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Entries in LSU (10)


College Football Notebook: Week 1 Review

College Football Notebook

One Great Season

Here are a few takeaways from the first weekend of college football:

+ Don't get me wrong; I absolutely adore the Mark Herzlich story. So great to see the Boston College linebacker suited up and flying around on Saturday. But do you think his story would get as much attention if he was, say, a Miami wideout?

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Randy Rosetta: A Q&A With LSU Beat Writer

Randy Rosetta

One Great Season

Randy Rosetta covers LSU football for the The Advocate in Baton Rouge, La. He was nice enough to answer some questions about the Tigers, the SEC and much more. After you read the interview, be sure to follow Rosetta on Twitter at @RandyRosetta.

One Great Season: There's a lot of pressure on the offense this year. Is quarterback Jordan Jefferson finally ready to be the man and lead that unit?

Randy Rosetta: If not now, he may never be. This was supposed to be the season when Jefferson and/or Jarrett Lee was handed the keys to the offense – the first year after Ryan Perrilloux in a perfect world. That didn't happen because Perrilloux couldn’t walk the straight and narrow, so both Jefferson and Lee have a season as a starter under their belts as a result. That should mean either guy is ready to step out there and be more mature ... but we'll see. Jefferson has to make quicker decisions and be willing to check down to second and third receivers. If Lee steps in, he has to make better reads and keep the ball out of opponents' hands.

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No. 16: LSU Tigers

Jordan Jefferson

The One Great Season College Football Countdown continues Friday. We'll be counting down the preseason Top 25 teams in 2010. Today's No. 16 is LSU.

One Great Season

In a year when the SEC West appears to belong to Alabama once again, LSU, Auburn and Arkansas will slug it out for second place. Two things give LSU the slightest of edges in this race:

Jordan Jefferson and a defense full of hungry new starters ready to continue the LSU tradition on that side of the ball.

Jefferson this preseason is hardly being hyped as a game-changing quarterback, but one thing to remember is that his 2009 stats (2,166 passing yards, 17 TDs, 7 INTs) were just fine. It was his mental game that tripped him up. Tentative, indecisive, throwing the ball away early -- Jefferson looked inexperienced. There's a simple reason for that -- he was.

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Video: Tailgating Highlights from Florida-LSU

One Great Season

ATLANTA -- If you follow One Great Season on Twitter, then you know I was pretty impressed with the tailgating scene in Baton Rouge over the weekend. Here are a couple of video clips from Saturday, the first of which was of an LSU student shot-gunning a beer, and the second video clip shows frenzied Florida fans awaiting the arrival of the Gator bus caravan a few hours before gametime.


Monday Notebook

Hot Photographer

One Great Season

ATLANTA -- It took more than two hours to get out of the parking lot and travel the eight miles up the highway to get back to my hotel after Saturday's Florida-LSU game. After eating and then working for two or three hours, I didn't get to bed until after 4 a.m., and had an 8 a.m. wake-up call. My fatigued state caused me to ignore the alarm at 7 a.m. today, but fortunately, my first commitment isn't until 5:30 p.m., so finally getting out of bed at 10:30 a.m. didn't set me back at all!

Anyway, being in Georgia this week reminds me that I forgot to share a gem from last week when I was in Berkeley for the USC-Cal game.

Surely by now you saw how Georgia lost to LSU nine days ago. The Bulldogs got a late touchdown to take the lead and send their home fans into a frenzy. I got a text message from a gal named Michelle, a Georgia fan I met in Stillwater when UGA visited Oklahoma State. It went something like this: "OMG touchdown! Yay!"

I received that message as I was on the field at Cal's Memorial Stadium, watching USC in pregame warm-ups somewhere between 3 and 4 p.m. PT. I hadn't seen a scoreboard in hours, and had no idea where the LSU-Georgia game stood. I texted Michelle back for a score update, but one never came. Despite Georgia's late score, LSU still had enough time to mount a drive of its own.

So when I checked my voice mail a couple hours later during halftime of the USC-Cal game, Michelle had left a message. It went something like this: "Mother ... Fucker." Click.

Yep, Georgia's got some passionate fans alright.

