Notes on a golf scorecard from the endangered species that is the LSU Golf Course …
… It’s a sad state of affairs when LSU coach Les Miles has to beg LSU football fans to come early and stay late for Saturday’s Ole Miss game, even to the point Monday where he invited them to bring food.
Miles corrected himself Wednesday on his weekly call-in show (you can’t bring food into the stadium), but again lobbied fans to come and fill Tiger Stadium’s 102,321 seats.
“We would expect the crowd to be loud and noisy,” Miles said, “extremely loud. I think the stadium has the potential to be the style of place we haven’t seen yet with the renovation, the extra seats and the fact, as someone said, it’s a big game.”
The tickets are sold. It’s just a matter of fans coming and staying and not leaving en masse at halftime.
Look, it’s a hassle to come to the game compared to watching it on TV. LSU’s pre- and postgame traffic is still a major issue despite efforts to improve it, parking is at a premium (often a premium price) and there’s more than a fair chance some drunk is going to hurl all over your Dockers.
But for the No. 24-ranked Tigers to upset the No. 3 Rebels this shapes up to be a 60-minute game, one that requires 60 minutes of eardrum-puncturing sound for the home team’s benefit. This is the most dangerous and talented team Ole Miss has brought to Tiger Stadium since at least the days of Eli Manning and Deuce McAllister, maybe longer.
So if you have tickets, go. If you can’t, give them to someone else, especially someone — be they a Tiger or a Rebel — who has never experienced Tiger Stadium on what shapes up to be a classic Saturday night setting.
… You could have excused Miles if he had done a victory lap around the podium at Wednesday’s post-practice news conference when asked about the finding of the NCAA and an internal Oklahoma State investigation into alleged improprieties in the football program there while and after Miles was head coach.
Sports Illustrated teased out a week’s worth of stories on the program last fall, promising lurid blockbuster tales of illegal activity and depravity and a program that Miles and successor Mike Gundy allowed to careen out of control.
There were some improprieties, which Oklahoma State admitted to, but they were relatively pedestrian in nature. You kept waiting for SI to produce a smoking gun, and instead the series ended with a prop gun with one of those little flags that says “Bang!” flopping out of it.
If the conclusion is Miles didn’t run a pristine program at OSU, it’s a charge that can be levied at virtually any big-time college athletic program. Oklahoma State folks are sure to say most of the problems as they were happened when Miles was coach and not under Gundy’s tenure to try to distance themselves from the SI broadside even further.
Whatever. Miles was never in any danger of being touched by this investigation, though his reputation might have taken a dent. SI should be more worried about its reputation and a series of stories that relied on hearsay and uncorroborated evidence, falling far short of the Yahoo! Sports stories on Miami athletics that came with reams of receipts or the stunning report that came out Wednesday showing North Carolina allowed student-athletes to take bogus classes for 18 years.
Former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee, who died Tuesday, would tell Watergate reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, “You don’t have it yet, kid,” when their stories on Nixon administration shady doings fell short of the mark.
Someone should have told that to the writers at Sports Illustrated and saved everyone the trouble.
… I missed last week’s LSU-Kentucky game to cover the Saints-Lions debacle, but I’m told Mike VI didn’t come out and tour Tiger Stadium yet again. The Bengal tiger mascot is 0-5 this season with the chance of just two appearances left against Ole Miss and Alabama.
I certainly don’t know the minutiae of what goes into proper care of a man-eating predator like Mike and I’m just as certain there are sensible reasons for not forcing him into his traveling cage. The approach by his handlers is apparently this: If Mike doesn’t want to go, he isn’t forced to go.
Like so many other LSU fans these days, I suppose he just stays at his habitat and watches the game on his big-screen TV.
We can debate the right or wrong of keeping a caged tiger on campus, even if his habitat is nicer than most people’s homes (I for one do not have a scratching log and babbling brook in my yard), or the humanity of getting him into his rolling cage for games.
But if you’re going to keep him, is coaxing him into going into the stadium for like, an hour, doesn’t seem that much less humane. It’s a tradition that slowly seems to be fading into the past at LSU, like the old H-style goalposts and painting every other 5-yard swath of the field dark green or doctors being paged over the PA before the days of cell phones (“Doctor number 3-5-9, please call, medical exchange!”).
If they ever stop painting the numbers every five yards (5, 10, 15, 20, 25), which I can think is done nowhere else in college football, then I’ll stay home, too.
Follow Scott Rabalais on Twitter: @RabalaisAdv.