DEVILLE: Down time leads to lots of research

To say things are slow in the world of LSU sports is an understatement.

In all my years of covering the Tigers, I have never experienced a more inactive period on the local sports horizon. With the LSU baseball team not making the postseason and in full-blown reconstruction, there is very little to talk about in Baton Rouge.

 

Other than the travails of Ryan Perrilloux, a few track tidbits here and there, and the conclusion of the Pokey Chatman saga, there isn't much to discuss.

 

So when things do slow down, the one topic that folks inevitably return to is LSU football. There is a buzz surrounding Les Miles and his Tigers as they get ready for the 2007 season. Some preseason publications are already on the streets, and many of them have LSU ranked as high as No. 2 in the nation behind the USC Trojans. One publication (Lindy's) has Miles' Tigers picked to play USC in the BCS National Championship game in New Orleans.

 

It's pretty easy to assume that LSU is poised for a big year in 2007.

 

But even with all of that hype, I was scrambling for content for our June issue of Tiger Rag. This issue typically chronicles the postseason for the LSU baseball team. That hasn't been the case now for the second June in a row.

 

One good outcome from things being slow is the fact I have gotten the opportunity to travel a bit. In May my wife, Beth, and I celebrated our one-year anniversary with a cruise to the Caribbean. It was nice to recharge the batteries on the high seas.

 

Earlier this month, I had the chance to attend the national Scout.com convention. Our Web site, TigerRag.com, is associated with the Scout network, and it was good to get the opportunity to mingle with other Web site publishers from around the country.

 

While I was there I thumbed through several other publications from around the country and eventually came across Inside Texas, Tiger Rag's sister publication in Austin.

 

Their summer issue was dedicated to the history of Texas football. Inside, the staff outlined the top players and moments in Longhorn history.

 

I thought it was a great idea, especially since there is very little happening right now.

So upon returning to Baton Rouge, I put together a list of categories in which I would compile the top people and moments in LSU history.

 

Unfortunately, I had no idea just how difficult all of this would be. Being only 30 years old, I am pretty well-read on the past few decades of LSU football. But I am a little in the dark about items dating back to the McClendon era and before. Besides a stack of media guides and Pete Finney's book "The Fighting Tigers," I was lacking in insight.

 

So I called up someone I thought was perfect for the job. Marty Mule' has covered the Tigers for four decades and is probably one of the most well-versed historians on LSU football there is.

 

I e-mailed the list of topics to Marty and he went to work. A few days and two sleepless nights later, Marty e-mailed his selections to me. I read through pages of information then called the former Times-Picayune sports writer for a lengthy conversation concerning his picks.

 

I then compared his list to mine, and I was able to make some interesting observations. Marty, who is 34 years my senior, tended to recall moments from years past as the greatest. I, being most familiar with the past 25 years or so, tended to choose those moments from the more recent past.

 

It is all subjective, really. I mean, how can you really judge how one moment is better than another, especially since they are from different eras? So I merged our lists together to form what I feel is as complete and objective a list of historical facts as you will find.

I would like to thank Marty as well as my boss, Jim Engster, for their help. I couldn't have done it without their insight, direction and detailed input.

 

In this issue, we spotlight the Top 10 players, teams, games, bowl wins, road wins, individual performances and so on. Also, we expound on the best pro players to come from LSU, the worst moments, controversies and much, much more.

 

We hope you enjoy our lists, and we encourage you to e-mail any comments you may have about our picks or special moments that you feel might have been omitted.

 

In our next issue in July, we will wrap up the 2006-07 sports year with our annual "Tiger Rag Year in Review." Then we get ready to unveil our "2007 Tiger Rag Football Preview" and begin our weekly production schedule as Les Miles and the Tigers report for August practice.

 

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


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