DEVILLE: Being ranked No. 2 good for everyone

Having a team ranked No. 2 in all the preseason polls and a favorite to play for the national championship is never a bad thing, right?

The Tigers preseason expectations have been good for everyone. LSU is included in every debate predicting who will win the SEC. When you turn on the television, you can't help but see something about the Tigers being preseason favorites to reach the BCS national championship game in New Orleans on Jan. 7.

You can't open a newspaper without seeing Les Miles being quoted or Glenn Dorsey's name added to yet another preseason award watch list.

Being ranked among the top teams in the country is good for LSU, the athletic department, the university, the fans, the city of Baton Rouge – and Tiger Rag!

Tiger Rag magazine is preparing to enter its 30th football season covering the LSU Tigers. Never in the history of this publication has the "Bible of LSU Sports" received so much notoriety on the national level.

Granted, LSU hasn't been hyped this high in the three decades of Tiger Rag's existence. Sure, the Tigers won a national championship four years ago, but Nick Saban's Tigers didn't open that season with such lofty ambitions.

The media whirlwind following the 2007 version of the Tigers has engulfed our publication as well. Twice Tiger Rag has been mentioned in stories on concerning LSU's preseason hype. Tiger Rag has been represented on two nationally televised college football programs, including Fox Sports Southwest and the NFL Network. Radio stations reaching from the Pacific Northwest to Kansas City all the way to the Deep South have been ringing our phones off the hook here at the Tiger Rag office.

Our Web site – – is literally bursting at the seams. Our subscriber base has swelled some 35 percent in the last six months, and we have seen record sales numbers for the month of August from people flocking to the site, which is affiliated with People just can't get enough of these Tigers.

Needless to say, we feel the energy as the season draws near. I had an opportunity recently to get a firsthand feel of this energy.

Every August, I hit the speaking circuit. Alumni and fan groups across the South call our office wanting someone to visit their group to talk about the Tigers and what to expect for the coming season. Usually these calls come from within the state, but I have visited alumni chapters in neighboring states. In the past I have visited groups in Birmingham and Houston, to name a few. Already this August, I spoke with an LSU alumni chapter in LaPlace, La. Last Tuesday, my friend Don Tarver invited me to central Louisiana to speak to the "Old Timers" luncheon in Jena, La. - all 10 of them.

But I have to admit, no other group of Tiger fans has been more captivating than the Panhandle Bayou Bengals in Pensacola, Fla.

For the second year in a row, I was invited to the Florida panhandle to visit this spirited group of Tiger Fans. Over 100 LSU diehards packed the purple-and-gold-painted "Shooters Restaurant" located inside Cordova Lanes in Pensacola last Saturday night.

Here are some photos from last Saturday's visit with the Pensacola Bayou Bengals.

The smell of seafood gumbo and boudin balls filled the room as I was greeted by chapter president John Spurny. This hard-working Tiger fan coordinates the year-round activities of the PBB and does an amazing job.

I want to thank John and the members of the PBB for inviting me to again address their group. I had a wonderful time chatting with all those in attendance and look forward to making a return trip sometime soon.

If you're ever in the Pensacola area, you won't want to miss Jerry's Cajun Cafe and Catering located at 6205 N. 9th Ave. in downtown Pensacola. Jerry Mistretta and his staff make the best crawfish cornbread I've ever tasted.

So if you ever find yourself in Pensacola on a Saturday in the fall and have no place to watch the Tigers, go on over to Shooters and John and the gang will find room for you in front of the big screen.


Matt Deville is the editor of Tiger Rag. Reach him at

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