Wake up, Foots!

My God, I have gone way, way, WAY too long without posting. I am sorry. I am also very lazy.

There were some problems just before Thanksgiving, problems I do not wish to divulge, problems I do not wish to bore you, the good reader, with.

As for Thanksgiving itself, I didn’t eat upstairs with my parents, my paternal grandfather and his female companion. I did eat some turkey and fried cauliflower later, but no dressing, no mac and cheese, no sweet potatoes, and certainly no cranberry, which I have never eaten. Turkey sandwiches were just fine with me, thank you.

Kansas held its EIGHT high school football state championship games at SEVEN sites. Utterly ridiculous. I have ranted and raved about this for over a decade.

By comparison, Louisiana’s high school championships begin today. All nine games (too many) will be played in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.

I’ll talk about that in another post.

It’s very cold this morning in Kansas City. THANK GOD. Last weekend, it was close to 70 degrees. Unacceptable in this part of the country in December. I hated it when it was 70 degrees in Louisiana in winter. I REALLY hate it in Kansas and Missouri.

The Chiefs suspended cornerback Marcus Peters for this Sunday’s game with the Raiders at Arrowhead.

Last week, Peters threw a penalty flag into the stands at MetLife Stadium last Sunday during Kansas City’s loss to the Jets. Thinking he was ejected, he went back to the locker room, only to return without his socks.

Andy Reid, who would rather go through a root canal without anesthesia than punish a player, finally got tough with Peters, a known malcontent.

My question: what took until Wednesday, Andy? It should have been done before the Chiefs’ plane departed Newark Liberty International Airport after the game. Bill Belichick would not put up with this shit. After Rob Gronkowski speared Bills safety Tre’Davius White following an interception Sunday, Gronk was done for the day. The NFL suspended him for one game, and I’m certain had it not, Belichick would have punished Gronk in his own way.

The college coaching carousel is in full spin mode.

Arkansas, which waited eight seconds after losing its season finale to Missouri on Black Friday to fire Bret Bielema, hired SMU coach Chad Morris. Morris is 14-22 with the Mustangs, but let’s face it, SMU has been a wasteland since the NCAA gave the program the death penalty in 1987, shutting down the Mustang football team for the ’87 and ’88 seasons. SMU has done next to nothing since, and for Morris to win 14 games in three years has to be considered a success. The Razorbacks are definitely betting on the come, given Morris tutored DeShaun Watson at Clemson for two seasons before leaving for the richy-rich school in the University Park section of Dallas.

Jimbo Fisher traded Tallahassee for College Station. I don’t know of many coaches who would want to challenge Nick Saban every year, but Fisher has the ego. Texas A&M made it easy, giving Fisher a FULLY GUARANTEED 10-year, $75 million contract.

To replace Fisher, Florida State hired Willie Taggart, who went 7-5 in his first season at Oregon. Previously, Taggart coached at Western Kentucky and South Alabama. Florida State is in danger of becoming a distant third in its own state behind Miami and Florida, but the Seminoles also may become an afterthought in the ACC Atlantic, where Dabo Swinney has built a superpower at Clemson.

And it looks like Tennessee will have a coach today or tomorrow. It’s likely going to be Jeremy Pruitt, currently defensive coordinator at Alabama. Then again, being defensive coordinator at Alabama doesn’t carry much cachet, since everyone knows it’s Nick Saban’s defense.

The last time I posted, Butch Jones was still Tennessee’s football coach. He would not be three days later, fired after the Volunteers lost 50-17 at Missouri. It got no better for Tennessee under interim coach Brady Hoke, who lost to LSU and Vanderbilt, both in Knoxville.

The day after the loss to the Commodores, the Volunteers appeared to have found their man in former Rutgers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano, now the defensive coordinator at Ohio State under Urban Meyer.

My first thought? BAD HIRE. Schiano is an uptight prick. He alienated people across the NFL in his second game with the Bucs when he ordered his defense to attack Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who was kneeling down to run out the clock, which is standard operating procedure in football since the Miracle of the Meadowlands, the 1978 play which saw the Giants’ Joe Pisarcik botch an attempted handoff to Larry Csonka and fumble. Philadelphia Eagles safety Herm Edwards scooped up the fumble and scored in the game’s dying seconds, lifting his team to a 19-17 victory, and eventually, the Eagles’ first playoff berth since winning the 1960 NFL championship.