Here are some other tidbits from the last few days:

+ As I was making my way out of Tiger Stadium Saturday night, I saw a Florida fan sitting by himself near one of the exits. He had a cut on his forehead and a small bandage on his leg. I asked him what happened, and he said he got beat up by some LSU fans before the game. He said this was the third time he came to Baton Rouge, after two previous Florida losses in Death Valley. "I guess that's the price you pay to see your team finally get a win here." Poor guy.

+ I've shot games that require photographers to kneel if they're behind the end zone, but LSU was the first game I've ever worked where you had to be down regardless of where you were. Needless to say, my quads are a little sore today.

+ The atmosphere at Tiger Stadium definitely was electric. I'd heard all week how insane it was going to be, and I will certainly confirm that it was, but I don't know if it was any louder than the USC-Ohio State game in Columbus last month.

+ During my week in Baton Rouge, it took me until Thursday before I realized the host of one of the sports talk radio shows I listened to each day in the car was actually named Buddy. I just thought his callers were very friendly or that addressing one as "Buddy" was merely a casual Southern-ism or something.

+ While it wasn't surprising to hear many LSU players say during the week that they'd hoped Tebow would play -- to be the best you need to beat the best ... at its best -- it was pretty neat the way they said it. In the same breath, many of them made comments like, "He's a great guy" or "He deserves to play in a game like this." Pretty classy.


Gameday Gallery: Florida at LSU

Hot LSU fans

One Great Season

BATON ROUGE, La. -- I'd say I've now been to the two biggest games of the college football season so far. In Week Two, the One Great Season tour was in Columbus for the huge USC-Ohio State tilt, and just last night, I took in the biggest game on the SEC schedule to date this year.

No. 1 Florida brought its groggy quarterback and a nasty defense to Tiger Stadium for what promised to be a hard-hitting heavyweight bout with fourth-ranked LSU.

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The forecast called for heavy rain, but other than a couple of brief drizzly periods, the weather was perfect for an old-fashioned SEC donnybrook. The visitors came away with the 13-3 win, leaving folks wondering who will be able to beat the Gators, and leaving me wondering that while Tim Tebow may go down as the best college football player ever, could Florida also boast the best defense of all time?

Not only was the atmosphere electric inside the stadium, but hours before kickoff, the tailgate scene was pretty intense as well. Click here to take a look at some of what I saw in my first-ever gameday experience at Death Valley.


Florida at LSU: Gameday Tidbits

Les Miles and Urban Meyer

One Great Season

BATON ROUGE, La. -- You know those weekly media luncheons I go to every Monday or Tuesday where the coach of the home team speaks and takes questions?

Well, the hard-working folks in the Sports Information Departments at each of these schools publish a notebook that has every fact or statistic you could ever need. Below are some of the more interesting tidbits gleaned from those documents as we await Saturday's kickoff between Florida and LSU:

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+ LSU has won 32 straight home games played on Saturday nights. Coach Les Miles is 20-0 in prime-time games at Death Valley.
+ Florida leads the SEC and is among the top three nationally in total offense and total defense.
+ Saturday's game will mark the 11th time that the previous two national champs (Florida last year, LSU in 2007) have met. The defending champ is 4-5-1 in such games and has lost four in a row.
+ The winner of this game has gone on to win the last three national championships (Florida also won the 2006 title).
+ Florida coach Urban Meyer is 6-1, while at Florida, against top-five teams. Meyer, whose Gators were idle last week, also is 28-3 overall when he has more than a week to prepare for a game.
+ LSU also welcomed a No. 1 team to Tiger Stadium last year, when Alabama squeaked by with a 27-21 OT victory.
+ LSU beat Florida the last time the Gators visited while ranked No. 1, in 1997.

On another note, I seem to be telling this story a lot this week: Legendary broadcaster Verne Lundquist, who's been around for a while and has called seemingly every great sporting event under the sun, didn't call his first Saturday night game at Tiger Stadium until 2007. You guessed it, it was the Florida-LSU game.

Anyway, Tony Barnhart told spartyandfriends in the preseason that Lundquist called him up afterward and said of that game in Death Valley: "Tony, that was the most incredible atmosphere that I’ve ever seen."

If Verne Lundquist was moved by that game, I think I'm in for a real treat tonight.


