FEINSWOG: Wacky hi-jinx in the SEC

Think our world has gone haywire?

Here's proof: Vanderbilt is atop the Southeastern Conference football standings.


Granted, the season is only three weeks old, but any time Vandy is in the lead, well, things are simply out of whack.


Next thing you'll tell me is that LSU won't open its home season until Sept. 24.


Or that Oklahoma is 1-2.


Or that reality TV really attracts viewers.


Or that Southern Cal, the team that never gets its due from LSU fans, beat Arkansas 70-17.


Or that Rick Clausen starts at quarterback for Tennessee.


Or that not only is Vandy in the lead in one SEC division, Steve Spurrier is 0-2 in the other.


Or that people actually care what Donald Trump thinks.


LSU will, by the way, open its home season next Saturday against Tennessee, which was nothing short of disappointing in its overhyped game with Florida.


A 16-7 defeat ensured that the Vols' trip to Tiger Stadium won't be a marquee matchup of top-five teams; rather simply another chance for LSU to showcase itself on ESPN. ESPN will undoubtedly try to touch hearts with features, interviews and sideline reports tying in the Tigers with post-hurricane triumphs. That may be fine for its national audience, but here people just want to watch football.


What they'll see is a matter of conjecture.


Experts say a football team improves the most from its first game of the season to its second. Hence the seemingly unstoppable Arizona State offense. But what about LSU? It lost its tuneup game against North Texas, played and escaped Arizona State, but then had a week off. As a result, there's no telling what you'll see from LSU.


Same for Tennessee. Had the Vols won at Florida, you could bet the mortgage they'd be flat and still coming down off their high next Saturday. Now they've fallen to No. 11 in the coaches poll and are playing for their postseason lives.


LSU, rather, came away from the Arizona State game with more questions than answers.


What happened to its defense?


What defense?


Were the Tigers simply lucky because of TDs from a blocked field goal and a blocked punt?


Why were all those passes dropped?


Will opening at home so late in the season have them so jacked up they'll be out of control?


Or will they simply come out and steamroll Tennessee?


Under different circumstances, one in which you had some handle on the LSU team, you might say should the Tigers win this game with Tennessee they'd be well on their way to competing for the national championship.


But after playing Mississippi State, LSU has to face Vandy, Florida and Auburn in consecutive weeks.


This is from the SEC report:


"For a program that has slogged through 22 straight losing seasons, a three-game winning streak is cause for celebration. Vandy is 3-0 for just the fourth time since 1950."


Nope, things aren't normal around here and it's going to take a lot more than playing Tennessee to figure what the norm will be this year for the LSU football team.


No matter what, considering what Louisiana has been through the past three weeks, it sure will be nice to see the campus being used to stage a football game and all that goes with it.




Lee Feinswog is the author of "Tales From The LSU Sidelines," a Baton Rouge sportswriter and host of the television show Sports Monday. Reach him at (225) 926-3256 or lee@sportsbatonrouge.com.

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