that embarrassing outburst at the Bayou Bash. With a little advice last summer, he may have thought about it and got his facts straight before ripping Pac-10 teams like UCLA and California, which were good last season.

A media consultant today would likely tell Miles to lay off the loving bouquets he often throws Michigan's way, especially with Michigan possibly about to have an opening for a head football coach and a desire to talk to Miles. I like what Miles has to say about Michigan. I like his honesty. DiNardo used to say Notre Dame didn't mean that much to him because he only spent a few years there. As was often the case, I didn't believe him.

Miles loves his former school, and he doesn't mind saying that. It also doesn't necessarily mean he wants to go coach there.

But if I was an LSU fan I might be angry if I read my coach saying the following:
“Let me tell you the history,” Miles said after bringing up the winged helmets of Michigan on Wednesday. “Historically, they raised that area on the helmet to provide an extra cushion for contact. They raised it along the crown of the helmet. They raised it along the forehead and they raised it in areas where specific contact would’ve taken place with the head."

It's a harmless comment to me as were Miles other comments early this season about how the "Maize and Blue" would bounce back from that loss to Appalachian State. He threw out similar bouquets last season as the Ohio State-Michigan 1-2 battle approached. Again, I found it refreshing. But I could see where an LSU fan would be upset, especially with Michigan seemingly about to go fishing for Miles.

How many schools have won two national championships in four years and lost the head coach each time?

Miles is often saying how much he loves the LSU experience, too, but it is interesting that Miles has not come out and said he will be the LSU coach next year.

He has been asked that multiple times but avoids a direct answer as he often does.
He goofed Wednesday, though, and so did LSU's media consultant for not heading him off at the pass.

When asked for a second time about a possible Michigan opening, Miles said, "That’s the last one (question)."

Then he looked away, smiled and said, "Well, for now.”

Again that's a little too honest. I like it because Miles deserves a chance to look at an opening at his alma mater, where he coached twice and where his Michigan-born wife also coached basketball. It's where they met. It's home. This is America. He can look if he wants to, and he can take it if he wants to.

But if I'm an LSU fan, I might be pretty upset, especially this season. It would be one thing if this was just another bowl season. This is a national championship season, and your coach is kissing Michigan!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Smell the roses

BATON ROUGE - It is the media's job to point out the negative at times, and that has been done as far as the 2007 LSU football season is concerned. Funny thing about LSU sports, though, the fans are as critical as any fan base and often more critical than the media.

LSU is 9-1 and three winnable games away from playing for its second national championship in four years. It doesn't get much better than that and might not for a long time. Yet I constantly hear people complaining about LSU's penalties and why Keiland Williams or Charles Scott do not play more or how the coaches almost blew the Auburn game with faulty clock management.

After the 58-10 win over Louisiana Tech Saturday that made LSU No. 1 in the nation following Ohio State's loss, a fan came up to me and asked me what was wrong with LSU's kickoff coverage unit. That unit did show some vulnerability against Tech, but what is going on around here?

Do many LSU fans think they're a bunch of movie critics are what? "Yes, LSU is 9-1, but the lighting in the Florida game was far too grainy. And I wish Jacob Hester would pull his socks up."

YOU'RE NUMBER ONE! YOU'RE 9-1! Enjoy it. You're two easy wins away from being 11-1. If you get by Tennessee or Georgia in the SEC championship game, your next opponent will likely not be as good as your previous one.

It's time to smell the roses. No one knows how long this will last. The last three recruiting classes have been good, but they have not been great like the three before them. LSU could well be an 8-4 or 9-3 team next season. Who knows? LSU could be looking for a new coach two months from now.

And think about Notre Dame, Nebraska and Miami. It wasn't long ago those teams were national powers. They're horrible now. It can turn either way in a minute.

Enjoy it while you have it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


I just came across this column from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and it got me to thinking.

Is LSU the least respected No. 1-ranked team in recent college football memory?

Granted some of those Ohio State teams of the Craig Krenzel era weren't overwhelmed with respect.

But it seems like everyone wants a piece of LSU these days.

And it's not just in Atlanta. The folks over in Mississippi are talking upset too.

Granted, a loss to Kentucky isn't the norm for a No.1-ranked team. But the Wildcats were ranked, playing at home and needed three overtimes to win.

LSU's sloppy play at Alabama and close calls with Auburn and Florida have seemingly erased the memory of Virginia Tech.

