Last Modified: Sunday, November 11, 2012 8:06 PM
BATON ROUGE — Just about a year ago, on the eve of an LSU-Ole Miss game, I was minding my own business in the lobby bar of the Tigers’ team hotel in Memphis.
A good flock of LSU fans were there and having a grand old time watching the Friday night Oklahoma State-Iowa State game, high-fiving and cheering wildly when Iowa State pulled off the upset of the year to relieve the Cowboys of their “unbeaten” adjective.
These people are crazy, I thought.
They know not what they cheer for.
Did they not realize that all that did to LSU was open up the door for a BCS rematch with Alabama?
(Which LSU, if you shined an interrogation lamp into its eyes, really didn’t want — or shouldn’t have, at least.)
But everybody loves a good underdog story, and the revelry continued apace.
Fast forward to Saturday night in Tiger Stadium, where the first-quarter of the LSU-Mississippi State game was doing little to capture the crowd’s attention.
Then there was a sudden crowd explosion of undetermined origin — until I looked up and saw that the message board had flashed up “Texas A&M 29, Alabama 24.”
It got yet another roaring blast a few minutes later when it announced over the massive stadium loud speakers, even though by then it was old news.
These people are still crazy.
Be careful what you ask for.
The Aggies did LSU no favors in the Tigers’ down-graded goal to reach a BCS bowl, any BCS bowl, at season’s end.
It didn’t eliminate that noble quest, but it certainly did complicate things, and yet it almost looked like the suddenly festive crowd was going to sink to getting a “wave” going around Tiger Stadium over it.
On the other hand, it is somehow refreshing in this cynical day and age that fans are still able to put aside their team’s long-range good for the instant gratification of basking vicariously in the misery of a hated bitter rival.
That’s what being a college football fan, especially in the SEC, is all about, and Tiger fans exemplified that spirit with a wondrous show of gloating in the wake of what was really, under closer examination, bad news for LSU and the SEC.
It reminded me of a few years back when some unlikely moons aligned in odd-ball enough fashion that another LSU team was all but signed, sealed and delivered for an unlikely, once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Rose Bowl (the Granddaddy of them all).
It got far enough along that LSU had even sold roughly 40,000 advance tickets for the game, and a good many fans had already secured transport and lodging for the Los Angeles area.
One of them — this would be the day after LSU beat Arkansas to finish the regular season — was asking me if there was anything that could kill the deal at this late hour.
Just one, I explained. Only if UCLA pulled the mega-upset over Southern Cal.
As it happened, we were watching the Southern Cal-UCLA game at the time.
And UCLA was evidently intent on doing just that.
Yet — let’s just call him “Ray” — was enjoying every second of it, cheering on the plucky Bruins, for whom he had no natural rooting allegiance, for what seemed an impossible task.
I reminded him of the fly in the ointment a UCLA victory would put into his elaborate Rose Bowl plans.
“Doesn’t matter,” he said. “I just can’t pull for Southern Cal. Just love seeing the Trojans lose and suffer. Go you Bruins!”
It probably dated back to Southern Cal’s attempt to share the 2003 national championship with LSU.
At any rate, LSU never did quite make it to the Rose Bowl that year, but at least the Trojans went down in shame.
And “Ray” has no regrets to this day.
It was that same kind of can-do spirit on display Saturday in Tiger Stadium, setting aside the common good to thoroughly enjoy Alabama’s loss.
It could still work out. November tends to be a nutty month for college football, especially when the contenders start realizing what’s at stake or wondering how they’re still undefeated.
But the fact that Alabama probably needs a lot of help now to fulfill its destiny in the national championship game, means that the SEC (and LSU) probably needs some strange upsets for the league to get a second entry in the BCS sweepstakes.
Unless Florida, which won’t be in the SEC title game, stays a one-loss team. And Florida losing to Florida State was part of the dream scenario for letting LSU slip in.
For that matter, Texas A&M’s victory makes the Aggies all the more attractive (instead of LSU) for the Cotton Bowl, which for my money is a BCS experience in everything but the payout.
Mathematically, of course, Alabama’s loss technically, with multiple tie-breakers to the rescue, kept alive the feeble hope that LSU could still play for the SEC championship trophy in Atlanta.
LSU would win a three-way tie-breaker in the SEC West between the Tigers, Aggies and Crimson Tide.
All it involves is Auburn upsetting Alabama.
But nobody’s that crazy.
• • •
Scooter Hobbs covers LSU sports. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted By: Louan Peace On: 11/12/2012
Title: Houston LSU Lover
Oh so true! I'm so guilty of this!!!