It's funny how different a season looks at the end as opposed to the beginning.
Nobody would argue that LSU's 2006 home schedule was a back-breaker, but after the weekend it appears not quite as the barrel in which to shoot fish as before.
Alabama earned a lot of respect against the
Tigers, playing hard and well. In fact, I think, the Crimson Tide played better
in losing to LSU than Auburn played in beating LSU on the road the third week of
the season. The thought of a Bama win over Auburn
should fuel some of the long-shot hopes of Tiger fans still panting for a SEC
West crown, despite the fact that Arkansas now looks like the most complete team
in the conference.
And while Alabama was gaining
grudging kudos from the LSU faithful, there was Arizona, a 45-3 victim to LSU
the second week of the season, beating eighth-ranked California – the Wildcats'
second consecutive victory against a ranked team, having beaten Washington State
a week ago – and moving their record to a respectable 5-5. Also Kentucky, a 49-0 loser to
LSU a month ago, is now bowl-eligible after getting its sixth victory Saturday
The way Alabama struggled earlier in the season, and the way
Arizona and Kentucky looked against LSU, it's a little
hard to believe how these teams pulled themselves together for football
Kudos are richly deserved by all
* * *
Even harder to fathom is the fact
that after Saturday's 28-14 victory, LSU has now won six of its last seven
against Bama, and a historical benchmark of four straight. Neither had ever been
achieved before by the Tigers against the former ogre of the SEC.
For those who lived through the
reign of Bear Bryant, when the Crimson Tide won 14 of 16 against LSU, including
eight of nine in Tiger Stadium, the recent series brings home the realization
that nothing is forever.
* * *
QUIPS, QUOTES & NOTES – Here's
a question for the oracles of the BCS: if an unbeaten Louisville was worthy of
being considered for the national championship game, despite its Big East
pedigree and schedule, then how come Rutgers is not? After beating the Cardinals
28-25 Thursday night, the Scarlet Knights, from the same conference, with a
comparable schedule, are just as undefeated now as Louisville was when the
experts were falling all over logic trying to make a case for the
Next week's Ole Miss game will the
324th consecutive LSU game covered by Lake Charles American-Press sports editor
Scooter Hobbs. The streak dates back to when he was a student worker under
former LSU sports information director Paul Manasseh. . . . Here's how urban
legends get started and are perpetuated: On a New Orleans television station the discussion
was the late ‘80s movie (italics) Everybody's All-American (end italics), and
one of the anchors blithely said on the air that the story was based on Billy
Cannon. It, of course, was not. The movie was filmed at LSU and the central
character and football team wore Tiger uniforms and the crowds sang LSU fight
songs. But the story, in the novel on which the film was based, was set in
Carolina. If the protagonist was based on a real player
(and author Frank DeFord said it was not) it probably was the 1940s Tar Heel
great Charlie Justice. Chapel Hill was where
the producers wanted to shoot the picture, but UNC, sensitive about the issue,
refused to allow it. Oxford, Miss., was the second choice, but that also fell through,
which is how Baton
Rouge became the setting for the story.
The Tigers must have hooked
somebody outside the Pelican State. The LSU at Tennessee game pulled a
3.99 national household rating/share for CBS. It was the highest rated college
football broadcast for the network during 2006, and the highest-rated college
football game since a 4.4 for the, well, LSU at Alabama game last season. CBS is averaging 3.07 this
Do you think sportscaster Verne
Lundquist had a brain freeze during the Tennessee game? Talking about Chris Jackson's
fake punt for a crucial first down, Lundquist said Jackson, unlike many
kickers, is a real athlete. Making his case, Lundquist said Jackson was the starting
third baseman for Skip Bertman's baseball team. Bertman, of course, hasn't
coached LSU baseball for four years, meaning Jackson's athletic eligibility would be a
question – a real big question.
Marty Mule' can be reached at MJM981@Bellsouth.net.