It’s the traditional pre-Bama open date for LSU, which this year is being referred to as “merciful” rather than “much needed.”
But it gave my mind time to wander a bit, which is always dangerous.
So bear with me here as we ramble through …
Maybe the COVID-19 season is the great equalizer for college football.
This week there were six teams from outside the Power Five in The Associated Press Top 25 poll, including unfamiliar names like Coastal Carolina and Liberty, which beat Virginia Tech Saturday.
Brigham Young and Cincinnati are in the top 10.
Last year at this stage there were four, none anywhere near the top 10.
Meanwhile in the Power Five, Indiana is 3-0 with wins over Penn State and Michigan. Penn State is 0-3 with its loss to Maryland and Michigan has lost back-to-back games to Michigan State and Indiana.
Or maybe it’s just more 2020 chaos. BYU has looked terrific at 8-0 and it’s not the independent Cougars’ fault they didn’t get to play their original ambitious schedule when the big boys started adjusting on the fly with conference-only slates.
But I draw the line when, in regards to barging into the College Football Playoff unannounced, I hear that Friday night’s 51-17 victory over Boise State was a “statement win.”
Wait. That’s not the way it works, is it? Boise State was always the little pest that teams with CFP notions were warned not to schedule because it’s a no-win situation.
Now it’s a Statement Win against a third-string Broncos quarterback. Oh, well. Different, crazy year, I guess. Different rules.
Here we are in November and the Sun Belt Conference is still 3-0 against the Big 12.
Arkansas’ Sam Pittman should be the SEC Coach of the Year, even if the Razorbacks don’t win another game. He doesn’t have “his players” and not much in the way of talent. But apparently there’s something to be said for playing like your hair is on fire. LSU ought to try it some time.
I love the idea that ESPN’s “College GameDay” will originate at Augusta National this week and that The Masters third round will be the lead-in for the CBS coverage of the Alabama-LSU game.
An interesting prop bet they ought to put into play: take the low score from Saturday’s round in The Masters and see if Bama’s point total can top it against LSU’s defense.
That said, I’ve heard more than one fan mention, half jokingly, that if LSU was to get another football COVID outbreak, this might be the week to do it. The Tigers’ makeup date on Dec. 12 is already spoken for with Florida.
It will be interesting to see what the LSU-Alabama atmosphere is like in Tiger Stadium this Saturday.
Auburn, last week, seemed to make better use of the odd circumstances than LSU’s two games at Tiger Stadium have done. Visually it almost seemed like a real game, although I’ve been there enough to know it didn’t sound anything like the Jordan-Hare Stadium I know. Fortunately these reduced- or zero-capacity games look better on TV than they do in person.
And that’s with or without cutout fans, which I kind of liked at the beginning, but the novelty has worn off. Seemed like they worked better for baseball.
By the way, that Alabama drive between Mobile and Montgomery on the way to Auburn isn’t the worst in the SEC footprint, but it might be the most numbingly monotonous. A good three hours and for the duration it’s nothing but pine trees and a couple or three Waffle Houses. Saw an exit sign for some sort of Hank Williams Museum, but no proof that it’s really there.
What in the Mad, Mad, Mad Hatter world was Les Miles thinking when he took the Kansas job?
I missed a meeting I guess, but when did we get a new Jake from State Farm? Same commercial, different Jake. Regardless, he’s still the most understated American hero we have in these trying times.
Now if Dr Pepper would just bring back Larry Culpepper, the debonair college football playoff inventor, maybe this country could get back to some sense of normalcy … and decency. Never did understand that forced retirement.
Most surprising team to me this year? Easy. It’s Georgia. Nothing to do with the record. But last December as Kirby Smart was walking off the field in Atlanta after LSU’s 37-10 win in the SEC championship game, I would have bet you a month’s salary that the Georgia coach was having the same epiphany that Ed Orgeron had the previous year after the Tigers’ 29-0 loss to Alabama. It was during that lonely walk that Orgeron decided that the offseason would be spent putting in an offense befitting the 21st century. Worked out pretty well … last year at least.
But, even with that near-embarrassing stockpile of talent, Georgia has still resisted the urge to join the crowd. Might be the last old-school holdout sticking with the notion that defense still wins championships when field position doesn’t.
Or maybe Smart came to that realization Saturday in Jacksonville following what used to be called the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.
The drawn-out vote-counting for president quit being annoyingly funny and got seriously out of its lane when it forced President-elect Joe Biden to cut into the Notre Dame-Clemson game to tell America what we’d already known for three or four days.
As I understand it, many people got the news from watching “GameDay.”
Personally, I was on the golf course. But ESPN missed a golden opportunity when Lee Corso didn’t don an oversized Biden head for the festivities.
No matter what happens against Alabama this week and then beyond for LSU this season, I’m guessing Tigers fans will take last year and call it better than even.
Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org