Scooter Hobbs: No benefit to beating Grambling
Published 11:00 am Tuesday, September 12, 2023
By now you should know the rules around here.
If LSU insists on playing games like Saturday’s first-ever meeting with Grambling State, in which LSU has no remote chance of losing, then we’re going to grade the Tigers’ performance on a different curve.
A much tougher one.
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Make no mistake, LSU is going to play so-called “money” games — everybody does it — and we keep hearing how they’re beneficial, financially, to the bully and the battered victim alike.
You also hear that these games won’t be around forever, but my guess is they’ll be the last holdout in college football’s reorganizational money grab.
But maybe not.
So maybe it was good that LSU got in the game against Grambling before the bigger schools start pulling back from such payoffs.
Never mind the final score was 72-10.
The Tigers have now played all 11 of the in-state schools that ever engaged in football.
That doesn’t include Lake Charles High School, which made an “exhibition” appearance on the 1899 slate (that’s what they called schedules then, “slates”) and legend has it the game was played in Lake Charles.
Four of those 11 did manage victories somewhere along the way, mostly Tulane, mostly in the Jurassic Age.
The most recent of the Green Wave’s 22 victories was 41 years ago, 1982, when Tulane shocked the Orange Bowl-bound Tigers 31-28.
In-state school otherwise have three victories against LSU in 130 years of trying.
Go back to 1904 and you’ll find a disastrous LSU trip to Ruston for a 6-0 loss to Louisiana Tech (then called Louisiana Industrial Institute), which was a rematch of LSU’s 16-0 victory a week earlier and was contested amidst suspect officiating.
The other two are going to make you slap your forehead.
Of course …
It was Centenary in 1932 and Loyola of New Orleans in 1922. It excited both schools so much that they gave up football, though there are whispers of Centenary giving it another go.
What all that has to do specifically with Grambling’s first trip to LSU Saturday, I haven’t a clue, other than to over-explain this more stringent grading scale.
So what do we make of a 72-10 victory over an obviously outmanned opponent?
It’s one of those paycheck games. You watch the points roll up and wonder what the exchange rate would be if, say, Florida State was the opponent.
It’s an inexact science, for sure.
Was this what head coach Brian Kelly thought he had with this LSU team before last week’s rude awakening.
If you want to nitpick, you focus on what Grambling will hang its hat on, take solace in, other than the check for three-quarters of a million dollars that LSU wrote.
It wouldn’t be what LSU’s offense did to Grambling’s defense.
The Tigers scored touchdowns on their first 10 possessions. Hard to top that no matter the competition.
The offensive line, which struggled so against Florida State, may have gotten a lift. You’ll need further tests, but it was encouraging. Maybe Notre Dame transfer Logan Diggs is the bell cow running back they’ve been looking for.
But if you really wanted to get picky, LSU’s defense had some answering to do.
In the end it hardly mattered, but Grambling did score on its first two possessions — using a 34-yard completion to set up a touchdown pass and two long runs to set up a field goal.
That had to be a concern coming on the heels of what happened in the second half against Florida State.
But in the end, Saturday’s game didn’t prove anything.
Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org