Whenever someone does something noteworthy, we always rush to heap plenty of praise on that particular athlete, coach, team, etc. However, we feel fair is fair and when an issue needs to be criticized, we usually don't hold back.
Well, here it goes.
We have taken our fair share of shots at the LSU Promotions Department. There has a good amount of praise coupled with criticism, but in this issue you won't find much of the good stuff.
First and foremost, we understand the importance of putting together promotions. It is important to try and attract fans to LSU sporting events that might not regularly come out to see a women's basketball, baseball or softball game. It is vital for the athletic department to try and tap into demographics not typically inclined to show up for an event on campus.
It is also taken into consideration how difficult it must be to come up with different promotions for so many different games in different sports throughout the year.
But there needs to be a line drawn somewhere.
In years past, attendance hasn't been all that great for women's sports on campus. Trying to attract a crowd at softball or women's basketball games has been a pretty tall task. But these days, with the Lady Tigers having reached the Final Four in each of the last two seasons and the softball team grouped in the nation's upper echelon, the demand for gimmicky promotions isn't all that necessary. The sheer talent of the team and dominance on the field is enough to attract fans by the thousands - most specifically women's basketball!
The Lady Tigers have been ranked in the top five most every week for the past three seasons. Crowds numbering over 10,000 have turned out each of the past three seasons to see the LSU women play ball. But as women's basketball grows from novelty into perennial contender, the promotions department has remained loyal to a number of ridiculously weak promotional stunts.
Just to give credit where credit is due, the ball exchange between a junior high basketball team and the Lady Tigers each game is great. T-shirt tosses are always a crowd favorite and arranged competitions at halftime are a hit.
But when the game is in full swing and emotions are high, PLAY THE FIGHT SONG!
Saturday with LSU fighting tooth and nail to overcome a halftime deficit against No. 15 Minnesota, the crowd worked itself into a frenzy as the Lady Tiger acme charging back. As the Lady Gophers scrambled to call a timeout, fans didn't explode into boisterous cheers to the tune of LSU's "Pregame March." Instead, the mob was serenaded by a 10-year-old boy, dressed in a horrendous maroon leisure suit, who belted out his rendition of YMCA!
If you missed it, there is no way you could have overlooked the same young man in the first half as he donned face paint and silver boots while singing KISS' "Rock and Roll All Night."
Yikes. It was bad and to add insult to injury, there is a good chance the nationally-televised CBS audience caught a peek as the network came back from commercial.
This was the same young man, as all fans remember, who sang Rocky Top from under a sheet while lying on a stretcher during last season's Lady Tigers/Tennessee contest. It was greeted with almost as much warmth from the PMAC crowd as the KISS outfit.
While this might come across as an attack, let it be said that most of the promotional giveaways and antics like the Frisbee dogs and the ever-popular "Quick-Change halftime stunts; they are all fine.
However, some of the other stunts are just downright embarrassing and something needs to be done.
Now for the rest of our rant.
To the LSU men's basketball team. Although the Tigers lost Saturday at UConn, John Brady's team continues to improve by losing 67-66 to the No. 2 Huskies on their home floor. Be patient, Good things are on the way.
Is there any doubt Darrel Mitchell is possibly the best big-game guard in the SEC. Saturday at UConn, Mitchell was 7 of 12 from the floor and scored 21 points with six rebounds.
To Tyrus Thomas. Grossly underrated, Thomas could be lauded as the SEC's Freshman of the Year by season's end. Wasn't that supposed to be Tasmin Mitchell? Thomas had 15 points and 13 rebounds Saturday at UConn. Oh, by the way, was it mentioned he had seven blocked shots as well.
To LSU al-SEC defensive tackle Claude Wroten. Just months away from becoming a millionaire, Wroten, who is a projected mid first-rounder in April's NFL Draft, was arrested last week for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. The word is Wroten will likely only get probation. However, will it affect his draft status?
To the Texas Longhorns. It what will go down as one of the most memorable games in college football history, Texas upset No. 1 USC 41-38 to claim the program's first national title since 1969. The Trojans watched a 34-game winning streak come to an end as Vincent Young scored two fourth quarter touchdowns to rally the Horns from a 12-point deficit.
To USC quarterback Matt Leinart. If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything. If the minutes after Young scored the game-winning touchdown, Leinart blurted into an ABC microphone that USC still had the better team, but made too many mistakes, which allowed Texas to win the game. Sounds like Leinart needs to swallow those sour grapes.
To SEC basketball. Before the season started, Florida was projected to finish last in the SEC East. Undefeated and ranked in the top five, the Gators have surprised many while the rest of the league has struggled. Even perennial power Kentucky has floundered already having lost four games, including Saturday's 27-point defeat at Kansas. It was the worst loss of the Tubby Smith era at UK, surpassing a 26-point loss, then the worst loss of the Smith era, earlier this season to Indiana. The SEC is likely to have only one team (Florida) ranked in next week's poll.