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Tuesday, September 30, 2014
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Hobbs Column: LSU’s new road map to Atlanta

Last Modified: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 10:22 AM

By Scooter Hobbs / American Press

Actually, it sounded better when it appeared that somebody just forgot to call time out on the LSU sideline at the end of the Ole Miss game.

Hey, it happens. Earlier that day, The Darth Genius, Steve Spurrier was mangling timeouts like they were flypaper on a windy day in an old black-and-white comedy.

But when it turns out that actual, premeditated thought by LSU went into the fiasco, one really has to wonder.

It’s far worse to learn that the original idea was to save that final timeout to “ice” the Ole Miss kicker.

Really?

Sounds like a committee decision.

So they were going to trade 20-22 seconds for the notion that — you’ve seen it — right before the Rebels’ Andrew Ritter got ready to kick his field goal, LSU would call time out and give him more time to think about it, hopefully with a choke to come.

And how often do you see that work?

More often, it seems, the kicker might miss the first one, which is waved off due to the sneak timeout, only to get his bearings and line down right with the mulligan.

Of all the ways to waste timeouts, that’s probably the biggest and most useless — unless there’s no other possible use for it.

Not that it mattered much. We all know it should never have come to that.

But, if you’re interested, I can still get LSU in the SEC Championship game for you.

The Tigers have to run the table, of course, and rejuvenated Auburn (or Tennessee or Mississippi State) has to join LSU in beating Alabama.

If it’s Auburn, somebody else has to whack Auburn, most likely Georgia.

But if you get both Alabama and Auburn to two losses, a two-loss LSU wins the tiebreaker, and it doesn’t matter if it’s two or three teams involved.

That’s the math anyway.

The reality is that LSU and the rest of the SEC are reduced to living vicariously through the Crimson Tide’s national championship run again.

But Auburn and Missouri from the East (yes, Mizzou is in the SEC) are the only other teams that control their own destinies, which is probably a bit overrated.

But wouldn’t an Auburn-Missouri title game be fun? That’d be two teams that, between them, last year went 2-14 in SEC play.

If you think its far-fetched, OK, I’m with you. But if you think it’s a total pipe dream — or even LSU’s best-case scenario — then you weren’t paying much attention last Saturday.

The East was already in total disarray, mostly a MASH unit, and that was before South Carolina, Florida and Georgia all were upset, the latter with particular ingenuity, sailed punt snap.

Then LSU and Texas A&M fell.

LSU’s probably was the biggest stunner.

The Tigers went in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium as the nation’s highest ranked one-loss team with a plausible loss, a popular choice to derail Alabama in the SEC race with a reinvigorated defense and a state-of-the-art offense. They left with none of the above.

Mainly they left at 6-2 overall, having picked up a second loss at the earliest point in a season since 2006.

Oddly, that 2006 team might have been the Tigers’ most talented team of the Miles era, probably of the Nick Saban era, too. And it recovered nicely, running the table, destroying Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl and setting the stage for a national title the following year.

It did recover impressively.

But last year LSU wasn’t really the same after falling in a late heartbreaker to Alabama for its second loss, which took away most of the goals.

Oh, the Tigers won their final three regular-season games, but it wasn’t the same focused team that had played so impressively against South Carolina, Texas A&M and Alabama. Fortunately for LSU, it didn’t need its best game against Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Arkansas, but it finally caught up with the Tigers in the bowl game.

Miles and the players were back at it this week, saying all the right things, insisting they still had plenty to play for.

“This team has the ability to win and play against any team on our schedule,” Miles said. “We need to recognize that. “I can’t imagine they won’t want to play hard.”

Easier said than done when you are, as Miles likes to say, a program that believes in playing for championships.

But keeping the focus with two losses shouldn’t be the problem it was last year.

As we know now, a good chunk of that team already had its eye on early entry into the NFL. Mentally they might have been halfway there after the Alabama game.”

That shouldn’t be a problem with this year’s team.

This is a team, particularly on defense, that is still trying to figure out who its long-time starters are.

That alone should be enough to handle Furman Saturday night.

• • •

Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at shobbs@americanpress.com

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