Schiano was even worse in his second year with the Bucs, covering up several cases of MRSA, a deadly infection which is resistant to antibiotics. Thousands of people have died from the infection. Kicker Lawrence Tynes contracted the infection, but instead of placing him on injured reserve, the Bucs screwed him royally by placing him on the non-football injury list, which meant he would not be paid, he would not have access to the Bucs’ doctors, he would lose his health insurance, and lose a year of service time for pension benefits.

What a piece of crap. What did Tennessee see in this guy?

People who defended Schiano said he won at Rutgers, which is usually pitiful. But I say he was ONE GAME over .500 (68-67) with the Scarlet Knights, and Rutgers did not win consistently until Boston College, Miami and Virginia Tech all left the Big East for the ACC.

Well, Volunteer fans let their displeasure know via social media. But it wasn’t over what happened with the Bucs, or his mediocre record at Rutgers. Rather, it was the fact he had allegedly covered up sexual abuse by Jerry Sandusky. Schiano had been an assistant at Penn State under Joe Paterno before leaving for Piscataway. I don’t know the full details, but the reaction in Knoxville was swift and overwhelmingly negative. Even state legislatures and U.S. Representatives took to Twitter to denounce Schiano.

Six hours after it first broke Schiano was heading to Knoxville, the offer was rescinded.

Athletic director John Currie went on the hunt for a new coach. Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy? Nope. Duke’s David Cutcliffe, who was offensive coordinator at Tennessee when Peyton Manning played there? No thanks. North Carolina State’s Dave Doeren? Nope.

Currie thought he had his man on the last day of November, flying to Los Angeles to meet with Washington State coach Mike Leach. Leach, who previously coached at Texas Tech, is as goofy as they come. Would he have fit in the SEC, which is as buttoned up as it comes in college football: I don’t know.

However, the next day, Currie was asked to return to Knoxville by Tennessee chancellor Beverly Davenport. The reason: Currie was given his pink slip. Fired after less than nine months in charge.

Philip Fulmer, who coached Tennessee to the 1998 national championship, was named as Currie’s successor. After rumors first leaked that Fulmer reached out to former LSU and Oklahoma State coach Les Miles about the position, Pruitt emerged as the front-runner, ahead of fellow SEC defensive coordinators Kevin Steele (Auburn) and Mel Tucker (Georgia).

That seems to be the new trend in the SEC: hire somebody who coached under Saban. Pruitt will become the third coach in the SEC East who was once a Saban assistant, joining Kirby Smart at Georgia and Will Muschamp at South Carolina. Muschamp was a teammate of Smart’s at Georgia and also coached Florida for four seasons before ending up in Gainesville.

Of course, Saban assistants aren’t always successful. Jim McElwain, the Crimson Tide’s offensive coordinator on their national championship teams of 2009 and ’11, bombed in three seasons at Florida. He was replaced by Dan Mullen, the winningest football coach in Mississippi State history. The Bulldogs were ranked #1 for several weeks in 2014, thanks to the exploits of Dak Prescott, now the Dallas Cowboys’ starting QB.

I’ve got to do better at posting. Much better. I will reflect on this in the time between posts, which hopefully will be very short.

College basketball starts anew

It isn’t an official holiday in Lawrence, Kansas, but I’m certain many, many, many people are finding excuses to skip work or classes at the University of Kansas.

The Jayhawks begin the college basketball season tonight when they host Tennessee State.

Yahoo. (Sarcasm)

I really don’t care much about college basketball. I will watch if there’s nothing else on, or I’m in a location where it’s on all the televisions and I have no choice but to watch–unless I want to blindfold myself. Otherwise, no thank you.

I don’t know why I fill out a bracket during the NCAA tournament. I guess it’s just to do something fun. I really don’t give a darn who wins.

