TIGER RAG VIEWPOINT: Where do we stand?

Someone, at some point, told Ashley Simpson she had talent. <br><br> What was that person thinking?

If you missed the halftime show of the FedEx Orange Bowl, you could have missed possibly the most horrific (or hilarious) moments in television history. Speaking of horrific, how about the game itself?


Since we last visited, the Tigers hired a new football coach, the basketball team continued its customary January slide and the LSU women tasted defeat for the first time. Auburn is feeling jilted, Nick Saban said his final goodbye to Baton Rouge and Louisiana lost a legend.


It is all here in this week's Where Do We Stand?






First and foremost, congratulations to Pete Carroll and the USC Trojans. For those of you who don't know, USC ranks right up there with Texas on my list of least favorite teams. But the Trojans get all the respect in the world here for a 55-16 shelling of Oklahoma in the FedEx Orange Bowl. Oklahoma layed an…. Nah too easy, more on that in a minute. USC dominated the game in every aspect and even though I think Auburn would have given the Trojans a better game, it is pretty much certain no one could have beaten Southern Cal on this night. It was reminiscent of Georgia's thrashing of LSU earlier this season. While I don't think USC is as good as they played against the Chokers (er) Sooners (a la the Bulldogs over LSU), you have to hand it to Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Matt Leinart and his five TD passes.





With that being said, how bad must it be right now to be an Oklahoma Sooner fan? Embarrassed a year ago in the Nokia Sugar Bowl by underdog LSU, the Sooners were handed defeat (this time much worse) by USC in their second straight national title game appearance. Oklahoma, who was picked by a number of national scribes and analysts, rolled over and played dead again turning the ball over four times in the first half en route to a woodshed beating at the hands of USC. While Oklahoma is still a very good team with great players, the Boomer Sooners did their best impression of Nebraska 2001 totally screwing up the BCS reaching a title game in which they didn't deserve to play. Leave it to the Big 12 to continually scramble the system.




While we are on the subject, let's keep it here. Ashley Simpson…. Enough said. Goodness gracious, don't you have to be talented to be considered an entertainer. After Simpson pulled a Milli-Vanilli on Saturday Night Live, the younger sister of Jessica Simpson graced the stage of the halftime show for the Orange Bowl. Greeted with a chorus of boos, Simpson followed up equally awful acts by Kelly Clarkson and Trace Atkins with a horrendously pitiful display of her song "Scream." While Clarkson and Atkins (both of whom ARE talented) can blame their individual disasters on technical problems, Simpson, whose background music was not in sync with her own voice, was bad on her own merit. As the younger sister of a superstar, Simpson's father, Joe, has pushed his other (less talented) daughter into a spotlight she shouldn't be in. Joe Simpson has outdone other notoriously psycho parents – namely Earl Woods (Tiger) and Richard Williams (Venus &Serena), however their children have talent – and humiliated his youngest child in front of millions of people. Her performance was so bad, the boos that followed made even this writer blush.




To the LSU Lady Tiger basketball team. After shouldering their first loss of the regular season in a 51-49 defeat at Rutgers, LSU responded with a 76-52 thrashing of Georgia in front of 10,624 fans at the Pete Maravich Center. A bit of a scary moment, junior guard Seimone Augustus, who led the Lady Tigers with 22 points, left the game and went to the hospital with a bruised elbow.




While the Lady Tigers continue their meteoric rise to the forefront of women's college hoops, the LSU men are quickly sinking in the quicksand that is the 2004-05 season. John Brady's team has lost four of their last five games, most recently games at Alabama and Utah and are showing no signs of improvement with games at Kentucky and Mississippi State on the horizon. In the wake of Saturday's loss to Alabama, Brady sounded as if he was trying to convince even himself that his team isn't as bad as they are playing, when he said, "I think we have a good team. There are just critical moments, parts of the game, where we give up second-chance opportunities and too many easy baskets."





To Nick Saban, who isn't usually a guy likes to wait around on anyone, for coming back to Baton Rouge Friday for his scheduled public appearance, a book signing for his latest book "How Good Do You Want To Be?" Saban turned out and was met by hundreds of ardent LSU admirers, who waited for hours to get the coach's John Hancock on a copy of the book. Barnes and Nobles reportedly sold 30 copies of the book, which proceeds go to the Children's Miracle Network.





To the UConn Lady Huskies. With a chance to tie or win a game with Tennessee with three free throw attempts on Saturday, Ann Strother missed two of three attempts as the Lady Vols ended a six-game losing streak to Connecticut with Saturday's 68-67 win in Storrs. Strother heaved up a desperation three-pointer with four seconds left. The shot was off the mark, but she was fouled in the process. Two of three would have sent the game to overtime, but Strother pulled an Oklahoma and choked her way to missing two of three.

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