December 26, 2004

Saban going to Miami

LSU football coach Nick Saban is taking the head coaching job with the Miami Dolphins. Coaching the Tigers in the Capital One Bowl on New Year’s Day will be the last time he sets foot on the field as LSU’s head football coach. Saban has done a tremendous job in his five years at LSU, rebuilding the football program, delivering two SEC championships, and a national championship. My fear is that it may be another forty-something years before LSU sees another national title, as the school goes through coach after coach after coach. Let’s hope the search committee can deliver in the same way it did with Saban.

We are sad to see him go, but understand that opportunities like coaching a premier NFL team do not come along every day. If Saban can rebuild a struggling Dolphin franchise the way he rebuilt LSU’s program, expect to see Miami in the Super Bowl before 2010. Our best to Coach Saban and his family, and our thanks for making it fun to be Tigers fans.

posted by retrophisch at 09:00 AM in LSU
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October 24, 2004

College football mid-season

Okay, so mid-season was really kind of last week, but whatever. The mind-boggling insaneness of the ranking system continues to annoy me. I am still waiting for a credible explanation in the sports press on why Auburn is not the Number One team in the country. The ESPN/Coaches’ Poll actually has them at #4—an 8-0 team behind Miami, which is 6-0. What kind of ganja are these people smoking?

Speaking of Miami, I still await a credible explanation within the sports press of why both Miami and Florida State are in the Top 5 in both polls. You’re talking about two teams that struggle against those football powerhouses of Wake Forest, Louisville, and Syracuse.

LSU played a pretty pathetic game against Troy State for their homecoming last night, eeking out a win in the final two minutes of the game, 24-20. This explains their drop in the polls by one notch. What the hell were the Tigers, doing, looking ahead to the game against football powerhouse Vanderbilt?

Oklahoma State, in the same division and conference as its Norman brethren, has only a single loss, and still gets no respect from the poll voters, staying at #20 in both polls. Once again, and with the examples of Miami and Florida State firmly noted, there goes the whole “strength of schedule” argument.

Wisconsin is receiving similar shoddy treatment at the hands of the voters: an 8-0 team from the Big 10, shut out of the Top 5 because of the blind Miami/Florida State Kool-Aid guzzling of the pollsters.

So, this week’s Retrophisch™ College Football Top 5:

  1. Auburn
  2. Wisconsin
  3. USC
  4. Oklahoma
  5. Georgia

Yeah, that’s right. I’ll put up an SEC championship contender any time against Miami or Florida State. The biggest game those two teams will play any given year is against one another.

posted by retrophisch at 09:03 PM in LSU , college football
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September 06, 2004

1-0, but no longer #3

It was a disaster. No, I’m not talking about Florida after the double-whammy of Charley and Frances, though that certainly qualifies, and more so. I’m talking about the near-loss by LSU Saturday night against Oregon State.

The Beavers were supposed to come in and give the Tigers a good go, but eventually fall to the defending BCS champions. Oregon State would have no such thing, and shocked LSU in to double overtime. And there but for the right-leaning foot of Beavers kicker Alex Serna—and I’m not talking politics—would have gone the Tigers’ chance at repeating as BCS champs. Serna missed three extra point attempts, including the one that would have sent the two teams to a third overtime, but instead won the game for the Tigers.

LSU had problems from the outset. For the second year in a row, the home opener was delayed due to a monsoon. This levelled the playing field as far as Oregon State was concerned, and they took advantage of it from the opening kickoff, when LSU’s Skyler Green fumbled on his own 25-yard line. The Beavers would eventually turn that in to six points; it was the first extra point Serna would miss.

The pundits of college football now point to this game as LSU being overrated as far as the 2004 season is concerned. I love my Tigers, but to be honest, I didn’t see a lot Saturday night that would lead me to believe otherwise. The two teams LSU had problems with last year—Florida, to whom they suffered their only loss, and Georgia—both host LSU in their home venues this season. If this was the same team from last year, I wouldn’t be worried. This isn’t the same team from last year.

I have never understood the recruitment and grooming of Marcus Randall as quarterback. Randall has never inspired confidence in his teammates, or the fans. Most of the time he has this deer-in-the-headlamps look on his face. His first-half performance was so bad that Coach Nick Saban had to put redshirt freshman JaMarcus Russell in to the game for the second half, and that poor kid was so keyed up he kept getting leg cramps and back spams. Yes, the Tigers sorely miss Matt Mauck, who, while not the athelete Russell certainly is, had all the leadership qualities one looks for in a quarterback. Randall has had three seasons to pick up on those qualities, and has failed to deliver time and again. Russell might grown in to the leader that LSU needs, but that will only come through playing time the Tigers cannot afford to give.

