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Tag:LSU
Posted on: December 2, 2011 3:29 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2011 3:32 pm
 

Les Miles does not answer The Question

ATLANTA -- Les Miles wouldn’t go there when The Question was asked.

It’s obvious that No. 1 LSU can afford to lose Saturday and still play for the national championship. That has led to the anti-climatic nature of the SEC title game here on Saturday. But LSU’s coach obviously didn’t want to consider the option of losing Friday when asked if a team that hasn’t won its conference should be allowed to play in the big game.

“I have a very strong opinion,” said Miles who then paused a few seconds. “It will be something I will share with you some other time in my life.”

Unspoken answer: You’re damn right we should be in the championship game. We’ve beaten seven ranked teams, three in the top three including Alabama.

The question was phrased another way during Friday’s pre-game press conferences: Should LSU be in the BCS title game win or lose?

“I have given little thought to that,” Miles said. “I do know that that is an issue out there for other folks. It’s not one for us. We’ve talked about it several times but not about the ‘What ifs.’ It’s about what we’ve accomplished at this point.”

Miles has an ally in Georgia coach Mark Richt. The Bulldogs were fourth going in the BCS going into the final weekend of the 2007 season behind Ohio State, West Virginia and Missouri. Missouri and West Virginia lost, leaving a bunch of two-loss teams (and one-loss Kansas which had completed its season) to compete for the other top-two spot.

LSU jumped Georgia that year, vaulting from No. 7 to No. 2 in the final BCS standings after winning the SEC title game over Tennessee. At that point Georgia was 10-2 having lost only to South Carolina and Tennessee. The Dawgs won their final seven regular-season games, finishing fifth in the BCS behind Oklahoma, Virginia Tech, LSU and Ohio State.

So much for a non-conference winner playing for it all. It has actually happened twice in BCS history -- Nebraska (2001) and Oklahoma (2003). Georgia did have a nice consolation prize that year, beating the snot out of Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl.

“The bottom line is when you play a game or have a season or have a system there’s certain rules that you abide by,” Richt said. “If the rules say you must be conference champion then that’s the way it is. If the rules don’t say that then I don’t you have to be the conference championship to play in that [BCS title] game.

“ … Why should somebody go stumping and try to convince everybody that should be part of the criteria when it’s not?”

When told he had tap-danced nicely around the issue Friday, Miles told CBSSports.com, "Best I can do." 

 

 

 

Posted on: November 25, 2011 5:48 pm
Edited on: November 25, 2011 5:57 pm
 

LSU beats Arkansas; BCS picture clears -- a bit

BATON ROUGE, La. -- The weirdest thing about LSU’s undefeated regular season is that the Tigers may be able to rest their starters next week in the SEC championship game.

Such is LSU's large margin for error after beating No. 3 Arkansas on Saturday. The win before the second-largest crowd in Tiger Stadium history cleared up the BCS mess just a bit. The Hogs, having lost their second game, were eliminated from the SEC West and national championship races. LSU clinched a spot in Atlanta next week against Georgia. But as one of two undefeated teams left -- Conference USA’s Houston is the other -- it may have room to lose that game against the Bulldogs and still play in the BCS title game.

Against who is to be determined. Alabama can all but get to New Orleans itself for a rematch by beating Auburn on Saturday in the Iron Bowl. 'Bama began the weekend as the best of the one-loss teams. That doesn’t figure to change if beats Auburn’s Tigers.

That’s where it comes back to LSU’s Tigers. Barring a blowout win by Georgia in Atlanta, LSU will still have to be considered one of the top two teams in the BCS. That’s the result of going undefeated in the SEC, beating No. 3 at home and advancing to a less-than-pressurized SEC title game.

The Tigers have built up that much equity with the pollsters and computers that it may be able to suffer a loss. It’s happened before. Nebraska didn’t even win its division in 2001 before advancing to play Miami. In 2003, Oklahoma lost by four touchdowns to Kansas State in the Big 12 title game but still advanced to play … LSU in … New Orleans.

The BCS formula has actually changed since then to make it less likely. But with LSU and Alabama having separated themselves from the college football pack, what else are you going to do? Is a one-loss LSU at that point better than a one-loss Stanford, Oklahoma State or Virginia Tech?