Tuesday Notebook

One Great Season

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Though it's nice to be sleeping in a bed again -- the last two weeks I was on couches -- where I'm staying this week in Baton Rouge is probably the worst hotel I've visited so far.

When I arrived, I noticed a dead cockroach on its back on the rug ... in the front lobby. I also saw a small bug crawling around on the bathroom floor a minute after checking into my room, then saw another dead bug on that same bathroom floor that could have been cleaned up by the housekeeping staff.

The front desk staffer is always in the back on a personal phone call or watching television. Trust me, I don't want be the annoying guy ringing the bell either.

And the free morning breakfast is more municipal than it is continental.

Below are some other tidbits from my first 36 hours in Baton Rouge:

CONVOY: As I was departing the LSU indoor football complex mid-afternoon Monday, a bunch of players were hustling in for practice. Car after car after car turned into the sprawling facility. I think I may have heard a hip-hop beat or two pounding from within the tinted windows. I did hear a little country music too, probably from the cars of offensive linemen.

ONE GREAT INTERN: One Great Season welcomes Kevin Theiss, a junior at Concordia College in Bronxville, New York. We'll have more about Theiss and the work he'll be doing here later this week.

WEATHER REPORT: It's October. Please lose the humidity, Louisiana.

SEPARATED AT BIRTH? I'd always thought this just from how Les Miles looks on television. But it's even more apparent when you see him in person that if he had a little more hair, he'd look exactly like actor Kurt Russell:


LSU's Les Miles Wishes Tebow Well

One Great Season

BATON ROUGE, La. -- In most cases, a coach of one team heaping praise on the backup quarterback of another team is merely an exercise in gamesmanship.

But at the LSU football weekly media luncheon Monday, you knew coach Les Miles was sincere in his flattery of No. 1 Florida's John Brantley, who would start in Saturday's heavyweight bout at No. 4 LSU if Tim Tebow can't answer the bell.

Below is a quick soundbite from Miles about how comfortable he thinks Florida is at the quarterback position, and in the video clip below that, the coach says he hopes Tiger Stadium will prove to be Death Valley for Florida, as it did the last time the Gators visited in 2007.


Monday Notebook

One Great Season

HOUSTON -- Sitting at Houston's Intercontinental Airport on a Monday afternoon, waiting for my flight to San Jose, I couldn't help but continue to be obsessed about college football. Here are some observations four weeks in:

+ It's turning into one great season indeed. I feel like we're on the way to a very 2007-like campaign full of upsets, unpredictability and an ever-changing Top 25.

+ Not that the Top 25 is the most important aspect of the sport, but if one thing has been proven so far about an early season poll ranking, it's that it's the one thing about the business of college football -- unlike the BCS bowl format -- that is truly for the fans. Perhaps the most significant thing that preseason rankings -- Cal? Ole Miss? -- do is warm things up for the bloggers and radio talk show hosts, and of course their audiences. College football fans might be the most passionate of all sports observers, and rankings in August and September give them plenty to cry about.

+ ESPN and others need to stop using the term "must-win" or "virtual must-win" in September. Notre Dame, anyone? 2007 proved you can lose -- and lose late in the season like Ohio State did -- and still play for the national championship. Already this season, we have four one-loss teams ranked among the top nine. And as I look at the calendar, it tells me it's not yet October.

+ I just got my credential confirmed for the Oct. 10 Florida game at LSU. Thanks go out to the fine people in the LSU Sports Information Department!

+ I covered Tony Pike one time some years back. Not on the field, but when I was freelancing some sports stories for the Cincinnati Enquirer. He was certainly a good quarterback at Reading High School, but at 7 feet tall and no more than 90 pounds, hardly seemed the type of guy who'd be a Heisman  Trophy candidate years later. But do you know what does seem quite Heisman-like at this point? Pike's stat line through four games, all Cincinnati Bearcat victories:

71 percent completion rate | 11 touchdowns | 2 interceptions | 306 ypg passing | 173 quarterback rating.

Kid is nice. Cincinnati is my alma mater, so I definitely root for the Bearcats, but those who claim the Bearcats are the best college team in the state of Ohio should still check themselves.