Taking perspective on the Sugar Bowl

With two early road losses in the season Les Miles and the LSU Tigers still managed a fourth-place finish in final BCS standings behind Ohio State, Florida and Michigan.

For their efforts, the Tigers were rewarded a trip just over 60 miles from Tiger Stadium and will play the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame on Jan. 3 in New Orleans. The matchup should provide plenty of story lines to generate interests, including the home town Tigers playing in the first Sugar Bowl in the Superdome since Hurricane Katrina.


 "We are doing this for the state," senior receiver Dwayne Bowe said. "After what Katrina did to this city, we are going to put on a show."


Throughout the week, several media outlets had reported LSU was a lock for the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Ca. Over 40,000 tickets were pre-sold for the likely contest against Michigan, but USC crashed the Tigers Rose Bowl hopes with a 13-9 loss to UCLA in the vary venue. 


LSU coaches, players and fans were still hopeful for a trip to the west coast Sunday evening, even though quarterback JaMarcus Russell said it was fun to watch USC lose the day before.


"You could say there were some disappointment," junior defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey said. "We were looking forward to possibly going to the Rose Bowl and seeing the west coast. We are still very fortunate to be in the situation we are in. Last year we didn't even get a BCS bowl so it's a great opportunity to show on a national level what we can do."


Many players were disappointed when they were not selected by the Rose Bowl, but all said they were excited to be playing at home in New Orleans. Some family members were concerned they would not be able to attend the Rose Bowl due to financial reasons, but a bowl in New Orleans changed that.


"It's a win-win situation. We wanted to go to the Rose, but now we get to play at home in front of our fans," Bowe said. "It's a great feeling. I just hope I am not nervous. There is going to be a lot of eyes watching because my job is to catch the ball and make plays."


The last time the Tigers played in the Sugar Bowl was in 2003 for the national championship against Oklahoma. LSU won that game 21-14 with many players still remaining from the championship squad, including Russell.


"It was a lot of fun to go out and win a national championship," Russell said. "This time it is not a national championship, but it is a championship for us. It's a great opportunity for us to go out and show that we are one of the greatest."


Players that were freshmen or redshirt freshmen would have been members of the 2003 squad. Many players still remember the excitement of the contest and are looking forward to a comparable experience.


"Its going to be a special game for us especially since the hurricane and us winning a national championship their a few years ago," senior receiver Craig "Buster" Davis said.

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