Up to this point, the BCS has spoken.  LSU is the only team to beat seven ranked opponents, three in the top five. In the biggest game at Tiger Stadium since 1959 -- when No. 1 LSU beat No. 3 Ole Miss -- the home team survived. Barely.

It was clunky: LSU fell behind 14-0, trailing for the first time at home all season, then rallied in the final seven minutes to take a 21-14 halftime lead. Trailing 14-zip, the Tigers fumbled as many times as Jordan Jefferson was booed on the Tigers’ first touchdown drive. A 14-play, 77-drive was finally completed when freshman Kenny Hilliard scored to lead LSU back from its biggest deficit of the season.

It was amazing: Tyrann Mathieu ended a month or so of anonymity by taking a Dylan Breeding punt back 92 yards for a score. Cue the Richter Scale. Tiger Stadium shook, seemingly knowing what was coming next. Fourteen-all.

It was a turnaround: After stinking on the previous series, Jefferson completed four of five for 66 yards and a touchdown to put LSU ahead 21-14. That drive was set up when Arkansas’ Dennis Johnson was ruled to have fumbled at LSU’s 34. Three scores in 6:50 put the Tigers ahead to stay at halftime.

LSU should have known it was in trouble when Jarius Wright snuck free over the middle for a 13-yard touchdown reception. The first score of the game marked the first time all season the Tigers had trailed at home. It was the first touchdown pass given up by LSU in 1½ months.

The BCS started to look murkier when Arkansas’ Alonzo Highsmith returned a Mike Ford fumble 47 yards for a touchdown that made it 14-0.

Through all of LSU’s recent excellence, Arkansas had been that rock in the Tigers’ shoe. The Hogs had won three of the last four meetings. Something was going to give.

Eventually, Arkansas did.

Category: NCAAF
Tags: Arkansas, BCS, LSU
 
Posted on: November 19, 2011 1:03 am
Edited on: November 19, 2011 7:53 am
 

BCS chaos kicks off in Eugene; I'm buying

EUGENE, Ore. – This could be the best two weeks of football in BCS history, and I’m at the kickoff party.  

They’re going about two shades of crazy here Friday night at Hop Valley Brewing Co. out near I-5 in Duckland. A guy just walked in and yelled, "How about Iowa State?" It’s a brew pub that just turned into a staging area for the national championship push.

How about the Cyclones indeed? By beating Oklahoma State in overtime Friday night, they made it about football again. We can care again. Maybe we can forget tragedy and scandal -- for a little while.

Maybe for a long while. Two weeks from Sunday, two teams will be matched up to play for the 14th  BCS title. It is more than wonderful that we have no idea who they are going to be. There are six teams in the running -- LSU, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Oklahoma State, Alabama and Oregon. Oregon and Arkansas gained the most. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State the least.

But that’s just me, right now. The Hefeweizen is going down really smooth.

BCS chaos reigns. It reigns because a team whose uniforms look strangely like USC (Iowa State) just took down the nation’s No. 2. I’m here to see Oregon play the real USC on Saturday in a game that just got a lot bigger.

The Ducks are in that conga line with a bunch of one-loss teams, all of them with their hands up saying, "Pick me!"

Let the arguments begin: Do you want a rematch? LSU-Oregon awaits. So does LSU-Alabama. But shouldn’t you have to win your conference? Alabama potentially won’t. Don’t forget Arkansas, which is suddenly in the conversation.

Is Oklahoma State entirely out? Does Oklahoma deserve to be in the discussion? It lost at home to Texas Tech, which lost by 34 to Iowa State, which beat Oklahoma State. The Sooners have a chance, a small one unless …

Unless chaos continues. Who knows how OU will be perceived in two weeks? If Oregon wins on Saturday it most likely will jump to No. 2 in the BCS. Alabama plays Georgia Southern. Nothing, though, is permanent. Call it the BCS' Kardashian Moment.

Get ready for a fashion show with shoulder pads, built-in programming for sports radio. Someone give Jerry Palm a raise. Now.

You can hear the sound of Boise State kicking itself all the way from here.

Please don’t say “kicking” around the Broncos. They not only would have been in line for the BCS national championship game, they would have had to beat only San Diego State, Wyoming and New Mexico to get there. But a kid named Dan Goodale pulled a Brotzman last week, missing the game-winning field goal. That was only after TCU’s Gary Patterson proved he had more stones that Boise State had field goals.