The only way LSU will regain that respect is to return to the form of the season's first month. And with the loss of Charles Alexander on the defensive front and playing without linebacker Darry Beckwith this week, it may not be that easy.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Isn't that special?

So Ole Miss coach Ed Orgeron reinstates defensive end Greg Hardy just in time for his school's games with is two biggest rivals.

Call me a cynic, but this reeks of Florida coach Urban Meyer. Remember, it was just a year ago that Meyer suspended defensive tackle Marcus Thomas and then,conveniently, reinstated Thomas for the LSU game.

Look, I understand coaches are free to discipline as they want. But I'd be more impressed if Orgeron hadn't suspended the guy in the first place. As it is, the move smells of a coach desperate for any win to make his program.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

How about this scenario?

Here is an interesting secnario for the BCS.

On Dec. 2, LSU is No. 1 in the polls, followed by Oregon and Oklahoma. But the BCS rankings - with its computers as well as its human polls -- spits out Oregon at No. 1, Oklahoma at No. 2 and LSU at No. 3.

Oregon beats Oklahoma in the BCS title game. LSU romps in the Sugar Bowl. Oregon is the BCS champion but AP votes LSU as its champion.

Sounds crazy,doesn't it? Except it's the exact thing that happened to USC in the 2003 season.

Maybe that scenario will cause some LSU fans to appreciate their 2003 crown without worrying so much about USC's "share''of the championship.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Tiger Nation welcomes a 'breather'

BATON ROUGE - In the storied, colored and often successful history of LSU football, there has never been a month like the one past.

A 28-24 win over No. 7 Florida, a 30-24 win over No. 18 Auburn and a 41-34 win over No. 17 Alabama all with thrilling fourth-quarter comebacks. Even the lone loss was pretty -a 43-37 setback in triple overtime at No. 17 Kentucky.

LSU, which has been in the top five all season, is No. 2 in the nation with an 8-1 record. With a win next week at Ole Miss, it will be 6-1 in the Southeastern Conference and clinch the West title. Not since 1959 has LSU been ranked so high for so long.

But everyone needs a break from the thrillers. This would be an excellent game to play a lot of players and get injured guys like defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey out early or not play him at all on his sprained right knee. It would be nice to have a game decided by halftime.

"It's about time for us to stop cutting loose with the close games," offensive tackle Carnell Stewart said.

On the surface, it looks like Louisiana Tech (4-5, 3-3 Western Athletic Conference) could provide that Saturday night at homecoming. The Bulldogs are 36-point underdogs.
Beware, however. Tulane looked much like the part back on Sept. 29 and took a 9-7 lead late in the second quarter before succumbing 34-9.

"Everybody thought we were going to walk all over Tulane, and we didn't," Dorsey cautioned.

He has a valid point. Tulane was as high an underdog as Tech, but Tech is obviously better than Tulane. First-year coach Derek Dooley's team nearly handed now-No. 14 Hawaii its only loss before falling 45-44 in overtime. The Bulldogs have two straight on the road at Utah State and Idaho and have won three of four since losing four in a row. They're hot. They have confidence. And they've been reading about LSU all week.

A close game developing would not be a shocker. LSU needs to make sure that doesn't happen by pounding Tech early with execution, avoiding penalties and a handful of plays instead of a huge bag of tricks.

That way, the Tigers can lower its nation's blood pressure naturally.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Recruiting talk

I'm looking at the Rivals.com recruiting rankings and a couple of things stick out to me right now.

One, is that Alabama is ranked third by Rivals. Apparently, it won't take Saban long to restock the cupboard. (But LSU fans take heart, Bama is not even No. 1 in the SEC. Georgia is No. 2 in the Rivals rankings.)

The other thing that caught my attention is that Texas A&M's class is ranked 13th, one spot ahead of LSU.

That has to be a minor miracle considering all of the dysfunction going on in College Station right now.

Prediction, whether Fran stays or leaves, LSU passes A&M in the final recruiting rankings.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

It's Tech week

BATON ROUGE - There's a feeling in the air. You can slice the anticipation with a knife. It's all over the LSU campus. It's all over downtown. You could feel it amid the 20 or so people at the LSU exhibition basketball game Tuesday night.

Yes, it's Tech week!

