Football season is still a couple of months away, but it’s never too early to start looking at the schedule.
We’re fortunate to live in an area that usually features some good high school, college and pro football.
So let’s take a look at some of the best games (at least on paper) that the 2014 season has to offer. We’ll start in mid-November and go in reverse chronological order for the top four weeks.
Highlights: Alabama at LSU, San Francisco at New Orleans, St. Amant at Dutchtown, East Ascension at Catholic.
Comments: Where should we start? The Tigers hope to end a three-game losing streak against Bama. The Saints and 49ers should be jockeying for playoff positioning in the National Football Conference. The Gators and Griffins hook up in a rematch of their five-overtime thriller last season. The Spartans take on one of the co-District 5-5A champs. And it’s the last week of the high school regular season. What a stacked weekend.
Oct. 30-Nov. 2
Highlights: New Orleans at Carolina on a Thursday night, East Ascension at St. Amant, Ascension Christian at East Iberville.
Comments: The Gators-Spartans rivalry is enough to put this weekend at No. 2. St. Amant and EA have split their last two games with each coming down to the final minute. The Lions’ contest makes this list because their lone 2013 district victory came at EIHS’ expense. And the Saints get a prime-time crack at a Carolina team that rallied from an early-season, 3½-game deficit to steal the NFC South title.
Highlights: Dutchtown at East Ascension, Ascension Catholic at West St. John, Ole Miss at LSU, Green Bay at New Orleans on a Sunday night.
Comments: The Spartans seek payback after suffering their first 2013 loss in a nail-biter against the Griffins. ACHS gets a shot at WSJ, which captured the 8-1A crown last year. The Tigers face the Rebels after suffering a shocking 20-17 loss last season at Ole Miss. And Aaron Rodgers and the Packers make their first trip to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome since Drew Brees and the Saints put up 51 points on Green Bay on a Monday night in 2008.
Highlights: Catholic at Dutchtown, Woodlawn at East Ascension, Donaldsonville at Patterson, Ascension Christian at Ascension Catholic.
Comments: The two teams that shared the 5-5A title meet as the Griffins seek redemption after last year’s loss to the Bears. EA won at Woodlawn last year, but WHS rebounded to pull an upset at St. Amant one week later. Donaldsonville travels to face a Patterson team that was the No. 4 seed in the 2013 Class 3A playoffs. And the parish’s two 8-1A representatives meet in a game that easily went to Catholic last season.
Highlight: LSU at Auburn
Comments: Jordan-Hare Stadium on the Plains should be electric. LSU has won the last three and six of the last seven in the series and handed Auburn its only 2013 regular-season loss.
Best of the rest
Nov. 10-12: St. Amant goes to Baton Rouge to face Catholic after a 41-14 rout of the Bears last season.
Nov. 15-17: First weekend of the high school playoffs, LSU visits Arkansas and Cincinnati comes to New Orleans in a matchup of 2013 playoff teams.
Aug. 28-Sept. 1: LSU opens against Wisconsin at NRG Stadium, the retractable domed stadium that sits next to the Astrodome. The Tigers make their first trip to Houston since 1983 (24-10 victory against Rice).
Sept. 5-7: Opening weekend of the high school and pro regular seasons. The Saints visit arch-rival Atlanta in a rematch of the 2013 opener. New Orleans is 12-2 against the Falcons under Sean Payton, not counting the split of the 2012 series when Payton was suspended.
Nov. 27-30: LSU visits Texas A&M on Thanksgiving night, and the Saints visit Pittsburgh for the first time in eight years.
Sept. 12-14: Donaldsonville meets Dutchtown in a rare Ascension nondistrict contest. The Saints go to Cleveland for the first time since Payton’s 2006 regular-season debut as New Orleans head coach.
Sept. 19-21: Dutchtown travels to Destrehan. Two of the Griffins’ three losses in 2013 came at home against the Wildcats, including a 23-7 defeat in the quarterfinals.