LSU has been awful at men’s basketball for the better part of the last 20+ years, save for a trip to the Final Four in 2006 and scattered NCAA tournament appearances.

I don’t expect one of those scattered appearances to occur in 2018.

LSU is picked 14th–DEAD LAST–in the Southeastern Conference. By contrast, Missouri, which finished tied for last in the SEC with LSU last year and lost to the Bayou Bengals AT HOME, is ranked in the preseason polls and is expected to make the NCAA tournament, thanks to new coach Cuonzo Martin and a stellar recruiting class, led by Michael Porter Jr., widely regarded as the nation’s top prep player of 2016-17.

The. Bayou Bengals have a new coach, Will Wade, who came from VCU, where he conintued the Rams’ run of success began by Shaka Smart, now at Texas. Wade has brought needed enthusaism and discipline to a program lacking both under Johnny Jones, but Wade has a tougher task ahead of him than what Dale Brown did when he came to LSU in 1972.

I hope Wade succeeds. I want my alma mater to do well, like most graduates want to see their schools thrive. But i can’t see it happening this year or next. LSU must be patient with Wade. It has to give Wade at least four years to get this thing on the right track. I’m not saying beat Kentucky every time. The top half of the SEC year in and year out would be a major improvement.

Kentucky is the favorite in the SEC. As it should be. Until someone can consistently knock off the Wildcats, the title will remain in Lexington. John Calipari has adapted so well to the “one-and-done” phenomenon. You may hate the guy, but nobody can deny he can fuse together a whole new group, get them to play cohesively, send them off to the NBA, where most will be high draft picks, then start all over again.

When I frequented Ivar’s, the sports bar near the LSU campus where I spent hundreds (maybe thousands) of days, one of the first things I noticed was a bumper sticker behind the bar. It read:

Kentucky Pervert–a man who enjoys sex more than basketball.

Very tue. It’s not just that way with the Big Blue, but at Louisville, Western Kentucky, Morehead State, Eastern Kentucky and Northern Kentucky, too. Basketball, horse racing and bourbon are all Kentucky traditions, traditions which should be cherished. It makes the Bluegrass State one unique place.

Kansas will win the Big 12. Again. For the 14th consecutive season. Arizona will win the Pac-12. Duke the ACC. Wichita State should roll in its new conference, the American Athletic Conference, but how much of an upgrade from the Missouri Valley is it really? The Big Ten should be interesting, but look for Tom Izzo’s Michigan State Spartans to come through.

Wichita State fans have been begging and pleading to play Kansas (and Kansas State) in the regular season. Bill Self refuses to bite. Cuold a Shockers-Jayhawks match take place in San Antonio at the Final Four? Maybe.

Let the games begin. Just don’t expect me to be watching too much.

President Leghorn? Is that possible?

Last night, I resumed my favorite hobby, playing Buzztime trivia.

Near the end of the evening, a question came up which had one of the most ridiculous answers I have ever witnessed in my four and a half years of intesne Buzztime trivia playing (I played some in 2008 and ‘09, but it wasn’t until May 2013 when I became wrapped up in playing it regularly).

The question asked, which U.S. President stated that “The Only Thing We Have to Fear is Fear Itself”.

Of course, anyone who remembers history in high school knows it has to be Franklin Roosevelt. I knew that in middle school, but I’m not here to brag on myself.

The other choices were John F. Kennedy, James Monroe and…

FOGHORN LEGHORN.

I’ve heard of joke answers, but that was ridiculous.

Foghorn Leghorn isn’t real–unless there is a Foghorn Leghorn out there I’ve never met. He’s a cartoon character for crying out loud!

I get the point of not making Buzztime trivia impossible–except Brainbuster, which is every Tuesday from 7 to 7:30–but come on.

The only answer which would have been more ridiculous would have been Pigasus, the fake deity who actually earned a vote during the 1968 Democratic National Convention, the one where hippies rioted in the streets of Chicago.

Well, I stand corrected.

The most recent uestion just asked the nickname of Ohio State’s athletic teams. One choice: Kleptomaniacs.

Ah, Buzztime. Keeping us in stitches sometimes.

