GUILBEAU: LSU is No.1, paranoia and all

It is high time Louisiana State got over the "University of Louisiana." There, I wrote "University of Louisiana" and "Louisiana State" in the same sentence and Tiger Stadium didn't collapse. LSU people, grow up. You've just beat ULL, or USL, or Southwestern Louisiana Institute for the 21st time. What else do you want?

LSU's budget is about $30 million more than ULL's. How many stadiums do you want to ski behind?

 

If Gov. Kathleen Blanco, a ULL graduate, and her husband Raymond "Coach" Blanco, a high ranking ULL administrator for decades, want to let ULL fans tailgate at the Governor's Mansion, so what?

 

And by the way, the Blancos did not even attend this little gathering. Therefore, they didn't host it, because you kind of have to be there to be a host. They were visiting a grandchild in Minnesota.

 

And when they missed the LSU-Southern national championship parade in 2004, they were at a niece's wedding. Weddings happen nearly every weekend; National championships do not.  But she had a good excuse.

 

The way Blanco finally stood up to the greedy, swindling Tom Benson, where former governors Mike Foster and Edwin Edwards did not, I don't care if she comes to LSU games in a USC cheerleader outfit.

 

Huey Long was great, and he did a lot for LSU, but it is not written in the state constitution that the governor of Louisiana has to be an LSU fan.

 

Governors don't stick around that long. LSU will continue to be the dominant institution in the state even if ULL baseball coach Tony Robichaux becomes governor, puts LSU under the University of Louisiana umbrella and reappoints the entire LSU Board of Supervisors.

 

Get over it.

 

It amazes me how LSU people are so aggravated by ULL. I was sitting next to someone from the LSU athletic department during the Cajuns' NCAA Tournament basketball game against Tennessee several years ago. CBS referred to ULL as Louisiana, and you would have thought someone set fire to the LSU Student Union.

 

It doesn't matter.

 

ULL is a small school with big dreams. LSU is a big school with a little paranoia problem that often makes it look like a small directional school.

 

LSU should not concern itself with ULL or Tulane or any other state school. If LSU is truly a national athletic power and a great university—not necessarily in that order—and not just another SEC sports factory that has good runs every other decade or so, it needs to worry about what USC, and Texas and Ohio State are doing. It needs to upgrade its schedule, for one, and quit playing Appalachian State.

 

In the meantime, ULL needs to stick with a name. And that name should be the University of Louisiana, but it wouldn't change anything. It would only send a bunch of LSU fans to the Mississippi River Bridge.

 

 

MORE STATUES NEEDED?: On Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium, Alabama unveiled life-size statues of national championship coaches from its storied and distant past (that is growing more and more distant by the year). Coaches Wallace Wade (1925, '26, '30 national champions), Frank Thomas (1934, '41), Paul Bryant (1961, '64, '65, '73, '78 and '79) and Gene Stallings (1992) make up Rushmore South.

 

This is great, and unlike the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, they did some good planning. They left room for growth. There's a spot for another coach.

 

"We fully expect Coach Shula to be there pretty soon," said Thad Turnipseed, the director of capital athletic projects, which is a corporate way of saying head of the monkey bars.

 

I don't know if Thad just fell off one of the dozens of turnip trucks that roll in and out of Tuscaloosa, but Coach Mike Shula ought to learn how to beat Auburn first. He's 0-3 there, and if that keeps up, the only thing that will be erected for his Alabama career will be a tombstone.

 

There is no truth to the rumor that Alabama will be erecting statues of Gene Jelks and Mike DuBose on the dark side of Bryant-Denny in honor of the school's fine NCAA infractions tradition. Bryant could be moved over there, too, as he helped produce some of the most prolific cheaters in college football history – Charley Pell, Jackie Sherrill and Danny Ford, just to name a few.         

 

 

ROLLING ROCKY TOP: Rolling Stone magazine writer Janet Reitman is working on a piece on Tennessee football for an upcoming issue in late November or early December. She is uniquely qualified for the assignment, which already sounds like a good read.

 

"I've never covered college football or pro sports," Reitman said.

 

This is actually good because sportswriters often become one dimensional and can't see the stadium for the yard markers.

 

"But I have covered the military and written about the Church of Scientology," she said. "I like to write about subcultures."

 

Dammit Janet, if you're in the SEC, you're in subculture central, sweetheart.

 

You picked the right school, too. If you don't believe me, just read the words to "Rocky Top." That's all I'm saying.

 

(Other writers from the SEC notebook exchange contributed to this report.)

 

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Glenn Guilbeau covers LSU and the Southeastern Conference for Gannett News Service. Read him at www.LSUbeat.com  or in the Shreveport Times, Monroe News-Star, Alexandria Daily Town Talk, Lafayette Advertiser, Opelousas Daily World and occasionally USA Today. You can contact him at gguilbeau@gannett.com.


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