The old missed kick seems to be an epidemic. Dan Goodale meet Oklahoma State’s Quinn Sharp, who wasn’t. Sharp missed a 37-yarder with 77 seconds left that could have beaten the Cyclones.

Nothing is permanent. Ask Kim, or give Sharp a Hefeweizen. He needs one right about now. 

How about the Cyclones indeed? By beating Oklahoma State in overtime Friday night, they made it about football again. We can care again. Maybe we can forget tragedy and scandal -- for a little while. 


Posted on: November 3, 2011 10:44 pm
 

Son of Weekend Watch List

Son of WWL is the petulant offspring of Weekend Watch List. This week it weighs in on the LSU-Alabama rematch.

 


Before the teams even kick it off Saturday LSU-Alabama II has filled minds, cyberspace and column inches.

That’s the world we live in. If Tigers-Tide is good, a rematch in the BCS championship game could be better – depending. Depending on a very narrow set of circumstances.

First, ask yourself. Do you even want to see the Game of the (11-year-old) Century again, two months later? Is that even fair? Here’s my take on how it could happen:

--LSU has to lose Saturday’s game. Alabama is favored and playing at home. The pollsters probably wouldn’t give the benefit of the doubt to the Crimson Tide in this scenario if they lose. It doesn’t matter that LSU is No. 1. Alabama is No. 2 and perceived to be the better team playing at home before 101,821 fans and Bear Bryant growling in the background. Literally.

--LSU has to play well and lose a close game, preferably at the gun and preferably by a 55-yard field goal or something like that. That would resurrect the oldest line in show business: Always leave them wanting more.

--LSU has to win the rest of its games which at this point include Western Kentucky, a trip to Ole Miss and at home against Arkansas. It would help, a lot, if LSU blew out the Hogs. That would be the lasting impression the Tigers would leave in the minds of the voters who would still have to wade through two more Saturdays of football. (Arkansas-LSU is on Friday, Nov. 25).

It was a different set of circumstances but don’t forget LSU lost to Arkansas in 2007 and still went to the BCS title game with two losses. That’s one indication of how powerful an SEC team is in the BCS standings.

--Stanford and Oklahoma State have to lose. At least. The feeling is that LSU would at least have a chance to pass an undefeated Boise State in the BCS. While that’s no certainty, the SEC has gotten the benefit of the doubt before (see above).

“I’m a believer,” Steve Spurrier said, “that if a rematch does occur, the formula we have in place is to get the best two teams in the game.”

Spurrier should know a little bit about the subject. Florida beat Florida in the Sugar Bowl rematch to win the 1996 national championship.


Why it won’t happen

 

--The loser will have had its chance … No one wants to see the game again … Give someone else a chance.

All those are valid arguments and have already manifested themselves five years ago. Michigan lost the last regular-season 1-2 game at Ohio State 42-39 in 2006. On the last day of the season (two weeks later) the Wolverines – No. 3 in the BCS at the time -- were edged out by SEC champ Florida after No. 2 USC was upset by UCLA. Michigan actually gained in the polls and computers, but enough losing out to Florida by .0134 of a point.

--SEC voter fatigue. WWL has no evidence that this exists but after five consecutive national championships who is to say that – if it’s close – human nature won’t take over? In other words, why not give someone else a chance?

--The loser won’t play on the last day of the season (Dec. 3) when a lot of statements can be made. If Alabama wins big in the SEC title game, that will be another reason not to elevate LSU to No. 2. Boise State could complete an undefeated season with what figures to be a complete obliteration of New Mexico.

--The loser better not fall too far. In the 13-year history of the BCS no team that finished out of the top two in the final regular-season polls played for the national championship. Nebraska played for the title in was fourth in 2001 in the AP and coaches poll. Oregon finished but was relegated to the Fiesta Bowl.