LSU-Alabama: the non-rivalry

LSU and Alabama play football tonight in Tuscaloosa.

It’s being called a rivalry. It’s being over hyped as it is each and every stinking year.

That is the wrong approach, especially for LSU.

Alabama would not make a big deal out of it if (a) Nick Saban hadn’t previously coached LSU and (b) LSU has generally been the last team the Crimson Tide has needed to beat to assure themselves of a spot in the SEC championship game.

Believe me, Alabama fans care much more about beating Auburn. Bear Bryant famously said he’d rather beat the “Cow College” (owing to Auburn’s status as Alabama’s primary agricultural university) once than Notre Dame ten times. Just substitute LSU, Mississippi State, Texas A&M or just about anyone else for Notre Dame and it’s still accurate.

LSU fans need to stop slitting their throats over the Alabama game.

I admit I did it last year. I went nuts on Twitter and Facebook when LSU lost 10-0 to the Tide in Baton Rouge.

I was wrong to have done so.

I’m not going to do anything this year.

Look, it’s going to take Jupiter aligning with Mars (sorry, Fifth Dimension) for LSU to win. The Bayou Bengals need Bert Jones to step into a time machine and go back to his senior season of 1972 to have a chance to score against Alabama’s defense. Since that’s not possible, I don’t see my alma mater scoring much, if at all.

LSU fans like to consider Alabama its biggest rival.

WRONG.

It’s only a rivalry if both teams hate each other equally. Not the case for Alabama, which will hate Auburn much more until the end of time. And for many Tide fans, Tennessee is a bigger rival than LSU.

LSU-Ole Miss? The last time both teams were in serious national championship contention at the same time was 1959, the year Billy Cannon returned a Rebel punt 89 yards for a touchdown with 10 minutes left, then helped stop Ole Miss quarterback Doug Elmore at the LSU 1 in the waning moments to preserve a 7-3 win.

Ole Miss’ rivalry with Mississippi State (the Egg Bowl) has far more significance for the Rebels than it once did, largely because the Bulldogs are now the alpha team in the Magnolia State. Without much talent in the state to go around, Ole Miss and State have to battle tooth and nail for every prospect, and that’s not even mentioning Alabama, which is only 95 miles from Starkville, plus LSU and Arkansas, whose states border Mississippi.

Arkansas? The Razorbacks baited the line. LSU refused to bite.

Florida? Never. The Gators already have Florida State and Georgia. And I’m certain there is plenty of hatred in Gainesville for Miami, even if the teams haven’t played much in the last 30 years.

LSU, your rival is Texas A&M. Sure, Aggie fans hate the Longhorns more than they could ever hate the Bayou Bengals,

I don’t know how much I’m watching tonight. I’ve braced myself for the worst. I hope I’m wrong. If I’m right, the world will still be spinning on its axis tomorrow morning.

K-State vs. KU: let’s toast a rotten rivalry!

Sorry for going Howard Hughes yet again. I’ve got to stop that. It’s a terrible habit.

Tomorrow is the latest renewal of one of major college football’s least important rivalries.

That’s right, it’s Kansas State vs. Kansas, live from Lawrence.

This is the 30th anniversary of the Toilet Bowl, when 0-8 K-State and 1-7 KU played to a 17-17 tie in Manhattan. The game was part of an 0-29-1 stretch for the Wildcats which dated back to their 1986 win vs. the Jayhawks, which resulted in rioting in Manhattan’s Aggieville entertainment/alcoholism district for the second time in three years.

As long as the Wildcats play a halfway decent game, they should win by at least 25 points. The Jayhawks haven’t scored in three weeks, and last week, they gained 21 yards against TCU, and all of those came when the Horned Frogs were deep into their third and fourth string. The 21 yards is an all-time low by a Big 12 team since the conference formed in 1996. For a conference known for high-powered offense, that’s beyond pitiful. KU should just have asked Shawnee Mission East, the best high school team in Kansas, to take its place in Fort Worth. I’m sure the Lancers would have done better than 21 yards.

