TIGER RAG VIEWPOINT: Where We Stand

In this week's edition of Where Do We Stand, we reflect on the Tigers most recent victory on the football field, a rare victory over the Florida Gators in Baton Rouge.

LSU did what it had to do to remain in the thick of the SEC championship race, but it did so kicking and screaming.

 

The Tigers committed five turnovers and were flagged 11 times in an ugly affair with the Gators on Saturday afternoon. While LSU was far from pretty on Saturday, even uglier was Florida's offense. Urban Meyer's Spread Offense has yet to catch on in Gainesville and Gator fans are most displeased.

 

While LSU running back Joseph Addai continues to gain notoriety within the SEC and LSU's Olympian finally found the end zone, some fans chose to display some rather immature antics during Saturday's win.

 

Between the lengthy commercial breaks during CBS's broadcast, you might have checked out some of the other action in the world of college football. They are dubbing the showdown in South Bend on Saturday as "The Greatest Game Ever Played." While we might agree with that, the wrong team came away with the win.

 

There was drama in the Big Ten while the evening schedule was dotted with one tense nail biter after another.

Is Alabama really that good? It didn't look like it on Saturday.

 

Fran Flory's Tiger Volleyball team finally returned home for an eventful evening Friday night. We'll separate the good from the bad as it is all here in our latest rant.

 

 

 Congratulations to LSU coach Les Miles on getting his first win in Tiger Stadium. Miles tasted bitter defeat in his Death Valley debut when his Tigers lost to Tennessee 30-27 in overtime. While Saturday's game was nothing to smile about riddled with penalties and turnovers, Miles was grinning widely as he led the team in the singing of the alma mater following the conclusion of LSU's 21-17 victory over Florida.

 

 

 About those penalties and turnovers. The Tigers gave it away five times against the Gators and were reprimanded 11 times for 84 yards in one of LSU's sloppiest games in recent memory. The Tigers fumbled three times and JaMarcus Russell tossed a pair of interceptions. Florida scored all 17 of its points off turnovers getting the luxury of the short field on all three scoring drives. LSU leads the nation in lost fumbles (11) and ranks 92nd in total turnovers.

 

 

 To Joseph Addai. Entering the season as a backup to Alley Broussard as LSU's featured "third down" back, Addai recorded his second straight 100-yard rushing performance (third of the season) and is averaging an SEC-leading 107 yards rushing per game. Addai is totaling more than five yards per carry compiling 537 yards on 105 carries and has scored six touchdowns.

 

 

 How about that Tiger defense? After LSU surrendered 560 yards of total offense (461 passing) to Arizona State in the season opener, a number of the arm-chair quarterbacks (err… arm-chair defensive coordinators) on the Internet were ready to lynch Bo Pelini. However, five games into the season, the Tiger defensive boss has his unit playing better than anyone could have expected in the post-Saban era. Ranked 117th in the nation after two games, the LSU secondary has risen 59 spots and is currently rated 58th in the country against the pass. Over the past two games, LSU has harassed arguably the league's best two quarterbacks (Jay Cutler and Chris Leak) into two of the worst performances by an SEC quarterback this year. Cutler managed just 113 yards through the air while Leak barely eclipsed the century mark (102). Not to mention, the Tiger stoppers are ranked No. 3 in the land against the run, giving up 69 yards on the ground per game and have effectively neutralized the league's top three running backs (Gerald Riggs, Jerious Norwood and most recently DeShawn Wynn).

 

 

 To LSU fans. For the second game this season in Tiger Stadium, LSU has been booed by the home crowd. At the end of the first half against Tennessee and with seconds left in the fourth quarter against the Vols, LSU fans booed coach Les Miles and the Tigers. Saturday, at the end of the first half with LSU leading 14-7, the Tigers had the ball on their own 20 with less than two minutes remaining. Driving toward the north end zone into an 18 mile per hour wind, Miles elected to run the ball and be satisfied with the touchdown advantage, rather than try and throw the ball into a pretty stiff wind. LSU fans felt otherwise and decided to boo the coach. While it may satisfy these fans to be allowed to voice their disapproval of the decisions being made on the field, it comes off as childish and spoiled to berate the home team – especially when they are WINNING THE GAME. We won't even mention the students that began chanting "We Want Saban" in the second half as LSU fell behind." GROW UP!

 

 

 Did anyone notice the man with the red hat and the headset standing on the field for long periods of down time during the game Saturday? That guy is in charge of letting referees on the field know when the CBS television broadcast is at or coming out of a commercial. Did it seem he was on the field an awful lot for LONG periods of time? We know there have to be commercials, but that turned a three hour game in a four-plus hour affair.