 

 

Something to chew on, and spit out: What’s wrong with this world when Barry Switzer gets a statue at Oklahoma 22 years after leaving the school and Nick Saban got one at Alabama after his fourth? … Where have you gone Mike Leach? Last week against Iowa State, Texas Tech failed to throw a touchdown pass for the first time in five years … Unbelievable: Iowa and UCLA still control their own fate in their conferences. Iowa, 5-3, can still win the Legends Division despite a horrific loss last week to Minnesota. The Bruins, 4-4, are in the thick of things in the Pac-12 South. They host division leader Arizona State this week … Penn State’s Silas Redd led the nation in rushing in October with 703 yards … Louisville travels to West Virginia looking for its first three-game Big East winning streak in five years … Unless a meteor hits, Boise’s Kellen Moore should set the record for career wins by a quarterback. Moore is 45-2 as a starter going into the UNLV game.

Posted on: October 24, 2011 6:59 pm
Edited on: October 25, 2011 10:41 am
 

Synthetic Three expected to be reinstated Tuesday

LSU’s three suspended players are expected to be reinstated on Tuesday CBSSports.com has learned.

Defensive backs Tyrann Mathieu, Tharold Simon as well as running back Spencer Ware were suspended for Saturday’s Auburn game following reported failed drug tests. Asked following the game if the players would return for the Alabama game on Nov. 5, coach Les Miles said, “I probably know the answer to that but I don’t want to talk about it.”

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported last week that the players would be suspended only one game.  The three were not around the team for LSU’s 45-10 win over Auburn.

At the time of his suspension, Mathieu was considered a Heisman and All-American candidate. Ware was the team’s leading rusher. LSU will now have 11 days to prepare at full strength for Alabama. The game marks the between 1-2 teams in the AP poll in five years. 

For more coverage of the big game visit the LSU-Alabama Daily blog on CBSSports.com 

Category: NCAAF
Tags: Alabama, LSU
 
Posted on: October 22, 2011 7:05 pm
 

LSU rout of Auburn over; time to talk 'Bama

Who needs synthetic marijuana when you have real depth on your roster?

Such is the case for LSU now that the countdown has officially begun to the Alabama game. The Baton Rouge Tigers beat Auburn's Tigers with, not exactly a skeleton crew, but there was a little less meat on the bone.

Budding superstar cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, backup Tharold Simon and starting tailback Spencer Ware sat out because of reported failed drug tests (reportedly for that synthetic marijuana). The supposition was that LSU had enough talent left over to set up college football's Super Bowl in a couple of weeks. They just had to prove it.

It was a blowout, but it wasn't easy. During a sometimes-dreary first half LSU's faithful actually booed on a couple of occasions. For a while it looked like LSU's season would go, well, up in smoke. Those fans' attitude changed after a pair of matching sideline strikes stretching the halftime lead to 21-3.

Jordan Jefferson (42 yards) and Jarrett Lee (46 yards) threw almost identical bombs to Rueben Randle within four minutes of each other in the second quarter. The game plan following that -- whether stated or unstated -- was to show as little as possible.

You know who's watching.

Two weeks from Saturday the nation's No. 1 team will play a de facto national semifinal in Tuscaloosa. Winner goes to New Orleans for the BCS title. Well, not directly, but the stakes are that high.

Both schools have a bye next week giving the game time to build to a 1 vs. 2 pinnacle. LSU goes in almost with a yawn to this point. For the first time in school history, the Tigers have opened the season with eight double-digit wins. They have trailed for 6 minutes, 33 seconds all season.

Those missing starters were hardly missed. True freshman Kenny Hilliard ran for two touchdowns including the game's opening touchdown on his sixth career carry. Senior Ron Brooks more than compensated for the loss of Mathieu. His 28-yard pick six made it 42-3 in the third quarter.

LSU got satisfaction for last season's 24-17 loss at Auburn. Don't call it revenge because Cam Newton, the difference in a lot of games for Auburn last season, is gone. Let's just call it the No. 1 team in 2011's first BCS rankings beating last season's last No. 1 in the BCS.

Now it's time to bring on Alabama.

Category: NCAAF
Tags: Alabama, Auburn, BCS, LSU, SEC
 
Posted on: October 21, 2011 12:34 pm
Edited on: October 21, 2011 12:36 pm
 

Son of WWL: Les Miles will do the right thing

Les Miles will do the right thing.

Ever since CBSSports.com’s Brett McMurphy noted that LSU’s suspended players may face a two-game suspension due to failed drug tests, there has to be a lot of hand-wringing in Baton Rouge.