LSU hosts Louisiana Tech Saturday in one of the most hotly anticipated football games since 2-7 LSU (6-14 counting the season before) hosted Houston in 1999. There was so much talent on those teams left for the next LSU coach, it's amazing they weren't winning before he came along.

Tech is coached by Derek Dooley, who used to be the recruiting coordinator at the new LSU from 2000-04 before he dared to leave to go to the NFL. The mere mention of his name makes LSU fans foam at the mouth. They call him "Fooley," and "Satan II," and of course, "Nick Jr." There will be hateful T-shirts all over Tiger Stadium. The LSU players plan to give LSU coach Les Miles the game ball after the game to assure him that they are his players even though Dooley recruited many of them.

Will Miles and Dooley talk before the game on the field? Will they shake hands after the game? And will Dooley ask Miles to keep him mind for an assistant's job at LSU down the road should things not work out at Tech, like they don't work out for most Tech coaches? Dooley is now realizing the best years of his life were at LSU.

Tech-LSU. Enough said. It's clearly one of the best in-state rivalries in the country, right there with Evangel-Calvary. OK, it's not that bloody.

Tickets are going for $5, and I'm not talking about pairs either.

So much tradition. So little time. Who can forget the last meeting? Oops, I just did. Let me check. Oh, here it is. LSU 49, Tech 10 on Nov. 1, 2003. Such a memorable season. LSU won the national championship that year. So many memories. Yet, I forgot they played Tech.

And who can forget the game before that? Why, it was in 1941 - LSU 25, Tech 0.

Spielberg later made his worst movie about it. It was called, "1941." And it was bad.

Remember Tech's lone win in the series - 6-0 in Ruston in 1904? And Ruston has not changed a bit since.

LSU leads this series 16-1, but it has not been as close as that score indicates.
The Tigers have played many thrilling games this season. This is sure to be another one. Actually, Tech nearly beat undefeated Hawaii early this season and has shown progress under Dooley. If the Tigers can commit another 25 or 30 penalties, maybe it will be close.

Contact your local cable company if you want to see this one on TigerVision. Either that or if you have a dish, it will be on ESPN17.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Eyes on Texas

LSU fans may want to keep an eye on what is happening in College Station these days.

The talk in Texas is that Aggies coach Dennis Franchione is working on a buyout of his contract as head football coach at A&M.

The other talk is that Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville is the top target should Franchione be gone.

This is not good news for LSU on a couple of fronts.

1) Under Franchione's watch, LSU and Oklahoma have enjoyed much recruiting success, particularly in East Texas.

2) Tuberville leaving Auburn would not be good for LSU because Tuberville will give Nick Saban a battle for the state of Alabama. A coaching change at Auburn would allow Saban to dominate the state. As it is, those two fighting over Alabama recruits is a good thing for LSU.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Fans should learn from players

BATON ROUGE - "After the 75th point was scored, the momentum had turned for the final time and four action-packed hours finally ended in bitter defeat, Alabama coach Nick Saban couldn't leave the field. Each time he'd turn away, there was one more former player to be greeted, one more old hand to shake. All the old Tigers stayed, and Saban, seemingly for the first time during Saturday's 41-34 loss to LSU, actually cracked a smile."

That was how sportswriter Gentry Estes' game story began in the Mobile Press-Register on Sunday.

"I just can't throw my feelings away for a lot of guys that I have relationships with," Saban said. "It just doesn't go away."

He actually did more than smile when he and LSU tailback Jacob Hester spoke. Saban, the defensive genius, laughed heartily after just blowing a 10-point lead in the final 16 minutes and 19 seconds, including an uncharacteristic 17 points in the fourth quarter.

Saban laughed heartily with and would later speak fondly of and wish good things for a team that handed him his first-ever loss in 14 seasons as a head coach in which his offense scored as many as 34 points. The previous high was a in a 30-25 loss to Iowa in his final game as LSU's coach in the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 1, 2005.

LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey gave him a big hug at midfield. Quarterback Matt Flynn put a hand on his shoulder. Defensive end Kirston Pittman hugged him. Ali Highsmith shook hands and smiled as did others. Even true freshman safety Chad Jones, whose sack of Alabama quarterback John Parker Wilson caused a fumble that provided for LSU's winning points, shook Saban's hand and Saban didn't even sign him.

