DEVILLE: Winning all that matters now for LSU

Gosh A'mighty! I thought a play on Ole Miss' famous "Hotty Toddy" cheer would be an appropriate way to describe what happened in Tiger Stadium Saturday night.

As I drove home from LSU's 23-20 win over Ole Miss Saturday night, there were several ideas I came up with to try and sum up the Tigers' near-upset to the Rebels.

 

"What?"

 

"Yikes!"

 

"Whatever it takes!"

 

"Did that almost happen?"

 

"A win is a win."

 

While the radio blared one LSU fan after another phoning into the postgame show to berate quarterback JaMarcus Russell, Coach Les Miles or the Tiger defense, it all became very clear.

 

It didn't matter how LSU won that game on Saturday. Sure, the home fans didn't want the Tigers to need overtime to beat the lowly Rebels from Ole Miss. Besides, it was a home game, wasn't it? Every game LSU has played within the confines of Tiger Stadium has been a blowout. All except the Alabama game were virtually over by halftime.

 

Fans were looking forward to watching Russell and Co. roll up a hefty halftime advantage so they could return to the sanctity of their tailgate parties or beat the postgame traffic home.

 

Sure, LSU looked absolutely awful versus a horribly outmatched Ole Miss team, but at this point, a win was all they needed.

 

With Arkansas beating Mississippi State on Saturday, the Razorbacks locked up the SEC Western Division title. Hog fans can now book their hotel rooms in Atlanta because Houston Nutt's Razorbacks will play Florida in two weeks for the SEC title.

 

LSU isn't going to win the SEC title, nor the national championship, so you can toss style points right out the window.

 

The important thing is the Tigers won the game. Period.

 

Winning is all that matters right now. Miles and the Tigers need to stockpile as many victories as possible in hopes of possibly grabbing a BCS at-large berth. As I said last week, LSU has a good shot at one of those bowl games if they continue to win. With Friday's date with the Razorbacks in Little Rock, a win would propel LSU even higher in the BCS poll.

 

With Rutgers losing to Cincinnati last Saturday – in embarrassing 30-11 fashion, I might add – the Tigers climbed into the Bowl Championship Series' top 10. One has to imagine a win over the SEC title-game-bound Razorbacks would surely bolster LSU's BCS stock even more.

 

First and foremost, LSU needs to beat the Hawgs in the Rock on Friday. A little help from Nevada (who needs to beat Boise State to knock the Broncos out of the BCS at-large mix) and the Tigers could be revisiting the BCS' inner sanctum for the first time since winning the 2003 National Championship in the Sugar Bowl.

 

So, for you folks out there who were fit to be tied leaving Tiger Stadium Saturday night – settle down. LSU was due for one of these games, one of those absolutely awful performances that in past years have produced an "L." Remember Tulane in 1982, Miami (Ohio) in 1986, or UAB in 2000? The difference in this miserable showing is that LSU won the game.

 

 

Last weekend was one of my favorites of the year.

 

It was LSU-Ole Miss weekend, and that meant a mingling of Tiger and Rebel fans at parties and tailgate gatherings.

 

I want to pass on thanks to Brent and Laura Lancaster for hosting another outstanding LSU-Ole Miss weekend of festivities. Brent Lancaster, who is a Louisiana Tech alum but a Baton Rouge native, cheers hard for the Tigers. Laura, a Baton Rouge native and Parkview Baptist alum, is an Ole Miss grad and pulls against the Tigers only one weekend out of the year.

 

The Lancasters invited both Tiger and Rebel fans into their home on Friday night before the game for an evening of good-natured ribbing. The party was complete with LSU and Ole Miss flags flying outside, as well as specially ordered cups brandished with "Geaux Tigers" on one side and "Hotty Toddy" on the other.

 

The tailgate party Saturday was complete with two tents – one decked out in purple and gold, the other red and blue (including tablecloths and flower arrangements, but no crystal chandelier, a la The Grove).

 

It was a grand gathering as the LSU fans gave the Rebel fans a hard time. However, the Ole Miss faithful nearly had the last laugh as LSU needed overtime to turn back the Rebs.

So Brent Lancaster gets to continue flying his purple and gold flag proudly in front of their home. For Laura, there is always next year.

 

 

One more item of business.  For those of you who enjoyed Glenn Guilbeau's column in Tiger Rag, you'll have to wait until football season is over to read it again.

 

Last week, a bizarre chain of events led to New Orleans Times-Picayune writer Jim Kleinpeter being dismissed as a voter on the Associated Press college football poll.

 

Kleinpeter mistakenly thought Oklahoma had lost to Texas Tech, thus Kleinpeter dropped the Sooners to No. 24 in his poll. OU actually won the game, and the mistake was caught and corrected by the AP.

 

However, the AP then revoked Kleinpeter's voting privileges and named Guilbeau the new regional voter for the poll. AP guidelines indicate Guilbeau can't write for an independent or fan magazine-type publication like Tiger Rag while voting on the poll.

 

And so, Guilbeau must refrain from writing his weekly SEC Behind the Scenes column until after LSU's bowl game.

 

See you in January, Glenn.

 

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Matt Deville is the editor of Tiger Rag magazine. Reach him at matt@tigerrag.com.


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