A two-game suspension would put the Nov. 5 Alabama game in play. LSU can get by without Tyrann Mathieu, Spencer Ware and Tharold Simon Saturday against Auburn. Alabama is a different matter.

In a game that is shaping up as a national semifinal, Miles needs all hands available. I believe he will do the right thing and hold those players out of the Alabama game – if the players are subject to a two-game suspension.

It’s a logical conclusion that the players face a two-game suspension – at least. The original report said the players failed a drug test. The NCAA doesn’t test for street drugs like synthetic marijuana, the drug named in the report. The SEC doesn’t test for drugs. It is the conference’s policy that each school have its own drug-testing policy.

That leaves LSU. If the report is true, there are some tough decisions ahead. The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that the suspensions will be only one game

We probably will never know that for sure about any drug-test issues. Any failed drug test falls under privacy laws protecting students. Unless the students or their parents admit to a failed test, the reason for the suspensions could remain a secret.

That doesn’t relieve Miles, or his AD Joe Alleva, from doing the right thing. I believe they will. Miles took decisive action on Jordan Jefferson, even though the quarterback was eventually charged with only misdemeanor battery.

There a lot of schools that would have gone to the wall to keep their starting quarterback on the field. LSU wasn’t one of them. Miles was behind that.

In a world gone mad with conference realignment and unethical conduct, it would be nice to see LSU/Miles set a standard.

 


WWL has a sworn duty not to give free publicity to apparel makers during their hideous assault on traditional uniforms. But this item could not be ignored.

It’s a perfect time to draw attention to the players who are on the field for LSU against Auburn. The Tigers will be wearing their Pro Combat unis.

Meanwhile, the damage was done last week at Michigan State. While the words “good taste” didn’t enter the conversation in describing the Alabama-Birminghamish uniforms, there was one cool aspect to them.

On the back of the Spartans’ Pro Combat jerseys worn last week against Michigan is the Greek phrase, “Molon Labe.” Translated, it means “come and take them.” It is an expression of defiance spoken by King Leonidas I to the Persian army which had demanded the Spartans lay down their weapons.

Wow, these guys are serious. Used to be the most damage at a Michigan State game was caused by brat juice dripping on your new fleece.



Maybe it’s not Urban Meyer. Maybe it’s just being a Gator. There have been arrests at Florida in the last calendar year.



How long does Denard Robinson have as Michigan's quarterback? Devin Gardner is bigger, stronger and definitely has a more accurate arm. That’s not saying much given D-Rob’s 52 percent completion percentage.

But the feeling among many is that if Robinson, a junior, is around next season he will be converted to a slot receiver, wildcat or some sort of other unique weapon. Michigan State exposed him as an inaccurate thrower who couldn’t get outside against a quality defense.

Michigan has another week to figure things out before hosting Purdue. 

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: October 19, 2011 3:27 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2011 9:29 pm
 

Advantage 'Bama in College Super Bowl on Nov. 5

Well, that certainly breaks whatever tie existed between the Alabama and LSU defenses.

Which, of course, means we may have a break in the national championship race.

Randy Rosetta of TigerSportsDigest is reporting that at least three LSU players will be suspended for Saturday’s Auburn game. Two of them appear to be All-American cornerback-in-the-making Tyrann Mathieu and leading rusher Spencer Ware. Les Miles would not confirm the suspensions Wednesday night. 

The Tigers can beat Auburn without both. It puts the game more in question but the Tigers should still win. Most of the implications from today have to do with Nov. 5. Will those guys be on the field against Alabama?

If not, hand our first national semifinal game to the Crimson Tide. Mathieu is a shutdown corner, a punt returner, LSU’s best defender. He was the best Heisman contender at his position since Charles Woodson. Take that kind of guy off the field against Alabama, and that makes not only AJ McCarron more dangerous as a thrower. It makes Trent Richardson a better runner.

Remember, Mathieu has forced six turnovers this season while scoring two touchdowns on defense and special teams. This is shocking conduct from a Honey Badger.

The LSU student paper is reporting that Ware and Mathieu failed drug tests. It’s not immediately clear what procedures are in place at LSU, but at many major programs players face three levels of testing -– from the school, the conference and the NCAA.

Category: NCAAF
Tags: Auburn, LSU
 
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com