FEINSWOG: Glad I'm not a football player

Finally, after intense offseason training, two-a-days and hours and hours of repetition, the Tigers get to play someone else this week. In volleyball. Yeah, football is still two weeks out.

But LSU opens the 2006-07 sports season Friday when it is the host for a tournament with Rice, Nicholls State and Penn State.


And then there's the long-awaited matchup with Louisiana-Lafayette. That would be a home soccer match on Aug. 29.


Which won't be any cooler than the LSU vs. Louisiana-Lafayette football matchup four days later, because regardless of what I hear on the weather report every night, this feels like the hottest stretch ever. It's been a good time not to be a football player.


Which is why volleyball makes the most sense this week: It's indoors and it's always nice and cool in the Assembly Center. What's more, LSU's got a nice team and Penn State, ranked No. 2 in the nation, is worth the price of admission.


All that being said, I know, I know, you're waiting for football.


Last week, we had the pleasure of spending an hour with UL head coach Rickey Bustle for Sports Monday (Cox 4 in Baton Rouge and Lafayette and their respective surrounding areas).


Bustle didn't offer much about playing LSU. Certainly he knows playing such games is a necessarily evil for the haves and have-nots of college football. That game and his one at Texas A&M fill the coffers for UL in a big way.


Earlier this season there was some debate about LSU playing one of its non-conference games against Southern. I'm all for it for the same reason I'm all for LSU playing Louisiana-Lafayette. And all the other state schools on a rotating basis.


For starters, none of them will ever approach LSU. There will be some years when some team might be up (most likely Louisiana Tech) and LSU could be down. But year in and year out, LSU will always win its games against in-state foes by a lopsided margin. Such will be the case this year against UL and Tulane.


But because LSU will always be the dominant program in Louisiana and the only one that fills such a huge stadium with such a huge payout to its non-conference opponents, the money might as well stay in state.


Now, with the schedule going to 12 games, there will be years when the big guys will – as they have in the past -- have to fill in with the teams in what is now Division I-AA. Southern, McNeese State, Northwestern State and Grambling all fall into that category.

For example, LSU is scheduled to open 2007 with Appalachian State. Wouldn't Louisiana football be better off if that game were against Southern?




But that's another topic for another day. In the meantime, it's hot and LSU is getting ready for UL (in football). The Tigers held a "thud" scrimmage on Saturday, which meant no tackling, and the first time I'd ever heard such a term. I always thought thud was the sound you got when someone really did tackle you.


Speaking of thud, that's the sound I'm going to make in a couple of minutes as my rear end hits the La-Z-Boy. It's too hot to do anything else.


See you at the Penn State match.




Lee Feinswog is a Baton Rouge sportswriter and host of the television show Sports Monday. Reach him at (225) 926-3256 or lee@sportsbatonrouge.com.

His book, "HoopDaddy," is available at www.HoopDaddy.net.

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