Friday, February 03, 2006

New Blog

I've changed my address: The Highland Road Blog

Sunday, January 22, 2006

What the fuck are we doing? How the fuck did we win?

So this is my motto for college basketball season this year. You'll catch me changing it up a bit depending on the results. For instance a couple weeks ago against UCONN it was "What the fuck are we doing? How the fuck did we lose?" Yes, LSU basketball is crazy this year and will drive all Tiger fans completely insane.

The SEC season has started out wonderfully however with wins at home against Tennessee (beaters of Tex-ass and Florida) and Alabama, and wins on the road against Arkansas and Mississippi State. This does much to offset shoulda-coulda-woulda losses to Houston, Northern Iowa, Cincinatti, Ohio State, and UCONN. With Kentucky coming to the PMAC this year we are definitely good enough to run the table and lose only one or two. But we are also bad enough to lose seven or eight.

There's no doubt that the Tigers have enough to talent to go a very long way in March/April, even with losing Brandon Bass to the NBA and Tack Minor to injury that was not a question. With Glen Davis clogging up the middle, Tyrus Thomas averaging 29 blocks per game, Tasmin Mitchell hitting huge shots and getting huge boards, and Darrell Mitchell averaging 15-plus per game we can expect to have success. Where we run into problems however is consistency. I cut Darrell Mitchell some slack in this regard since point-guard is not his true position.... but too often we throw away the ball during crucial moments and give the other team free points. It happened yesterday against Alabama, its happened in every game we've played, and it will happen in a few days against Georgia. If we want to make a run at the SEC Championship, if we want to make a run at the Final Four (which we are capable of) we simply CAN NOT turn the ball over like we have been so far this year.

I know this will sound obvious, but its true, we must play smart basketball. If any one moment exhibits what I am talking about it is the final seconds of the UCONN loss. We were down by one and Darrell Mitchell had the ball and was running downcourt. With about three seconds left he abruptly pulled up way beyond the tree-point line and threw up a prayer shot. Naturally he missed it and we lost. But with three seconds left he could have driven to the hoop, passed the ball, pulled up and set his feet, any number of things. But the worst thing to do was throw up a shot without a chance of going in. Smart basketball man.

Alabama hung with us most of the game and was actually leading for a while. The reason we were struggling was very clear to me. Simply put: we weren't getting the ball down low. With an enormously gifted Center such as Glen Davis we ought to get the ball down low every chance we get right? So you'd think.... but yesterday during most of the first half and parts of the second LSU simply moved the ball around the perimeter and seemingly refused to put the ball in Glen's hands down low. We only started to pull away once we had established a presence down low with Big Baby.

Yesterday LSU got a huge win against Alabama. Of all the teams in the West Bama probably was the closest to us in talent (or Arkansas). The more we keep on winning the more we have a shot at success in March and April. I know this sounds obvious but we cannot afford to get in a funk and start playing bad basketball and turn the ball over with consistency. If we can keep it together all we will have to do is hope the coaching is there.......

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Thoughts on One-peat

Chances are if you are reading this you know what the One-peat billboard scandal. If you don't just click around on the ole blogroll.

My thoughts on this are mixed. As an LSU fan I love any jab at (F)USC. Yes, I realize Tiger fans stand on USC is totally insane seeing as we haven't played since the 80's, but they are SO easy to hate. LSU fans were the first (besides UCLA fans) in CFB who just wanted USC to go away. As this year came to a close many fans felt this way. As far as the actual "dynasty" goes, everyone agrees that things got out of hand by the end of this year. I wouldn't classify them as a dynasty yet even if they had won the Rose Bowl. Why? Well it isn't because I don't like them.... I just think it takes more than one set of players to establish a dynasty. Now if Pete Carrol keeps on rolling with anywhere near the success he's had the last four years in the NEXT four years than yes, that is a dynasty.

As far as 2003 goes I say its a split title. There's precedents for this obviously.... it happened three times in the 90's after all. Anyway plenty of schools claim titles which were in fact split. LSU won the Football Writers of America Association's national title in 1936, thus I say we have a title in 1936 on the top of my blog. I think the problem that many LSU fans have with 2003 is the way the title was portrayed by the media. It made it look like LSU was lucky to have gotten a shot at the title, like we fluked our way into it, like we were the odd man of the three contenders. Put it this way: if USC and LSU had switched bowl games and results would there have been a split title? I don't think so. The fact is both teams were equally deserving of the title. Yes LSU won the official title, and yes the standard for college football polling in the last however many years voted USC #1. That's okay. I don't have a problem with that as long as each team's national title is treated the same. One complaint: I do think that you'll often hear LSU's title referred to as a "co-championship" or a "split title" while USC just a "national title" or a "championship".

