The silk-stocking school in
More importantly, they inflicted major—and lingering—defeats on each other. Losses that sting each other to this day, like the 1982 stunner when Tulane upset Orange Bowl-bound LSU 31-28, or when LSU upset the Green Wave 21-0 in 1948, knocking Tulane out of the Sugar Bowl and taking the berth for itself.
Post-game fights in their respective stadiums were the norm.
It took decades to fall apart,
beginning when Tulane dropped out of the SEC, but the upshot is these natural
rivals are no longer really rivals. The situation leaves LSU with no rival—a
team fans love to beat just for the pleasure of beating—to look forward to any
longer. Ole Miss has fallen by the wayside;
Former SEC commissioner Roy Kramer
tried to force
Kramer once pointed out that,
although it took a while, the death of the animus between the schools was
destined once Tulane left the SEC. "If you look at, say,
Tulane and LSU, each other's oldest rival, have played twice in the last 10 years, and nobody really cares. It should be a series that has the same meaning it had decades ago. It's sad that it doesn't.
And LSU is as poor for it as Tulane.
* * *
Not to belabor the point, parts of
which will surely be the topic of conversation across
On LSU's field goal drive just before the half, Hester caught another pass and went out of bounds, where he was hit late by a defender. Fifteen yards should have been tacked on, but that call was ignored. Of course, then there was the obvious pass interference in the end zone, which replays showed an LSU receiver's arms being held by a defender. No call.
There's no use in going into the late pass interference—which, no doubt, will be sliced and diced all week long.
Rarely does any phase of the game, including players, coaches and refs, deserve perfect grades. We all make mistakes. And by themselves, none of those calls or non-calls should have cost LSU the victory. Over the course of a game, though, they wear a team down, by field position or frustration—just like Bear's old teams used to do.
* * *
These thoughts wouldn't be complete
without a salute to an old friend and a genuine
Nicholson, along with Grambling
coach Eddie Robinson, made the little, predominately black school in north
As his longtime friend R.L. Stockard, the first sports information director at Southern and, later, for the Southwest Athletic Conference, said in perhaps a bit of overstatement: "Without Collie, the world may never have heard of Eddie Robinson."
It was Nicholson, the first black Marine Corps combat correspondent in World War II, who came up with the concept of the "classic" game, two black schools playing in a big-market city where throngs of blacks without their own team to pull for could see a game themselves. Through that kind of national, really international scheduling, Grambling became "the black Notre Dame," a school for which blacks across the country without any real ties to a team could feel an emotional tie.
Nicholson also came up with the
wildly successful Bayou Classic, where the Grambling Tigers played archrival
Southern University in
"He was the ‘Man with the Golden
Pen,'" former Tiger and NFL standout Doug Williams said. "Here I was, a kid from
little ol' Zachary, playing in
Marty Mule' can be reached at MJM981@Bellsouth.net.