Before I dash out to finish my Christmas shopping (don’t judge me), here are a few presents I’d like to bestow on the LSU football family:
For coach Les Miles, a fresh white LSU hat to wear during the Music City Bowl. Actually, Miles breaks out a fresh new hat for every game, but maybe for this one the letters “LSU” on the front could light up or something.
And, for the man who has everything, a traditional Michigan cap like Bo Schembechler used to wear, so he can sit in his study at home, trace the yellow block “M” on the front with his finger and dream about the dream job that he has given every indication will never turn into reality.
For offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, those pages of the playbook from the Texas A&M game, the ones with the quarterback zone reads, highlighted in yellow, laminated and bound in a special leather case with his initials on the front.
For senior running back Kenny Hilliard, a healthy shoulder so he can play in the Music City Bowl.
For senior running back Terrence Magee, the player who played any position and did anything that was asked of him during his LSU career, one last touchdown Dec. 30 against Notre Dame.
For quarterback Anthony Jennings, the gift of his best game yet as an LSU Tiger. Whether you think he’s the answer to LSU’s quarterback position going forward or not, since last year’s Arkansas game he has answered the call every time the Tigers needed him to play.
He took his benching in the New Mexico State game and the start of the Auburn game like a man, and he came back and gave it his best when he got the starting job back at Florida. Even if Jennings hasn’t earned every Tiger fan’s admiration for his play this year, he deserves their respect.
For quarterback Brandon Harris, the gift of patience.
We will hear from Miles that Harris will play in the Music City Bowl, that he’s splitting reps with Jennings. Yada, yada, yada. Maybe he will play more than potential garbage time against the Fighting Irish, and maybe he won’t. We’ll believe it when we see it.
But the prospect of Harris sparring with Jennings in an open position battle in spring practice and on into next fall is quite real. He doesn’t need to transfer (though he has tweeted that isn’t an option) but instead just needs to bide his time and be ready when opportunity does come, maybe as early as September.
For LSU’s wide receiver corps, some double-sided tape in their stockings to hang onto those passes when they do come their way.
For walk-on defensive back and active Marine Luke Boyd, one play. Just one play in his final college game. And the thanks of a grateful nation for his service.
For defensive coordinator John Chavis, a tie. Someone has to get a tie.
OK, a meaningful gift for Chief: getting linebacker Kwon Alexander to see the wisdom of returning for his senior season. To quote Cousin Eddie from “Christmas Vacation,” that’s the gift that keeps on giving the whole year. I wonder if the NCAA would consider a membership in the “Jelly of the Month Club” an impermissible benefit?
I’m sure LSU offensive line coach Jeff Grimes would like a gift like that, too, just one with Vadal Alexander or Jerald Hawkins under the wrapping paper.
How about one for the Notre Dame defense: a gift certificate to the best massage therapist in South Bend, Indiana. The Irish are going to need someone to help knead out the bruises after the pounding they’re going to get from the LSU running backs.
For you who have had the Job-like patience to get to the bottom of this column, the gift of meaningless trivia with which to amaze your family and friends as you sip egg nog: The “LP” in Nashville’s LP Field, site of the Music City Bowl, stands for Louisiana-Pacific. It’s a building materials company based in Nashville that bought the naming rights to the Tennessee Titans’ home stadium in 2008 for $30 million over 10 years.
And for you and LSU fans everywhere, safe travels to the Music City Bowl if you are going, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a wish for a peaceful and prosperous new year.
Follow Scott Rabalais on Twitter: @RabalaisAdv.