As far as the signs go: I think its amusing. But whatever some USC grad does to our campus or Baton Rouge or the Reveille or the Advocate or whatever.... LSU students will retaliate and it'll be even better than the "One-pete" sign.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Ryan's End of the Year Top 25

1. Texas- No real doubt here, very deserving certainly
2. Southern Cal- Sooo close to three-pete (or two-pete considering your take on 2004)
3. Penn State- Deserves the #3 spot, probably should have taken care of FSU a little better
4. Ohio State- Did a nice number on Notre Dame, a top contender next year
5. LSU- One of the most satisfying victories in a long time
6. West Virginia- Big win against Georgia, ought to have held it together though
7. Virginia Tech- Its hard to like these guys after the antics of Vick
8. Georgia- Those first 17 or 18 minutes were appalling, feel bad for Shock that they didn't win
9. Alabama- Has there ever been an uglier kick?
10. Notre Dame- Why all the hype? The Irish definitely were beaten in every phase
11. Wisconsin- Out-performed Auburn, Stocco, Calhoun, and Williams were all clutch
12. UCLA- I have a grudging respect for these guys
13. TCU- The OU win now looks very very impressive
14. Oregon- Credibility diminished with the Holiday Bowl loss
15. Florida- Vernell Brown's TD was pretty cool, benefitted in a severe way from refereeing decisions
16. Auburn- I hope Herbstreit watched the Cap One Bowl
17. Oklahoma- Progressed steadily over the course of the season
18. Boston College- Nothing spectacular really, should have taken care of Boise
19. Louisville- They had a real chance against VT but didn't take it at all
20. Florida State- Their great game against Orange Bowl puts them this high
21. Clemson- All those close losses early on really hurt them, they could have been in Jacksonville or Atlanta instead of playing Colorado
22. Nebraska- Good win against Michigan, they are starting to find their way again
23. California- Good win, solid season
24. Toledo- Best in the MAC this year
25. Navy- Underrated, came up with a real good win against Colorado State

After that performance by Miami they don't deserve to be ranked, and Texas Tech isn't ranked because their "high-powered" offense looked like a joke in the Cotton Bowl.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Rose Bowl continued

My takes on a variety of topics regarding the game:

Reggie Bush... The stupidest play I've seen all year. And you know what play I'm talking about. His run was electric, one that really was something that defined his year. But the lateral. What was he thinking? He wasn't really that effective after that play. Yeah he got the ridiculous jump and that long run at the end, but Bush wasn't all that impressive.

Going for it on 4th... USC did it twice, I don't remember the circumstances of the first try but I do know they ran an obvious sneak. Texas also went for it and missed it early on, but USC's ended up being far more critical. The second time I would have punted, made the Horns go 80 yards. But I'm not going to argue that. I'm going to argue that the playcall was terrible. It was an obvious run, they should have dumped it to a TE or thrown it to Jarrett.

Reviews... I think there were some poor individual calls and some of those plays should have been changed. But each team had their chance to win and well... the reviewed plays shouldn't be used as a crutch per se.

Defenses... woo Pac 10 defense! (I'm kidding ya'll) USC's D wasn't spectacular at all, lots of missed tackles. Texas' defense played pretty well but really didn't do enough to upset Leinart's timing. Of course its near impossible to stop that Leinart-Jarrett combo. Michael Huff... hasn't been talked about much, but that guy can tackle, some of those tackles were jaw dropping in my opinion. Griffin's INT in the endzone was impressive. But most importantly the front stepped up HUGE on the fourth downs.

Coaching... USC got outcoached. I'm not questioning Carroll's ability, I'm just saying he got outcoached. For much of the first half the Trojans looked completely unfocused, as my dad described it: nonchalant (for most of the first half both teams looked unfocused actually). In the second half USC wasted all three of their timeouts, most seriously in the 2pt conversion situation. His defense looked weak to say the least. Some of those designed runs or whatever they were, were as sure as the sun rising tomorrow. Their defense looked unprepared to face a running QB. Finally as I mentioned before- the two 4th down calls were weak, obvious, and conservative. Yes I realize it took balls to go for it in the first place, but please do something the entire country isn't waiting for.