 

 

 To the "Greatest Game Ever Played." Or so that is what they are calling it. USC's visit to South Bend will be one not soon forgotten by college football fans. The Fighting Irish played inspired football in there near upset of the No. 1 ranked Trojans. It looked as if Charlie Weis' Notre Dame squad would register the victory, that is until USC quarterback Matt Leinart converted a fourth and nine from the Trojan 20 and kept it himself for the winning score as time expired.

 

 

 Or did Leinart score the winning points? ESPN analyst and former Notre Dame coach Bob Davie pointed out late Saturday night that USC should have been flagged 15 yards for leverage on the game-winning touchdown. Leinart's initial surge at the end zone from the one yard line was denied by the Irish defense. It wasn't until running back Reggie Bush shoved Leinart squarely in the back did the Trojan signal caller fall into the end zone on second effort. Was it a penalty? Absolutely. Do you actually think those officials would have thrown a flag in that situation snapping USC's 27-game winning streak? Enough said.

 

 

 There was high drama in the Big Ten on Saturday. Much like the Notre Dame/USC game, Penn State's visit to Michigan ended on the final play of the game. Similar to the famous LSU Turn Back the Clock game against Ole Miss in 1972, when the Nittany Lions broke up Chad Henne's pass with only seconds left on the clock, Joe Paterno and Co. thought they had extended their record to 7-0. However, there was one second left on the clock, which Henne used to complete the game winning touchdown pass to Mario Manningham for a 27-25 victory.

 

 

 Staying in the Big Ten, Minnesota may have won this year's award for the worst way to blow a win in college football. Leading 34-31 with just seconds remaining, the Golden Gophers were punting from their own five yard line. Minnesota punter Justin Kucek dropped the pass from center and scrambled for the loose ball. Instead of stepping back into the end zone and taking a safety (two points), Kucek tried to punt the ball away, which Wisconsin's Jonathan Casillas blocked allowing Ben Strickland to recover in the end zone for the Badgers game-winning touchdown.

 

 

 To Virginia. Celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the Tiki Barber-led Cavaliers victory over Florida State, Virginia relied on the right arm of Marques Hagans in leading the Cavaliers to a 26-21 upset of No. 4 ranked Florida State. Saturday's loss was long overdue for the Noles, which was underwhelming in its only quality win of the year, a 10-7 sleeper over Miami.

 

 

 Didn't drink the Alabama Kool-Aid? Neither did we. That whole "Bama is Back" thing on the cover of Sports Illustrated was another desperate attempt at trying to resurrect one of the storied old college football program's that had fallen from grace. Sure the Crimson Tide's 31-3 white-washing of Florida was impressive, but as everyone found out Saturday, the Gators aren't that great. Alabama needed a field goal as time expired to beat the worst Ole Miss team in a decade 13-10 in Oxford.

 

 

 To Fran Flory's Tiger Volleyball team. After 17 straight road trips, LSU finally got the opportunity to play on its home floor Friday night in the Maravich Center. The Tigers swept Miss. State 3-0 and followed it up with a 3-0 swep of Ole Miss on Sunday.

 

 

While the LSU Promotions Department did manage to attract over 3,000 fans to Friday's volleyball game with the theme "Party at Pete's Palace," it may have dropped the ball on the second half of the evening, most notably LSU Basketball Fan Day. When featured entertainer Mark Curry failed to show due to a missed flight, fans were left sitting in their seats for nearly 45 minutes while the planned autograph session commenced on the concourse involving the Tiger basketball players. Wouldn't it have been better to move the autograph signing period to the end of the evening and get the show on the road instead of having an hour-long lull in the action. The Lady Tiger basketball team was impressively presented by Victor Howell while the men were introduced by some other unidentified female emcee, whose name was even left off the university's press release. Why not let Howell run the show himself? A three-point shootout and slam sunk contest were on the docket of events as well. However, the three-point contest included fan participation (people want to see the players shoot, not fans) and the slam dunk contest was, of course, held until the end, which came at nearly 10 p.m. due to the delay. As advertised, one fan got the opportunity to win a 2006 Nissan Titan pickup truck by attempting to sink a layup, free throw, three-pointer and a half court shot in 24 seconds. However, the fan chosen was an 11-year-old who struggled to make even a layup. It seems more appropriate if one of the purple and gold clad students that attended get the chance at the grand prize instead. In the end, the idea was a grand one, but the planning and presentation left something to be desired.

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