All these LSU players, with the exception of Jones, looked like more than just signees of Saban. He was their coach at one time, and they were his players. And nothing can ever change that, no matter how much LSU fans hate Saban for leaving LSU and no matter how much LSU coach Les Miles seemed to hate him at times without ever having met the man in person. Never quite figured that one out because Miles should have been thanking Saban instead of cussing him. For had Saban stayed at LSU, Miles would likely still be at Oklahoma State making a lot less money and not having any chance at winning a national championship this season or perhaps in any season.

LSU's players know what Saban did for LSU even though LSU's fans want to forget it or revise it with silly statistics like the fact that Saban has only had only three seasons of fewer than three losses in his 14-year head coaching career - 1990 at Toledo, 1999 at Michigan State and 2003 at LSU. Nevermind the fact he's had exactly one losing season through all of those years and every head coaching position he has taken has been a rebuilding job. It should also be noted that the 1999 and 2003 seasons of fewer than three losses were at or near the end of his stay at those jobs, which means he accomplished the job. He actually was not bad with the Miami Dolphins either. He inherited a 4-12 team with significant salary cap issues and made it 9-7 in one year in the toughest division of the toughest conference in the NFL. He dipped to 6-10 last season, but 15-17 with a 4-12 product is not bad. Now, he may have foreseen what is happening to the 0-8 Dolphins now and hit the eject button.

Saban may make $4 million as Alabama's coach, but he inherited very little at each of his stops. With the exception of Toledo, which was 6-5 the year before he went 9-2, whatever talent he inherited had been losing. And Miami, LSU and Michigan State had been losing big time. Michigan State was also on probation. Miles, meanwhile, inherited perhaps more than any college coach in history when he walked into the new football facility at LSU in 2005. And he's doing very well with it all, but let's not canonize him just yet. He'll get his due when the time comes.

Saban is the highest paid college coach in America because Alabama thinks he will do what he did at LSU. He is the highest hated college coach in America by LSU fans because they fear that he will do what he did at LSU at a rival school that used to squash the Tigers on a regular basis.

Saban should have thanked the LSU players as well. For had they not played sloppily after taking a 17-3 lead and let Alabama back in it, the game could have been one of Saban's worst losses in his 14 years as a head coach. LSU could have taken such a big lead that Miles could have actually played ALL of HIS players.

Until next year and Saban Bowl II in Tiger Stadium.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

View from around the country

LSU's heart-stopping four game stretch of football games hasn't gone unnoticed nationally.

Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports has an interesting take on Les Miles and the Tigers.

And Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com wonders how long LSU can survive playing sloppy football.

It wasn't that long ago that LSU was given microscopic inspection only within the bounds of the state. The Tigers appear to have gone national indeed.

Saturday, November 03, 2007


John Parker Wilson stumbles, then scrambles for a 23-yard gain to LSU's 49.
Incompletion on the ensuing first down.
What a ridiculous game. The SEC has done it again.
On 4th-and-10, Wilson's pass is dropped by Keith Brown.

The Tigers needed some security and got it from Shreveport's Jacob Hester. He dives over from the 1 to give LSU the lead. 41-34 LSU in this epic.

Chad Jones busts through on the safety blitz and throws John Parker Wilson around like a rag doll. In the meantime, Wilson fumbles and LSU's Curtis Taylor recovers at Alabama's 3.
What an incredible finish to this game. Wilson had played such an impressive game, but he HAD to put that ball away with 1:39 left in the game.

The Crimson Tide take the ball at their own 32 with 2:40 left.
John Parker Wilson throws an incompletion on first down then is sacked on second down. The Crimson Tide better be careful, LSU doesn't need much time on the clock to score.

Early Doucet makes an nifty catch and run for a 28-yard touchdown with 2:49 left to help tie the game. This game is writer's nightmare! I've had 10 different story ideas get blown out of the water. Speaking of water. It appears the LSU Tigers walk on it right now.

Tigers face 2nd-and-10 at Ala 38


Ball on Alabama 46.

Gain of 13. Ball on LSU 49

Gain of 19 on crossing pattern.

Continuing his hot or cold trend, Flynn overthrows Keiland Williams on a screen pass.

LSU gets ball back at own 16 with 4:53 left. 84 yards from extending national championship and SEC hopes.

Any sort of time-consuming drive by Alabama ends this one.