The game itself... simply an all-time classic. Besides LSU's demolition of Miami it was the most I've enjoyed a game this bowl season. Both teams came to play, they looked a bit slow in the first half, but the second half was amazing. My hat goes off to both teams. I thank them. USC's run was simply incredible. Two national championships (one shared of course!, 34 games, blah blah blah go watch ESPN. That backfield was the best I've ever seen. Dwayne Jarrett doesn't get enough publixity. Texas... well I can't say I like them but I was impressed. It was pretty cool at the end to hear the Eyes of Texas. Anyway I fully expect Young to declare, hopefully the Longhorns will wait another 35 years for a title.

Great game, everybody enjoyed it. Congratulations to the Longhorns.

Texas 41 USC 38

Well I'm sure if you've meandered over here even though I haven't done anything in a couple months you've already read ALL about this game. This game was particularly interesting because I hate both of these teams, which I will explain in a minute, and by halftime I was comparing Young and Leinart to see which I would love to see in black and gold next year.

First I really can't stand USC for the same reason a lot of LSU fans don't like USC, they stole our thunder a couple years back. I'm pretty much over that now, but like many CFB fans I can't stand the USC overkill that was overflowing from ESPN's toilet for the past month.

Second I hate Texas because they are Texas. It helps that LSU and Texas are often mired in recruiting battles (see the battle for Vince Young and the battle for Ryan Perilloux). Also there is a sizeable contingent of LSU students from Texas who are always gushing at the gills with their love for the Longhorns. Once you step foot on Highland or Nicholson or Raphael Semmes or wherever your heart belongs to the Tigers. Fuck the Longhorns man.

Leinart vs. Young- Before the game I was all about Leinart in black and gold. To me Young was too similar to Brooks, all raw talent, little inteligence. But after Leinart looked okay in the first half and Young played well I had second thoughts. But after Young's jaw-dropping performance in the second half, well I didn't care about what Leinart did, Young was amazing. Who do I want for the Saints with the second pick in the draft? Vince Young baby.

More to come on the game later.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Looking Ahead to Rivalry Week (part 2)

Well last weekend was the traditional rivalry week, but I think Thanksgiving Weeks has a solid share of blood-boilers:
Georgia-Georgia Tech
Ole Miss-MSU

Of these I'm dreading the A&M game because I felt like A&M would win this game before the season. Franchione's performance this fall is one of the worst in the past five years. Honestly he and Fulmer are neck-and-neck for worst fuck up jobs this year. LSU fans shouldn't get their hopes up for an upset here.

Georgia-Georgia Tech ought to be the best of the rivalry games this weekend I think. I was amazed by what Tech did this week in Miami all things considered. LSU fans should be cheering for the Dawgs in this one. Honestly I think Tech is too much of a yo-yo team to pull off great wins in back to back weeks.

LSU-Arkansas- There is no reason why we shouldn't dominate this game. Realistically I expect McFadden to put up big numbers running the ball... but they can't throw the ball on any D, so I don't expect it will be too much of a problem. Our offense ought to have a field day against the Hawg D. I just wonder what problem will crop up again this week (dropped balls? turnovers? wild JMR?)

After class I'll be back to hand out some awards for this week's performances. This is a very easy week of school so I should be able to focus on my blogging. I appreciate the anonymous poster who called my attention to the crickets.

LSU 40 Ole Miss 7

This game was a doozy. Ole Miss looked absolutely helpless. I thoroughly enjoyed Ethan Flatt's re-enactment of Eli Manning on 4th Down two years ago. Kyle Williams and Claude Wroten in the middle were monsters for the second week in a row. I'm confident that they are in the top 3 or so DT tandems in the country.

The offense- well I still feel there is room to complain with the offense. It always seems like we get one bad habit out of the way (JM Russel inconsistancy) we return to another (turnovers). This game could easily have been up there in terms of beat downs of the Rebs with the 61-17 win decades ago, and I think it would have been if it weren't for those two turnovers.

I'm confident heading into Friday that we don't have our head up our asses. More to come later in the day.