Then again, K-State hasn’t won in a long time, either. The Wildcats have lost their last three and are 3-4. If they lose to KU, then (a) they aren’t going to a bowl game and (b) 78-year old Bill Snyder should retire. Not at the end of the season, but before the bus leaves to return to Manhattan. Problem is, Snyder has NO LIFE outside football and he probably would go insane without the game. Why else did he come back in 2009 after sitting out for three years?

I can see Snyder going the way of Jim Pittman, the TCU coach who dropped dead one Saturday afternoon in 1971 on the sideline in Waco after suffering a massive heart attack. Pittman led Tulane to the 1970 Liberty Bowl and a No. 17 ranking in the final Associated Press poll, although he never beat LSU, no sin considering the Bayou Bengals were a powerhouse under Charles McClendon. Of course, Pittman was handicapped by the myopic decision Tulane made to leave the Southeastern Conference prior to Pittman’s first season with the Green Wave.

FYI–TCU defeated Baylor 34-27 despite the shocking death of their coach.

College football media loves to harp on Nick Saban for being a robot who does nothing but football. But I can’t see Saban coaching into his late 70s. He has stated consistently he wants to spend quality time with Terry, his children and grandchildren without the pressure of football. Snyder has never said that. In fact, Bill wants his eldest child, Sean, to be his successor, something a lot of people in Manhattan don’t like, because Sean has never been a coordinator, let alone a head coach.

Snyder has owned the Jayhawks since coming to K-State in 1989. After losing to KU in 1989 and 1990, Snyder is 21-2 vs. the team from Lawrence, and has won all eight meetings since returning to the sideline in 2009. The Jayhawks have won only four times since 1991: 1992, when KU went 7-5 and won the Aloha Bowl under Glen Mason; 2004, when Snyder’s former assistant, Mark Mangino, led the Jayhawks to a 31-28 overtime decision in Lawrence; and 2007 and 2008, when K-State was being led into the abyss by Ron Prince, who may be the worst coach to patrol the Wildcat sideline, at least since 1967, when Vince Gibson was hired.

Gibson, Ellis Rainsberger, Jim Dickey and Stan Parrish, the four coaches prior to Snyder at K-State, would have done far better than 17-20 in three seasons had they had Prince’s talent. Conversely, Prince would have lost every game by at least 20 points had he had the talent level Dickey and Parrish were forced to work with.

The only good thing I can say about Prince is at least he tried to upgrade K-State’s usually pathetic non-conference schedule, playing a home-and-home with Louisville and going to Auburn. Snyder tried to buy his way out of the return trip by Auburn to Manhattan when he was re-hired, but Auburn jacked up the buyout so high K-State couldn’t afford it. Remember, Snyder is the same man who bought his way out of a game with TULANE when he was hired in 1989. The Wildcats played at Vanderbilt this year, will host the Commodores in the near future, and also play Mississippi State home-and-home. It’s an improvement.

Kansas’ program is about as bad as K-State was when Snyder was hired. Snyder has bitched about that comparison, saying he took over much worse in Manhattan. He claimed KU had periods of success, while the Wildcats had none, prior to his arrival. Yes, the Jayhawks won the Big Eight in 1968 with John Riggins and Bobby Douglass, but after that, KU did next to nothing until the fluke of 2007, when fat fuck Mangino got a break with a horrible schedule.

Right now, Kansas is easily the worst team in a power five conference (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC). It’s not close, although Illinois is trying its best to get there, and Oregon State seems hellbent on reclaiming that status, a status it took from K-State when Snyder started winning and somehow relinquished in the Dennis Erickson/Mike Riley years.

David Beaty is a good man, but he is in over his head trying to lead the Jayhawks. He’s like Sisyphus. No matter how hard he tries to roll the boulder up the (Campanille) Hill, it inevitably is going to come back at him faster. Give Beaty credit for taking a job probably very few others wanted, but he’s going to end up like Charlie Weis, Turner Gill, Terry Allen and Bob Valesente–all of whom were fired with miserable records.

Mike Gottfried was on his way to a similar fate, but he got a lifeline when he was hired by Pitt in 1986.

