NASHVILLE, Tenn. — When it comes to LSU bowl games, neither monsoon-like rain nor sleet nor mad cow disease will stop the Evil Twins from being in the stands.
When LSU kicks off Tuesday here in the Music City Bowl against Notre Dame (2 p.m., ESPN), twin brothers Scott and Kent DeJean will be in the stands. Per usual. There’s a decent chance by now that, if they weren’t there, the game wouldn’t be played.
This will be the DeJean’s 23rd straight LSU bowl, dating to the 1985 Sugar. They’ve also never missed an LSU home game for 31 straight seasons.
“We don’t hunt or fish,” said Scott, a Lafayette veterinarian who works for the USDA. “LSU is my hobby. So I spend my money doing that.”
“This is our vacation time,” said Kent, a Baton Rouge attorney. “I take my vacation this time every year, and my staff knows I’m going to be out during bowl season. Scott does the same thing. We travel to other places, but this trip is part of our lives.”
Neither of their parents attended LSU and, as young boys growing up in Lawtell, neither had ever been to a game at Tiger Stadium. Their love of LSU sports began almost by accident.
“We were 8 or 9, and we were at our grandmother’s house playing football,” Kent said. “A cousin of ours was an LSU grad and a big LSU fan, and she came by and asked who were pulling for that night between LSU and Tulane. We didn’t know anything about either one, but we knew LSU was the state school.”
The next year, 1973, LSU started 9-0 en route to an Orange Bowl berth against Penn State. Scott would listen transfixed to every game on a transistor radio.
“It hooked me,” he said, though he couldn’t understand why the Penn State fans were rooting against the Tigers.
“LSU was the good guys,” he said. “They wore white. It was shocking to us that there were people who could pull against the Tigers.”
The two bought season tickets after they graduated from LSU and soon were high-ranking “administrators” in the famous tailgating group the Krewe of Ragoo.
“We were the masters of ceremonies, and we would put on all kinds of skits and talks,” Kent said. “One of the member’s wives said (jokingly), ‘You guys are evil.’ When the Internet came around, I needed a username, and the only nickname I had was Evil Twin.”
Though the younger brother by five minutes, Kent was the first to get hooked up online. For that reason, he’s Evil Twin 1 and Scott is Evil Twin 2.
If you’ve ever heard LSU’s weekly football coach’s radio show, you’ve heard Evil Twin 1 in action. For the past dozen years or so, Kent has been on hand (with Scott, his co-scriptwriter) to deliver a long, always humorous diatribe against LSU’s opponent that week, culminating with, “Coach, I’ve got a question.”
Questioning their devotion to the Tigers would be foolish.
They’ve been to see LSU in two College World Series, two Women’s College World Series, three Women’s Final Fours, the 2006 Men’s Final Four, all three football national championship games the Tigers have played in and all five of their appearances in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game.
But the bowl games are the constant. Not that there haven’t been issues.
At the 1987 Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida, the DeJeans and a friend were surrounded by South Carolina fans as they crossed a bridge to the game.
“They kept telling us stuff, and I getting madder and madder,” Scott recalled. “We finally had enough and started yelling, ‘LSU! LSU!’ I thought those people were going to throw us over the bridge into the St. Johns River.”
Ten years later at the 1997 Independence Bowl, also against Notre Dame, rain, sleet, snow and a stiff north wind nearly turned Kent to ice.
“I had seven layers of jackets on — if I’d fallen over, I’d have been like a roach on his back — and a blanket on top of that,” he said. “By the end of the game, I was suffering from hypothermia so bad I can’t get in back of my friend’s truck — they have to lift me up. I go back to the hotel, take a 20-minute hot shower and get into bed, still cold. I was almost ready to call my brother to take me to the hospital.”
The biggest weather issue came at the 2010 Capital One Bowl in Orlando, Florida, when a massive deluge just before kickoff left Kent with an, ahem, wardrobe malfunction.
“It rained so much my pants got so heavy (that) my belt broke about 10 minutes before the game,” he said. “So I’m having to hold up about 100 pounds of pants the whole game. When Penn State finally beats us, I gave up on the pants and they almost dropped to my knees, and I think I mooned the entire LSU section.”
“He had the red ass, and everyone knew it,” Scott said with a laugh.
The only time either of them came close to missing a bowl was when LSU was playing Oklahoma in the 2004 Sugar Bowl for its first BCS national championship. Scott got a call from a USDA official the day before the game to go to Yakima, Washington, to investigate the first domestic case of mad cow disease.
“He said, ‘We need you on a plane tomorrow,’ ” Scott recalled. “I said, ‘You think those cows are mad in Washington? I’m 42. I’ve never seen LSU play for a national championship. You’ve got to do something.’
“He said, ‘Would you be willing to fly Monday? I said, ‘That’s a good day to fly to Washington. I was there 23 days, but I was there to see LSU win the national championship.”
LSU’s two football national championships are like his children, Kent said.
How about the 2012 BCS title game loss to Alabama?
“That’s like the redheaded stepchild,” Scott said.
Follow Scott Rabalais on Twitter: @RabalaisAdv.