Minds will wander in an open week

If idle hands are the devil's workshop, Old Scratch was churning out projects Bob Villa-style last week at the Tiger Rag office.<br><br>LSU's second bye week of the 2002 season left us with some time to contemplate life. Once we got tired of doing that after about 26 seconds, we decided to write down our random thoughts. Keep in mind it was Halloween week...

- The very badly needed makeover of the Pete Maravich Assembly Center has been the topic of conversations lately with basketball season starting this week for the teams of John Brady and Sue Gunter. The Tiger Athletic Foundation has a long-range plan that includes an overhaul for the facility, but most fans and interested observers feel the dome home of the Tigers should be top priority.


To expedite the project, I think the LSU athletic department needs to find a corporate sponsor for the building and award it naming rights. With no slight meant to the late, great Pistol (who I've read and been told had a wicked sense of humor), I'd suggest seeking out a sponsor with a tie to Louisiana's agricultural roots.


I like the ring of the "Le'Seur Petit Pois PMAC."


- After seeing the production before the New Orleans Hornets first home game, I'm thinking it may not necessarily be a bad thing that you cannot turn the lights at the PMAC off and on in quick fashion. Pre-game ceremonies shouldn't last longer than the screen version of "The Ten Commandments."


Seriously, I think the success of the Hornets could create a ripple effect that extends to LSU. Some might think the pro team will lure fans away from the Tigers, but I think anything that generates interest in basketball in Louisiana is positive.


Somewhere in this state on a desolate playground, there's a little kid shooting for a rusty rim with dreams of being a Hornet. Unless the NBA starts allowing third graders to make the jump from Pony League to the NBA, some of these impressionable kids will wind up playing college basketball. LSU could certainly be a good path for them to take on the way to the big time.


- As an observer during recent sessions of practice for the men's and women's basketball team, I don't feel it is a big risk to predict strong seasons ahead for the Tigers and Lady Tigers.


A key for John Brady's team will be fostering the growth of positive team chemistry throughout the season. That's not to say bad chemistry presently exists. It only means the influx of newcomers for LSU will force the entire team to go through an adjustment period.


We've all seen great basketball teams where the five players on the court seem to work together as one unit. Each one knows where the other four are to the point where you'd swear they have eyes in the back of their heads.


The Tigers aren't there yet but you've got to like Brady's track record for getting the most out of a group of players.


As for Sue Gunter's team, attention to detail could determine the difference between a good year and a great one for this very talented group of Lady Tigers. High-caliber athletes sometimes can rely upon their ability alone to carry them through games. Although LSU has arguably one of its best teams in the program's history lined up for 2002-03, the opposition they face won't permit any of the Lady Tigers to coast through a game.


Shooters, rebounders, ball handlers – finesse players and gutsy grinders: LSU has them all this year. If they experience good fortune in avoiding injuries, the Lady Tigers can figure into the national championship picture.


- If the cards don't fall in LSU's favor over the rest of the season to put the Tigers back in the Sugar Bowl, look for them to get a berth in either the Cotton or Outback Bowl. My cosmic reasoning tells me that a higher power has been preparing Tiger fans for these early-in-the day games with three Jefferson Pilot broadcasts so far this season.


Keep in mind LSU had a 1:30 p.m. start at Virginia Tech and will kickoff at the same time against Arkansas. If CBS picks up the Alabama or Ole Miss games, it will be a 2:30 p.m. kickoff.


A night bowl game might go against the body clocks of Tiger fans, but then again it always feels like nighttime at the Louisiana Superdome.


- Don't be surprised if we never get official word on the reason why Damien James chose to skip a week of practice. It might help to clear up some of the more ridiculous rumors out there, but LSU is covering its flank by ensuring James' privacy.


To do anything else would be a violation of federal law.


I applaud the team leadership for making a prompt decision upon the Tigers' return from Auburn. They could have very easily let the issue stew over the bye week, but the players in charge apparently had made up their minds and got an endorsement from Nick Saban.


One thing that stands out about this team is its solid chemistry. I don't know if other LSU teams that I've covered could bounce back from what happened at Auburn, but I guess we'll see if they can do just that at Kentucky.


- Some of the best nicknames I've heard for Kentucky quarterback Jared Lorenzen: The Round Mound of Touchdown; The Pillsbury Throwboy; Augustus Gloop (see Willy Wonka); Double Deuce and a Half; Kentucky Thunder; and the Real J-Lo.


- Following the Tigers' comeback win against South Carolina, Nick Saban said he talked to the team at halftime about the movie they has seen on Friday.


"We went to see this movie called ‘The Ring.' It's kind of a scary movie," Saban told reporters. "The players were kidding me because I kept jumping in my seat during the movie. I said to the players, ‘Can anybody make (South Carolina) jump like I was jumping?'


"…That little girl in that movie was pretty relentless about gettin' after people and it was making me jump."


Saban's comments led to the Tiger Rag staff wondering what other movies might be of similar use to the head coach and what exactly his halftime comments would be.


Jaws – "He had the Eye of the Tiger for 124 minutes."


The Godfather, the dead fish scene – "It's a Sicilian message. It means today we have to avoid the ‘Brook Trout Look.'"


Hannibal – "We've got to go out there and eat up Alabama relative to the way Lecter ate people."


- The popular line of thinking is that the powers behind the current bowl system will provide major resistance to any push for a playoff system for college football. But given the instability of certain sectors of the economy in recent years, who knows what the future holds for bowl games?


With the grim reaper showing no prejudice when it comes to business size, perhaps some bigger corporations will think twice before investing their marketing dollars in one of a growing number of bowl games.


If this results in the demise of a good portion of the lower tier bowls, then good riddance. Mediocrity is awarded far too much in the postseason as it stands right now.

Also, consider how many sponsor changes we've seen - in minor and major bowls - over the recent years. Perhaps the streamlining of the bowls will be followed by the realization that a playoff system would create more fan (and consumer) interest than say, the Boudreaux's Butt Paste New Orleans Bowl.


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