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.