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Monday, April 21, 2014
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McNeese State head football coach Matt Viator. (Associated Press)<br>

McNeese State head football coach Matt Viator. (Associated Press)

No need to unwrap these holiday gifts

Last Modified: Sunday, December 22, 2013 10:49 PM

By Jim Gazzolo / American Press

After traveling for months across the sands of the desert, the three wise men finally reached their destination in time to hand out what are believed to be the first holiday presidents ever.

And they didn’t have to fight Black Friday crowds to get them, either.

Or at least that was the story I was told a half-century ago. It may not be politically correct to believe it now, but for the moment we will run with it.

With their good intentions in mind, it is time to hand out my own gifts from the bag I carry around over my shoulder.

They might seem more like they are coming from a wise guy rather than a wise man, but these are true gifts for all.

To McNeese State head football coach Matt Viator I offer a playoff victory.

Nobody has had better success while head coach of the Cowboys during the regular season and so little in the playoffs.

Viator is the third-winningest coach to pace up and down the McNeese sidelines but is 0-4 in playoff games.

He may have turned the program back around with a 10-2 regular season, but the monkey on his back when it comes to the postseason has grown to be a gorilla. Another loss and King Kong will be climbing on him.

It’s not fair that the guy who works so hard is judged by his losses more than victories, but he knows the game and accepts it.

I would love to give him a raise so he can make as much as others in the Southland Conference who have won far less, but that would be a Christmas miracle of its own I’m afraid.

As for the football team itself, a few more fans in the stands the next time you make the playoffs would be nice as well.

To McNeese State head basketball coach Dave Simmons I want to present a home game.

Simmons’ Cowboys have played just one game in front of the Lake Charles folks, and it is one of their two wins. They had another one planned for New Year’s Eve but that had to be canceled.

The Cowboys have become America’s guests, traveling from one time zone to another chasing a big upset and even bigger dollars.

The payoff has been more cash in the bank but few wins in the coffer.

Simmons has just one more road game, at LSU next Saturday then he gets to return home. Of course that means playing in Burton Coliseum in front of too few fans, but at least he won’t get on a plane for some time.

I would like to give him what he really needs, which is a new gym, but no way that would fit in my bag.

To Les Miles, the perfect gift would actually go to somebody else. For the LSU head coach a new job for Nick Saban would give him a little breathing room.

It almost happened, too, but Saban exchanged the probable gift of the Texas job for a new contract at Alabama, ruining Miles’ holiday perhaps.

Maybe the rest of the SEC coaches can go in on a gift for Saban and get him out of the league next year.

Still, I feel the need to get Miles something, so maybe a win in this year’s Outback Bowl would be a nice small present. If not, the Tigers will have a three-game bowl losing streak going and fall short of their goal of a 10-win season.

Don’t want to get the critics started.

For the Saints it seems easy, a road win today in Carolina.

A new kicker was scratched off the list after Sean Payton tossed Garrett Hartley to the side of the road.

It is better than running him over with the bus.

Two missed kicks will do that to a kicker.

But the club needs a road win. Despite all the talk about their record away from home being good, they haven’t looked good of late away from New Orleans.

This leaves their season on the brink of real trouble if they lose to the Panthers today.

A win and they have a home playoff game after a bye and are one road victory away from the Super Bowl and could still get the NFC title game at home with a little luck.

With a loss at Carolina they will face three playoff road games to get to the Super Bowl. This for a franchise that has never won a postseason game on the road in its history.

This could be the gift that keeps on giving.

To Astros fans I would love to give you the gift of hope.

After years of suffering through loss after loss and trade after trade, you deserve it, if you are still hanging with your team.

But, alas, all I can offer for this upcoming season is another lump of coal in your stocking.

That and another 100-loss season, which seems likely.

Those are the big things, but we have some stocking stuffers.

To Brooks Donald Williams, more credit for the Cowgirls success. Seems most people believe it was only the Baggett twins who turned the McNeese women’s basketball program around, but this year Donald Williams is proving she had a little something to do with it as well.

The Baggetts have graduated but the Cowgirls are off to a good start.

To Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett, a get out of jail free card.

Garrett seems to be stuck between a nutty owner who tries to do to much and a quarterback who can’t do enough.

Tough spot to be in.

To the rest of the college football world, a national champion that is not from the SEC. Seven straight titles for the league is enough for all. Need to pass the wealth around.

And to all of you, I give the gift of happy holiday wishes.

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