Monday, November 14, 2005

AWOL and the new Monday Award Show

Well I've been AWOL for the past week, and for that I apologize. The life of a college student is filled with odd events at odd times, and mine is no exception. Well in order to return triumphantly I have created a new segment: The Monday Award Show. I can only hope that somewhere down the road there is a blog called the Mondaypundit. Right- on with the awards:

OMGGMFGOTYOTW Award- (aka the Oh My God Greatest Motherfucking Game of the Year, of the Week Award or the USC-Notre Dame award)- LSU at Alabama AND Auburn at Georgia-These two SEC games were so game-of-the-century spectacular that they have a split title for this award. The drama of the two games intermingled and copulated along with the UF/USC game to spawn an all-day(er) in the SEC. LSU beat Bama in OT(it feels so good to say that) after looking like Tulane in the first half and then LSU circa 2003 in the 2nd. Georgia had the Tigers beat but gave up a horrible 62 yard play on 4th and 10 with less than 2 minutes left. More on that to come.

UCLA Award- (aka Biggest Chokers of the Weak award)- Florida State and Colorado- Both of these teams choked like UCLA this week. FSU was coming off a loss to lowly NC State and needed to beat Tommy B and the Clemson Tigers to regain credibility. Colorado was steadily climbing up the polls in anticipation of a showdown with Texas in the Big XII Championship. Both teams sucked this weekend. FSU got knocked around by Clemson and Iowa State beat up on the Buffs. FSU is out of the talk for the nation's elite and Colorado is a slip up away from a Boulder weekend come December 3.

Psycho Killer Award- (or the Talking Heads award. This one came to me after I was singing these lines in the song "Psycho Killer": "Can't seem to face up to the facts, I'm tense and nervous- I can't relax." This goes to the game and player which made fans the most nervous this week.)- Chris Jackson, LSU at Alabama- I was sure Jackson was going to miss the crucial kicks against Auburn a couple weeks ago. He made them. I was sure he was going to make them against Bama this weekend. He missed them. This game, and more specifically the thought of needing him to tie the game in OT almost gave me a heart attack. Thank you Dwayne Bowe. Thank you.

Charlie Weis Trophy- (Or which coach deserves a $120 Billion, 400 year extension based on the weekend performances of their team)- Steve Spurrier- I couldn't stop laughing whenever the Cocks scored. Seriously I love knowing that Gators fans have to suffer through losing to their own damn guy. He has done the best job of any coach in CFB this year in my opinion and it won't be very long (like next year) before the Cocks are in the SECCG.

Les Miles Trophy- (the Coach most likely to get lynched for his team's performance the previous weekend)- Urban Meyer- If there was one game Gator fans wanted to win, HAD to win: it was the game with the Cock boys. Gator fans had to suffer the downfall of losing to their own damn guy. and I can't get enough of it. C'mon Gator fans: blame it all on ole' Urban.

Jack Black Award- (the Defensive Coordinator of the team who exhibited the most Tenacious D)- Bo Pelini- I'm not a big Pelini guy, but he really made some high quality adjustments on the Defensive side of the ball for LSU. In the second half our defense was simply unstoppable. Tenacious D at its finest for the Tigers in Tuscaloosa.

Led Zeppelin Award- (or the Ronnie Prude Trophy, named in honor of the song "When the Levee Breaks" and Prude's performance at the very end of last year's Capital One Bowl.)- Georgia Defense- Really. How could you let that happen? You had the War Chickens backed up, less than two minutes left, and it was 4th and 10. A 62 yard catch-and-run. Unbelievable. Not only that, you couldn't recover the fumble when they fumbled it away into the endzone. This isn't the first time this has happened- remember the Skyler Green TD when LSU and UGA met in Tiger Stadium in 2003? Come on, make a play.

Matt Leinart Vanity Trophy- (or the player whose performance most deserves Orson to blog about a day in his life)- Kyle Williams- The LSU DT was simply unstoppable against Alabama. He was in the backfield in nearly every play, and beat the OL off the ball on almost every play. He also played team leader by rallying the troops in the locker room at half time. Laron Landry's killer hit on Brodie may get more notice, but it was Kyle Williams who provided most of the stopping in the stopping of the Bama offense.

The Big 6 Award- (the 6 offenses which are revolutionizing football this week)- Louisville, Texas, Kentucky, South Carolina, Buffalo, and finally the Grambling Tigers and their Rural Central Louisiana Ouachita River Coast Offense