After one of the best games, and overall experiences surrounding a game, this past weekend in Baton Rouge, I’m not sure why all the negativity I’ve been reading and hearing this week has gotten to me, but it has.
Finebaum, amongst others, thinks that LSU and their fans are scum. I’ve read and heard a few comments from some Alabama fans echoing the same thing.
Doug thinks that, between the two, Alabama fans are “douchier” than Auburn fans. First off, you’ve got a problem if you use a form of the word douchey to describe anything. That’s tantamount to saying assier or dickeyer, or any other word that works perfectly in one form only to be bastardized by someone trying to sound cool.
There are mass comments about how Florida is way better than Alabama and the Tide doesn’t really have any big wins, especially now that Clemson’s season is officially in the toilet. Alabama has only beaten four teams with a winning record -although they usually miscount or give the overall record of Alabama’s opponent (as if that is that much different for any team at this point in the year) and use that as justification that they are no good. Then they throw the fact that both Florida and Georgia hung half-a-hundred on LSU and since it took Alabama overtime to win the game they must not be that good.
These same people seem to forget that Florida lost to Ole Miss, at home. The same team that Alabama went to sleep on in the second half and still won against. These people forget that football is a game played on a field and regardless of what the stats say you still have to compete. I don’t give a damn how good Florida looks now. They lost a game. You don’t get do overs. Saying their playing the best football now is like a guy bringing rubbers to his girlfriends house six weeks after he knocked her up. It doesn’t matter how prepared you are now, the damage is done.
This Alabama team will never set any records. Offensively or defensively. They just aren’t going to set anyones hair on fire. But what they will do is play physical football for sixty minutes. A little more if need be. Alabama looked as bad in the first half in Baton Rouge as they have all year. They turned the ball over three times. One of those resulted in seven points and the other two kept ten to fourteen off the board. Alabama tied the score up by halftime and never trailed the rest of the game. Despite the worst performance of the year by the rush defense and the three turnovers they still won the game. Isn’t that the sign of a good team; you put forth less than your best effort and you still win?
Out in Lubbock, Texas Tech, who I will add is impressive, puts it on an Oklahoma State (a two-loss) team whose biggest win is to a two-loss Missouri team, and all of a sudden their the gaining style points and first place votes. Mike Leach is the best thing since sliced bread and all the quaterbacks in the Big 12 are just so awesome. Not saying they aren’t good but John Parker Wilson would look like a Heisman candidate against those defenses. Of the four teams from the Big 12 South that are soooo good, the best defense (total yardage) belongs to Oklahoma, who slides in at 51st in the nation. The other three, Texas Tech, Texas, and Oklahoma State, check in at 57th, 60th, and 84th respectively. Those stats are compiled against more FCS teams (4) than BCS conference schools (3) out-of-conference -two of the three BCS teams were Washington and Washington State who are a combined 1-18 and the other against Arkansas who is in a dead heat for worst in the SEC – and exactly one Top 25 team in TCU.
Again, I’m not saying those schools are bad, only that their body of work shouldn’t give anybody any reason to declare them the best in the country. Remember Missouri and Chase Daniels’ run to the Heisman? That should be notice to all that putting up a gazillion points is not the mark of a great football team. Only one that can put up a bunch of points.
Back to LSU and Baton Rouge. I’ve been there for games a half-a-dozen times and believe it or not, I have never been beaten up and left for dead in the swamp. And that includes a visit to the student section wearing a crimson pullover.
I sat in an LSU section the other night and had a blast. When the game was over almost every single person that was sitting near me and and I had spoken with shook my hand. Granted, I didn’t act like a jackass and there were a few, “Florida is gonna beat the hell out of y’all” type comments offered up but no one threatened me with bodily harm.
Some of the best experiences around the sport of college football, win or lose, have taken place at LSU. I will definitely be going back.
So I’m always puzzled when people talk bad about Baton Rouge. I thought about it a lot and I have come to the following conclusion:
If you go into a place, and this goes for any stadium in the conference, and either expect to be treated badly, so much that you are defensive about everything that happens, or you are a jackass and invite reply, scorn, and ridicule by your jackassy actions, then you are not going to have a good time.
Yes, if you go to Tiger Stadium and you wear colors of the opposing team someone will yell “Tiger Bait” at you. Your personal feelings on the appropriateness of that have no bearing on the situation. Your reaction does. Smile and yell “good luck” or even better, “Is that Jambalaya y’all are cooking?” and everything will be fine. Shoot them the bird or tell them what you think of cajuns and things will go badly.
Here is another example. If you live in a state where the predominant fan base pulls for one of two schools from that state and you spout off about being the proud fan of a school from another state and people will give you a hard time or act “douchey” to you. Mainly because they don’t give two continental dams about your school, especially if your school holds any type of streak over theirs and all they read from that fan base reminds them of not only that streak but also how inbred everyone from your state believes them to be.
There are 92,000 fans at an Alabama game and other than a love for a football team I share genuine similarities with about 100 of them at absolute best. Almost half of them voted differently than me. More than 90% have different views on faith, what to do on a first date, what type of beer is best, what vehicle they drive and how they feel about gay marriage (well OK, everyone in Alabama hates queers – I’m kidding, just 99% of them). So to sit there and say that ,”all Alabama fans are,” or even “most Alabama fans are” is just asinine. Let’s face it somewhere right now there is a wife-beating, child-abusing, meth-dealing lunatic wearing something with Alabama on it and talking about how much he loves the TIde. He does not represent me nor I, him. But we are both Alabama fans. Now you can extend that analogy to every school in the SEC, except Vanderbilt.
The son of my grandmother’s next door neighbor was the biggest, sorriest redneck loser I have ever seen. Although he never failed to address my grandmother as ma’am, he was a sorry human being by almost any definition imaginable. He love the Georgia Bulldogs. I could choose him as my image to personify everything Georgia related. I don’t – because I know that there are many things better to associate the Bulldogs with.
The point is that folks need to stop using absolutes when discussing college football. LSU is a different experience, but that does not make it bad and there are assholes in every fan base. There are also quite a few gracious ones too. They are the type that no matter how bad you dislike a school, demand your respect. I’d prefer to focus on them. Then again, I’m an optimist.