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New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees is sacked during the Saints' loss to the Redskins in Week 1. (Associated Press)

New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees is sacked during the Saints' loss to the Redskins in Week 1. (Associated Press)

Gazzolo: Not a good weekend for football fans in Lake Area

Last Modified: Monday, September 24, 2012 9:28 PM

By Jim Gazzolo / American Press

It was almost a completely lost weekend for football crazies in these parts.

The only thing saving us from being put on suicide watch was the LSU defense, which seemed to be good enough once again to save the Tigers from a dismal offensive attack and even worse quarterback play.

With one weekend left in September, we are suddenly left with more questions than answers when it comes to local football. And some of the answers we have gotten are the type we don’t want.

Let’s start with the least, the Saints.

We now know just how much Sean Payton meant to the club. Their 0-3 start is bad, but when you look closely it is even worse.

The only other team without a win this year is Cleveland, a city and franchise you never want to be compared to.

Folks, it gets worse.

The three teams the Saints have played, and lost against, have a combined record of 0-6 in games not against New Orleans.

It is not a far reach to say the Saints, with two games at home, have just gone through the easiest part of their schedule — winless.

We have also learned that Drew Brees needs an offseason to get ready. He didn’t have one this year with his “it’s not about the money” holdout.

In the end, the Saints spent a ton of cash to keep Brees. It looks like they are paying the price at other positions.

There is only so much money to go around in the world of the salary cap. Spend it wisely, folks.

Also, we now know that the Saints can’t tackle. We actually knew this before but it was always hidden by the fact they could outscore their opponents. Not now.

When you look at this defense, you have to wonder if anybody ever collected on that bounty cash. Seems like it was money for nothing.

We also have the first real big answer. We know the Saints will not become the first team to ever play a Super Bowl on their home turf. At least not this year.

That was the battle cry when all the bounty business first went down. This group was going to show the world how far a chip on the shoulder can take you.

The answer is not very far.

The only question left is whether the Saints can rally to save any portion of this season. If not, the next big questions are: when will the first bags come out in the Superdome and who are they going to take with their first-round pick?

Off to LSU, where the savior is more like a survivor.

Zach Mettenberger was brought to Baton Rouge to turn the Tigers into a throwing machine. It’s not all on the quarterback, but he does end up with most of the blame.

What we have learned is this club is a throwback to the recent past.

LSU plays great defense. LSU has a solid kicking game. LSU is fun to watch on special teams.

LSU can’t throw the ball to save itself, or beat Alabama.

OK, that is a little tough on the No. 3 Tigers, but one has to wonder just how good they are. Their schedule might be the easiest in big-boy college football to date.

I mean, they beat Auburn by two. If Louisiana-Monroe had gone for two instead of playing for overtime, maybe it also would have beaten Auburn on the road.

So, we can dial down the impressive part of any win last week.

What is left are more questions.

First, who is the AP voter who still gave the Tigers a first-place vote and what the heck has he been watching all year?

His vote is the only reason LSU didn’t wake up Monday ranked fourth in the nation. Not many BCS points are coming this weekend against Towson either.

Time for Les Miles to play smash-mouth football once again.

As for that repeat showdown with Alabama in a few weeks, if Mettenberger doesn’t play any better LSU will be lucky to enter that game with less than two losses. Their easy schedule is about to change...quickly.

Any loss before Alabama could also mean a BCS bowl game might be out of the question, let alone the title game.

Then again, if our survivor becomes the savior, then a title is still within reach.

So, all we have learned is the only real thing holding LSU back is its lack of a passing game.

Same old, same old.

Now on to McNeese.

We learned one very big lesson last Saturday with the Cowboys’ loss at previously winless Southeastern: McNeese doesn’t like prosperity.

Three early wins gave the Cowboys hope of a big season. That is still there, but they just made things a lot tougher on themselves.

With Sam Houston State losing its Southland opener, McNeese had a chance to take a giant leap into the lead of the conference.

Not so fast.

The Cowboys, looking a gift horse right in the face, gave their present back with an ugly second half in Hammond.

Now we will find out what McNeese is made of. The past few years they have had trouble bouncing back from adversity.

They will get the chance to prove they are a different team this time around.

Still, it’s another question to be answered.

That’s what we will be watching the rest of the fall.


Jim Gazzolo is managing sports editor. Email him at

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