Alabama is playing nearly flawless football while the LSU Tigers have imploded. A lack of discipline has reared its ugly head here in Tuscaloosa and Nick Saban has got to be snickering.
I do NOT want to be Les Miles if this score holds up.
Of course, Miles could just say, "Saban recruited most of these punks!"

Facing 4th-and-inches on its own 37, LSU tried to draw Alabama offside. Instead the entire front line moved for the Tigers. LSU argued the call and got a 15-yarder to boot.
Javier Arenas returned LSU's punt 61 yards for a touchdown and Alabama has another lead.

The Alabama quarterback was on the run and hit Matt Caddell for 41 yards. What a pass and catch by the duo. The player is under review. Shocker. EVERY play seems like it's been under review.
Get some glasses zebras!!!
The Tigers have been EXTREMELY lucky on these calls.

A defensive holding call against Chevis Jackson put the ball inside LSU territory, but John Parker Wilson was sacked on the subsequent first down to push Alabama back to its own 44.

At own 30 with 11:15 left.

LSU has taken 11 penalties for 101 yards and turned the ball over 3 times.
Alabama has 2 penalties for 15 yards and has committed 1 turnover.

Matt Flynn missed Early Doucet on 3rd-and-3 and Colt David boomed a 49-yard field goal to tie the game at 27 with 11:21 left.

Matt Flynn comes out and hits Demetrius Byrd on a 35-yard pass on the Tigers' first play of the fourth quarter. This kid has no memory -- a crucial attribute for a big-time quarterback at any level.

On the second play following Alabama's touchdown, Matt Flynn hits Demetrius Byrd in stride to give the LSU Tigers a 61-yard touchdown. LSU is back in it. Wow. This game is more turbulent than any ride at Six Flags.

The Alabama Crimson Tide have a 10-point lead late in the third quarter as John Parker Wilson hits Keith Brown for a 14-yard touchdown. Chevis Jackson's dropped interception could turn out to be the key play in this game.
The Tigers were in COMPLETE control of this game in the second quarter and then the wheels came completely off. Penalties, turnovers, dropped passes -- the Tigers are watching their national title hopes go down the drain with NO ONE to blame but themselves.

A personal foul after a decent Alabama run has put LSU in serious trouble. The Tide are on LSU's 15 with a first down late in the third quarter. The Tigers are killing themselves with penalties tonight.

LSU's cornerback dropped a sure interception down the left sideline. On the next play, John Parker Wilson picks up 13 yards with a pass and the Crimson Tide are inside the Tigers' 40.

Replay officials have ovedrturned two potential LSU turnovers in the third quarter alone. That makes three or four video reversal FOR THIS GAME. What are the refs on the field look at.
Thank heavens for video replay in HD!

However, LSU is still forced to punt.
What has happened to Flynn is amazing. In the first quarter he was a world beater. Now he's Rex Grossman.


Tide 3rd-and-13 at LSU's 40

Matt Flynn went from great to awful to worse than awful.
Alabama has NO running game and NO QB but is leading at halftime. How does that happen?
Alabama success IN SPITE OF John Parker Wilson.

Kareem Jackson gets hand on LSU kick. Bama leads at the half.

LSU catches a break as a pass down the middle is nearly picked off.

Matt Flynn has led the Tigers down the field in the final minute of the half and the Tigers have a legitimate chance to tie the game.
2nd-and-10 from Alabama's 29

John Parker Wilson threw into double coverage, but Keith Brown comes up with a huge catch in the end zone between Chad Jones and Craig Steltz.
LSU has self destructed in the final 10 minutes of the second quarter.

Alabama 2nd-and-19 at LSU's 29.
Can the LSU defense come up big again?

Kareen Jackson intercepts another short pass and goes 51 yards the other way. A 15-yard penalty on Jacob Hester gives the ball to Alabama at LSU's 20 with 70 seconds remaining in the first half.

LSU has a 2nd-and-10 on Bama's 31.

LSU faced third-and-13 from their own 14 and Matt Flynn hit Demetrius Byrd over the middle for a big gain and a first down. The drive continues.

Alabama held to a 21-yard field goal from Tiffin.

Timeout Alabama. The Tide's first of the half.

Obviously a crucial point in this ball game.

Matt Flynn shortarms a pass from his own end zone and is intercepted by Alabama at the 10. Bama is on the verge of tying this up.

The Crimson Tide punt after they had a first-and-1 past midfield. Great job by LSU's defense.