And that may be the problem with the 2004 LSU Tigers. Too many seniors gone, not enough left. Too many freshmen and sophomores on the squad, not enough juniors to balance it out. This happens in college football. Unlike the professional game, where players can be locked in to multi-year contracts, college football is transient, and it is coaching systems that continually win championships. Such systems, however, do demand certain types of personnel year after year, and LSU simply may not have said personnel this year.

So the Tigers win their first game, despite the fact that they shouldn’t have, and will lose their #3 spot in the BCS rankings. The AP poll already has them at #6, which, quite frankly surprises me. If the Coaches’ Poll puts them in roughly the same area, I expect they’ll end up at 6 or 7 on the BCS. In my mind, they probably don’t deserve to be in the Top 10 right now. It’s only the first game of the season. It’s only one game. But it could be the one game that determines how far LSU goes in the post-season, and whether they will play for another BCS title.

posted by retrophisch at 11:33 AM in LSU , college football
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July 30, 2004

Shark fishing

For my Tiger brethren, with thanks to Jason:

On a tour of Louisiana, the Pope took a couple of days off to visit the coastal area for some sightseeing. He was cruising along the beach on Grand Isle in his Pope mobile. Suddenly he noticed a frantic commotion just off shore.

A helpless man, wearing a Tulane jersey, was struggling frantically to free himself from the jaws of a 25-foot shark. As the Pope watched, horrified, a speedboat came racing up with three men wearing LSU jerseys aboard. One quickly fired a harpoon into the shark’s side. The other two reached out and pulled the bleeding, semiconscious Tulane fan from the water. Then using autographed Smoke Lavall baseball bats, the three heroes beat the shark to death and hauled it into the boat also.

Immediately the Pope shouted and summoned them to the beach. “I give you my blessings for your brave actions,” he told them. “I heard that there was some bitter hatred between Tulane and LSU fans, but now I have seen with my own eyes that this is not true.”

As the Pope drove off, the harpooner asked his buddies “Who was that?”

“It was the Pope,” one replied. “He is in direct contact with God and has all of God’s wisdom.”

“Well,” the harpooner said, “he may have access to God’s wisdom, but he doesn’t know squat about shark fishing. How’s the bait holding up?”

posted by retrophisch at 08:44 AM in LSU
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May 25, 2004

Tiger softball headed to CWS

The Lady Tigers of the LSU softball team have gone undefeated in regional play, and are headed to the Women’s College World Series! Way to geaux, ladies!

The first CWS game is this Thursday, at 11 A.M. CST, against Michigan. The game will be broadcast on EPSN. Geaux Tigers!

posted by retrophisch at 01:19 PM in LSU
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LSU #3 in SEC tournament

The LSU baseball team lost its first game to Ole Miss by a single run, then proceeded to clobber the Rebels in the next two games to secure a third-place seed in the SEC tournament, which starts tomorrow. Geaux Tigers!

posted by retrophisch at 01:15 PM in LSU
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May 17, 2004

Tiger ball rolling along

The LSU baseball team is 38-14 after yesterday’s loss to Vanderbilt. The Tigers have four games left before the SEC tournament, the last three against Western Division leader Ole Miss. The games are in Oxford.

The Lady Tigers softball team are the regular-season SEC champions, and they have won the SEC tournament as well. They are the number three seed in the 2004 NCAA Softball Championships. Geaux Tigers!

posted by retrophisch at 12:28 PM in LSU
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May 05, 2004

Tigers looking for another CWS bid

After their doubleheader sweep of Alabama this past Sunday, the LSU baseball team is 34-12, and looking at an SEC championship and another shot at the College World Series. There is still a tough month and half ahead of them, however, with only one non-SEC game in the remaining schedule.

Only three of the Tigers’ twelve losses have come at the hands of a non-SEC opponent, and LSU needs a strong finish against its conference opponents to win the regular season championship, and get the #1 seed for the SEC tournament. All in all, it appears that for now, Coach Smoke Laval has things well in hand.

posted by retrophisch at 03:36 PM in LSU
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February 26, 2004

Tiger baseball underway

One of LSU’s other national championship sports is underway, as the Tiger baseball team is off and running with a 6-1 record to start the season. Let’s hope the guys can get past the first round in Omaha come June.

posted by retrophisch at 12:45 PM in LSU
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January 23, 2004

The People’s Champion?

