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LSU fans cheer in the second half of their against Alabama. (Associated Press)<br>

LSU fans cheer in the second half of their against Alabama. (Associated Press)

Hobbs: LSU does not deal in moral victories

Last Modified: Tuesday, November 06, 2012 8:39 PM

By Scooter Hobbs / American Press

Me, I never tell people to go vote. I never understood the great anguished cry this time of the year to root out all the deadheads and wag a school-marm finger at them, just so you can shame them into getting to the ballot box.

It’s a free country — probably will remain so no matter who or what we elect — and if people don’t want to vote, that’s their right as red-blooded Americans, and really none of my business.

Tuesday I signed in and they gave me one of those “I Voted” stickers to wear — ooooh, ain’t I special — but I stuck it in my pocket. That’s a little smug and sanctimonious for my taste, and would seem to imply that I’m a better American than the people who couldn’t be torn away from their soap operas and video games.

To each his own.

I like voting — I’d vote four or five times if they’d let me (I asked, they wouldn’t) — but I really could care less if you vote.

For one thing, there’s always a chance you might not be voting my way, so it would just cancel me out. And I feel insignificant enough as it is. And I’m not so sure about the guy behind you either, so danged if I care if any of you vote.

Sorry, just have to get that off my chest every four years.

So back now to the toy box here at Fun & Games.

If it’s any consolation to LSU fans, Alabama has come out with a line of T-shirts commemorating the Tide’s 21-17 comeback victory over the Tigers on Saturday.

It’s probably won’t be a hot stocking-stuffer for LSU fans.

But Alabama is not Missouri, a school where they recently printed up limited-edition T-shirts for beating one-win Kentucky.

Alabama invented football. If Alabama marks a non-championship game victory over you with a T-shirt, it’s a show of extreme respect.

It’s the opposite end of a great quote some years back by a Vanderbilt coach after a rare upset victory. He was asked if it meant his program had arrived.

“Just once,” he said (and I’m paraphrasing here), “I’d like to beat a team and not have the other team’s fans talking about firing the head coach over it.”

They’re still working on it — Vanderbilt beat Kentucky last Saturday (the Commodores refrained from printing up any T-shirts) and Kentucky fired Joker Phillips the next day.

LSU isn’t Kentucky. Or Missouri.

LSU fans won’t tolerate having “victory there for the taking” only to have it snatched away, no matter the opponent.

So afterward, having suffered a heartbreaking loss in a game none of them thought LSU had any chance to win, a good cross section of Tiger fans has spent the last few days berating Les Miles for it, with a select and knee-jerk few deciding it is a firing offense.

LSU doesn’t lose games. Somebody (not players) blows them.

Alabama gets no credit for beating LSU. Somebody has to be blamed for “letting” the Tide beat LSU.

Alabama didn’t perfectly execute a 2-minute drive for the winning touchdown. LSU gave it to them with an idiotic prevent defense.

“And that’s COACHING!” they cry.

Miles should be proud of this.

It means he has built a brand-name program whose fan base just absolutely does not deal in moral victories.

That means you’re doing something right, no matter the pratfalls that gift-wrapped a game to a team that has been called the most machine-like frightening in college football history.

That means you’re “there,” even if you’re not going to get where you wanted to be at the end of this particular season.

Oh, you could quibble, perhaps, with the logic. Maybe the same fans who complained loudly leading up the game that LSU had become stale and predictable on offense — and had no chance against the Tide if the Tigers didn’t loosen up their ways —  shouldn’t have the right, even in hindsight, to complain that Miles’ blew the game because he listened to them and couldn’t help himself from continually pulling more and more gimmicks out of that mad hat of his.

“EVERYbody knows that stuff doesn’t work against Ala-BAMA-a!”

But it’s far better, if you’re running a program, to deal with this foolishness than have to continually lecture a fan base not to applaud a close loss just because they appreciated the spirited effort.

That drove Steve Spurrier slap-dab bonkers-crazy when he first arrived at South Carolina. It has taken him years, and only now are the Gamecock fans starting to understand what he expects from them.

LSU fans needed no such education from Miles.

•••

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

Posted By: R. Johnson On: 11/7/2012

Title:

Well put Scooter

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