ATLANTA — ‘Tis the night before Christmas on Tuesday, and all through Mercedes-Benz Stadium, not a creature was stirring, not even a Tiger or a Sooner.
Well, not yet, anyway.
LSU and Oklahoma clash here Saturday for the right to move on to New Orleans and the CFP National Championship Game. The stakes are enormous, and so will be the stack of quote sheets by the end of the week from players and coaches on both sides.
Before that, it’s worth remembering this is the first time most of these players, like LSU center Lloyd Cushenberry said, are away from home at Christmas. So for them, let’s send out a few heartwarming Christmas wishes and a purple and gold fruitcake or two to celebrate the season.
ATLANTA — Music blasted inside the LSU locker room, thumping the upbeat rhythm that matched the euphoria of winning the Southeastern Conferenc…
On second thought, if you get a fruitcake that has taken on a purplish tinge, throw it out.
Now, on to the gifts … Heaux! Heaux! Heaux!
… For Joe Burrow, a clean pocket from which to throw passes (beats a full stocking any time).
… Also for Joe Heisman, a visit from “Property Brothers” Drew and Jonathan Scott to build him a trophy room in the Burrow bungalow in Athens, Ohio. (This just in: Joe has won the “A Christmas Story” Leg Lamp Trophy — A major award! — to go with the Heisman and the Maxwell and the Davey O’Brien and the rest of his loot.) Then again, just call Joe a good real estate agent to find him and his family a bigger home field after he cashes in that No. 1 NFL draft pick money (OU’s Kyler Murray got $35.2 million when he was drafted first by Arizona last year).
… One more for Joe: A way for the woeful Cincinnati Bengals to trade away their No. 1 draft pick so he winds up with a better team. But don’t get your hopes up, Saints fans. There may be miracles on 34th street at Christmas, but it would take a biblical miracle to get the Saints from where they are now in the draft order to No. 1.
… For Tigers tailback Clyde Edwards-Helaire, a healthy and happy hamstring.
ATLANTA — Clyde Edwards-Helaire, LSU's leading rusher who injured a hamstring last week, "has a chance to play" Saturday against Oklahoma, coa…
… For Ed Orgeron, also a healthy and happy Edwards-Helaire hamstring. I mean, what else do you get for the man who already has an SEC championship trophy in hand and a fat new contract waiting in the wings?
… For the LSU team, brimming with prizes and praise the world over, focus on an outmanned but still dangerous opponent in Oklahoma.
Monday, defensive end Rashard Lawrence basically said save your wrapping paper.
“Oh, Coach O isn’t going to let us do that,” Lawrence said. “He came in the meeting (Monday) and he set the tone for the week of practice, especially with the defensive line. Thursday we didn't have our best practice up front, and he came in the room and he came in the team meeting, and he set the tone. So this week is going to be a great week of practice. You know, great days, great events and everything.
“But we came down here to win.”
… For passing game coordinator Joe Brady, a new barbecue pit. He likes to say, “Everybody eats” in this LSU offense. With the fat new contract he is getting as well, he can afford to host “everybody” for a few cookouts.
… For tight end Thaddeus Moss, another great catch to go on his famous father Randy Moss’s “You Got Mossed!” segment on ESPN.
… For right tackle Austin Deculus and his Jason Momoa-like locks … conditioner.
For two schools known for their football, LSU and Oklahoma have been mighty infrequent gridiron opponents. Saturday’s Peach Bowl matchup betwe…
… For left tackle Saahdiq Charles, no more games missed because of “coach’s decisions.”
… For cornerback Derek Stingley, a new bike. He may be a first-team All-American with a chance to join Tommy Casanova as LSU’s only three-time All-Americans, but Stingley is still young enough to think a new bike would be awesome.
… For wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, an 11th-hour NCAA change of heart allowing him to wear those cool Tiger-stripe tipped clears with the Biletnikoff Award logo on the side he had in practice. It’s the playoffs, but why not let the kids have some fun?
… For freshman safety and soon-to-be LSU outfielder Mo Hampton, batting gloves.
… For defensive backs coach and former Tigers defensive back Corey Raymond, a tie. Someone always has to get a tie. Probably an ugly tie.
… For LSU fans everywhere, a pair of CFP National Championship Game tickets in your stocking. You’ve all been very good this year, right?
… For the Athens (Ohio) County Food Pantry, the Baton Rouge Food Bank, and every other charitable cause large or small touched by Burrow’s Heisman Trophy acceptance speech: the gift of us not forgetting next year or the year after that the needs they are here to address continue in Louisiana, Ohio and elsewhere.
… And for you and yours, a blessed holiday season and a prosperous 2020.