Okay, last post about the LSU Tigers National Championship football team…

There’s been a lot of talk about how USC is the “people’s choice” for college football’s national championship. Mostly, this talk has come from sports pundits who think the glitzy Trojans are all that and a bag of potato chips, to quote a bad Mike Myers movie.

So what did the people think? Well, let’s go to the Nielsen ratings for the week of December 29, 2003, through January 4, 2004, courtesy of EW, shall we?

The Sugar Bowl, featuring the LSU National Champions and those Oklahoma Sooners, was the #2 rated show of the week, with 23.9 million viewers, second only to the Cowboys-Panthers NFL playoff game.

The Rose Bowl, featuring USC and the Michigan Wolverines? Didn’t even register in the Top 30 shows viewed. The Orange Bowl clocked in at #8. The Fiesta Bowl came in at #9. More people watched the lame Michael Jackson special than watched the Rose Bowl.

Face it, USC-worshipping sports writers: the people have spoken, and their choice for college football’s national championship makes its home in Baton Rouge. Geaux Tigers!

posted by retrophisch at 11:29 PM in LSU , college football
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January 11, 2004

Jason who for the Heisman?

LSU's Vincent running against OU

Thanks to my sweetie for passing this on.

Many a Longhorn fan, upon seeing my LSU jacket, sweatshirt, or cap, has sung the praises of the Tigers for beating OU in the Sugar Bowl. Yep, that’s some rivalry between these two states…

posted by retrophisch at 09:23 PM in LSU
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January 04, 2004

National Champs

It’s taken 45 years, but LSU sits atop the ranks of college football’s elite. The cliche is that defense wins championships, and that was no truer than tonight’s Sugar Bowl, and LSU’s 21-14 victory over Oklahoma. The #1 defense in the country rose to the challenge and dominated Oklahoma for most of the game, putting up 14 of LSU’s 21 points, off of Sooner turnovers.

Oklahoma is to be commended for not giving up, for making the Tigers earn the title. LSU looked a little gassed in the 4th quarter, but they dug down and played their guts out to secure the win.

Having grown up in Baton Rouge from the time I was five, I didn’t have any professional sports teams to look to. For me, and thousands of other kids, LSU football, and later basketball and baseball, was where it was, and still is, at. That is one of the central reasons why I prefer collegiate sports over professional (hockey being the notable exception, but even there, the college game is great). I was going to LSU football games before I ever became a student at LSU. As a member of the Boy Scouts, we served as ushers at the football games.

Then to go to LSU for four years, being a part of that great tradition as a member of the honor guard presenting the colors at each game, and to see that it has finally culminated in a national championship for our school, and our state, is just a tremendous rush.

A USC-LSU matchup would have been nice; it was certainly the one I would have preferred, even if the outcome for LSU was different. But I can live with a co-championship, and the Trojans and the Tigers can live with it, too. The BCS needs to get its act together, since its formation was to prevent this kind of thing from happening.

That doesn’t take anything away from the best Tiger football team in over four decades, and the 2003 NCAA College Football Champions.


posted by retrophisch at 11:52 PM in LSU
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January 03, 2004

Meteoric rise

According to John Saunders and the ABC Sports crew during Fiesta Bowl coverage, no other team in college football history has had the kind of rise through the polls that LSU has experienced this year. The undisputed #2 team in the country, the Tigers started the season ranked at #12.

Win or lose tomorrow night, I believe that Nick Saban has finally brought national recognition to a college football program long deserving of notice.

posted by retrophisch at 10:40 AM in LSU
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Thanks for nothing, Michigan

Well, USC certainly showed why they deserve to be in New Orleans instead of Oklahoma, trouncing Michigan in the Rose Bowl, 28-14. So now there will be a split national championship, something the vaunted BCS was supposed to prevent.

Whether the Tigers win or lose tomorrow night, I really wanted there to be an undisputed national champ. The Trojans of USC will, of course, pronounce themselves as such, no matter the outcome of the Sugar Bowl. This is when LSU head coach Nick Saban’s “bowls plus one” plan would be a reasonable alternative to a defined playoff system. In the event of a “tie,” as there will be at the conclusion of the Sugar Bowl, those two teams play one more game for all the marbles.

posted by retrophisch at 10:24 AM in LSU
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