Rashad Johnson breaks well on a deep ball and intercepts Flynn in Alabama territory. Add a personal foul on LSU and Bama has it at its own 41.

What the heck? He's the one guy who can hurt the Tigers and they just let him go. Wilson hits him for a 67-yard touchdown pass.
Jonathan Zenon, thanks for playing.
17-10 LSU with 11 left in 2Q

The Shreveporter gives the Tigers a two-score lead. It's getting ugly. If Alabama has to rely on Wilson to rally the Tide ... it looks great for LSU.

The Tigers are an inch from taking a 17-3 lead as the first quarter comes to an end. LSU will face third-and-a hair when the second quarter begins.

Flynn picks up 8 yards and his hauled down hard as LSU is down to the 11. He is obviously OK.
Wow an Les Miles timeout that doesn't look so foolish.

Andrew Hatch looked like he was going to have to play quarterback, but LSU takes a timeout and Matt Flynn looks ready to get back in after not missing a play.

Jacob Hester lateral to Early Doucet on a reverse, who fired it downfield to Matt Flynn. Flynn was injured on the play, but the Tiger are down to Alabama's 19.

Chad Jones went free on a safety blitz and hammered quarterback John Parker Wilson and the Crimson Tide was forced to punt.
LSU takes over in wonderful field position at its 46.

Matt Flynn was nearly picked in the end zone on second down, but converts a wide receiver screen to Early Doucet from 11 yards out on third down to give the Tigers their first lead of the game.
What a perfect play call as Alabama brought everyone on a blitz. Flynn waited a moment, set up the screen in the slot and Doucet did the rest.

Chevis Jackson steps in front of Alabama receiver Matt Caddell along LSU's sideline to pick off John Parker Wilson. Jackson returns the ball to the Tide's 13.
Terrible pass from Wilson.

All-everything lineman Glenn Dorsey hits the turf in agony, but runs off the field after a few minutes of nailbiting for LSU fans.
It appears the Tigers have avoided a major scare midway through the first quarter.

Matt Flynn held onto the ball way too long and was sacked and fumbled on third down. LSU's Carnell Stewart recovers the loose ball and Colt David kicks a 43-yard field goal to tie the game.
It's not like Flynn was pressured from the backside to force the fumble, the Alabama pursuer was in his grill.

Matt Flynn has hit a couple of big passes over the middle and LSU is knocking on the door.

TV in Baton Rouge. Is this where Ryan Perrilloux is watching today's game.

Alabama is going to have to do its damage through the air. The LSU defensive line immediately met every rushing opportunity and John Parker Wilson was forced to complete crucial third downs to get the FG.

Leight Tiffin connects on 36-yard field goal to give Alabama a 3-0 lead after the opening drive of the game.

John Parker Wilson has complete two big passes on third down to extend the Tide's opening possession.


Wow, the people here love him.
Give them 5 years.

Wow. A pair a F-18s just rumbled over Bryant-Denny Stadium and rocked this joint. It's not my first flyover, but dang that was sick.
Oh boy, it's Sweet Home Alabama again. That's 2.

From the Bear Bryant clips to the Million-Dollar Band, Sweet Home Alabama and B-A-M-A cheer, Alabama has it going on during the moments before kickoff.
It's not just your normal pregame antics. The crowd is into every cheer and the band, dance line and highsteppers are enthusiastic.
What an incredible atmosphere.

They keep showing video clips of past Alabama action with audio commentary from somebody names 'Bear.' It's too bad they don't have better quality audio, Mr. Bryant sounds like he's mumbling.

How many more times should I expect to hear this song today? I imagine more than once.

Couldn't ask for a better matchup or a better day for football.

Greetings from Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, this is Roy Lang III. I'll provide some commentary throughout today's gigantic matchup.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Perrilloux paranoia proves LSU's power

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - On Thursday night, ESPN's nationwide poll question concerned LSU backup quarterback Ryan Perrilloux. You know, they put up the map of the United States and have red states for these votes and so on like in an election.

I don't remember what the question was. It doesn't matter. It was something about how much LSU will be affected by not having Perrilloux, who was suspended from practice this week and Saturday's Alabama game for his involvement in a fight involving more than 20 people at the Varsity bar near the LSU campus last week.

Perrilloux was not arrested and will return to the team Monday. Linebackers Derrick Odom and Jeremy Benton, neither of whom have played a down this season, were kicked off the team for their involvement. Odom was arrested for damage to property for the third time in three months. (Perhaps LSU coach Les Miles could entice a couple of recently out-of-work Varsity bouncers to walk on the team. Apparently, those guys like sacking quarterbacks.)

The total sports network was totally wrong on this one. Perrilloux is a spot player, a backup. Starting quarterback Matt Flynn can run very well, too. The loss of Perrilloux is not going to have such a newsworthy impact on Saturday's LSU-Alabama game unless Flynn is hurt. If that happens, then it's news. The continued suspension of five Alabama players, including two starters on an extremely thin offensive line and the second leading rusher, is more significant to the game. So is the health of LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey, who will play, though not at 100 percent.

It is interesting just how much attention this latest Perrilloux episode has caused. Often when papers are beat on a story, they try to make up for it by blowing it up when they do finally run it. The two largest papers in Louisiana were a day late on the story, which was originally broken by WAFB TV Channel 9 on Saturday.

There was a huge headline on the front of the Baton Rouge paper on Thursday over a story that closed the issue. This was way too much, particularly for a story that was nearly a week old.

But the story also drew huge national attention. At times, it rivaled the Pokey Chatman fiasco last spring.

Maybe this was because of Perrilloux's past. He was the No. 1 quarterback in the nation out of East St. John High in 2005. He has also been in scrapes with law enforcement over the last year. He tried to pass a couple of $20 counterfeit bills last year, according to legal documents obtained by Gannett, and was questioned by federal officials. He was cited by Baton Rouge police for trying to use false identification. He may have been at the scene of an earlier arrest of Odom over the summer.

It was a bar fight last week and no one was arrested at the time nor seriously injured. There was just a lot of pushing and shoving and everyone running up and looking like in one of those baseball fights. It was legitimate news for only a day or two. All the rumors and accusations about Perrilloux turned out to be either not true or unproven.

What this overblown story really illustrates is just how big the LSU football program is now. It was never this big. LSU won the national championship in 2003, but it backed into that game. It wasn't viewed as the best or one of the best teams in the country until the end of that season. It's been on top throughout all of this season and even before this season. LSU was not this big in 2004 either coming off the national title, because it lost two games early.

LSU is the glamour team in the country right now with USC out of the BCS picture. With glamour comes tabloid journalism.

Miles made the right decision in not letting Perrilloux make the trip here and letting him return to the team Monday. For all we know, the only thing Perrilloux was guilty of was defending his girlfriend. If he did something criminal, Baton Rouge Police would have arrested him. That unit is not as concerned with protecting football players as the LSU Police have been at times.

Had Miles let Perrilloux make the trip, the media circus will not be prolonged with Perrilloux on the sidelines Saturday. Or was that a good idea? If Perrilloux is with the team, he can be kept on lock-down and Miles will know where he is.

With Perrilloux back in Baton Rouge or home or in New Orleans this weekend, there's no telling what he might get into. And could there be ESPN Paparazzi hounding him?
Here's some advice, Ryan - stay home, watch the game and rent a movie.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Tuscaloosa no Manhattan either

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Greetings from the only town that could love Starkville, Miss., because without Starkville this would be the last SEC place you want to be on earth.

Red brick. That's all there is around here. Red brick. They must not think there's any other material with which to build. The campus is pretty, except for the strip that is kept about as clean as Bourbon Street. Without the University, this town would be Paducahville.

As soon as I drove in Wednesday I rolled down the window and smelled T-Town. "T" as in tar. It's awful. Traffic everywhere, too, and it's not that big a city. You know, like Baton Rouge.

Why bring this up? Because Paul Finebaum, a columnist in Alabama who is my idol, referred to Baton Rouge as a "toxic waste dump." That's not an inaccurate description, particularly if you've ever flown into Catfish Town from the west over Port Allen or driven in Gonzales on La. 30. It's a very industrial city, Baton Rouge. The air quality is not the greatest. There is cancer alley.

But hey, Baton Rouge beats the hell out of Tuscaloosa as a town. I've lived in both. Alabama may beat LSU Saturday, but it will have to remain in Tuscaloosa.

Finebaum is a hilarious columnist. But people, don't take him so seriously. He's goofing on you. And what does he know about beautiful towns. He once worked in Shreveport.