Don Fambrough had TWO bites of the apple, and while he had a modicum of success with David Jaynes in 1973, he flamed out and was fired in ’74. He came back in ’79, but had one decent year (1981) before relapsing in ’82, when he was fired again, this time for good.

Bud Moore had one big moment with Nolan Cromwell when KU ended Oklahoma’s 37-game unbeaten streak (28-game winning streak; there was a tie vs. USC early in 1973) in 1975 (at Norman, no less),  but no way he was going to consistently get the better of the Sooners, Nebraska or even Missouri and Oklahoma State. By 1978, the Jayhawks were 1-10, and Moore was done, too.

Pepper Rodgers, the coach of the Riggins-Douglass team of ’68, saw KU go 1-9 without Douglass in ’69, then bailed for UCLA two years later.

Glen Mason led the Jayhawks to 10-2 in ’95 (with losses of 41-7 to K-State and 41-3 to Nebraska). He originally took the Georgia job after the ’95 season, but changed his mind, stayed one more year in Lawrence, then finally left for Minnesota.

Mark Mangino? Well fat fuck fucked himself good.

I don’t care who wins. I am not a fan of Snyder’s, given his penchant for scheduling cupcakes and loading up on JUCO players seeking a quick fix. I have hated KU since they employed Mangino, whose manners are one step below feral pigs.

Since there can be no tie, I hope KU wins a sloppy game. I don’t want to see K-State anywhere near a bowl. Of course, a KU wins means both goalposts at Memorial Stadium are coming down. That would be FIVE STRAIGHT YEARS at least one goalpost has gone down.

That’s right, even though KU went 0-12 in 2015, the goalpost at the south end of the stadium still was torn down that year. It occurred a few hours after the Royals won Game 5 of the World Series in New York, giving Kansas City its first championship since 1985. The same did not occur at Mizzou, simply because there are more Cardinal fans than Royal fans on that campus (Columbia is halfway between Kansas City and St. Louis).

Then again, K-State fans have torn down the goalposts in Lawrence before, so the goalposts may not be safe even if the Jayhawks lose.

If you don’t live in Kansas and watch tomorrow, shame on you. There’s a hell of a lot better things you can be doing with a Saturday afternoon. I live in Kansas and I know I won’t be watching. Then again, I just might, just for the masochistic value.

LSU is off this week, preparing for its so-called rivalry game with Alabama. To me, it’s not a rivalry. I’ll explain why in an upcoming post.

Another year on this globe

I officially turned 41 a little less than two hours ago. Of course, not as big a deal as last year, but it is Friday the 13th, the sixth time my birthday fell on a Friday. I was born on a Wednesday in case you’re curious.

My 13th birthday DID fall on Friday the 13th. I was in eighth grade at Brother Martin High (most of the Catholic high schools in New Orleans have an eighth grade), and I recall Tropical Storm Jerry formed in the Gulf of Mexico. It was pretty gray and damp the rest of the day and all of the next day.

This is the first Friday the 13th birthday since 2006, when I turned 30. I was busy that day: woke up in Wichita, drove up the Kansas Turnpike to Emporia for a tennis tournament, then went to Abilene for a football game, and finally back to Russell, becuase I had to turn around and cover a vollyeball tournament the next morning.

Last year, I was in Hays for a volleyball tournament because Cailtyn was playing and Peggy was coaching. This year, I’m in Kansas City.

My parents always leave town around the time of my birthday to go south, first to visit my brother and his family near Nashville, then down to New Orleans to visit my Uncle Jerry and also gamble on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. My parents were going to go to Biloxi right after visting Nashville, but had to alter their plans when Hurricane Nate came ashore in Mississippi last Saturday night. They went yesterday instead.

The first professional sports event of my lifetime was Game 4 of the 1976 American League Championship Series, which started a little more than five hours after I came into the world. The Royals needed to win in the rebuilt Yankee Stadium to stay alive. They did, prevailing 7-4, setting up the fifth and deciding game the next night. Of course, the Yankees won that one 7-6 when Chris Chambliss hit Mark LIttell’s first pitch of the bottom of the ninth (barely) over the right-center field fence to send the Bronx Bombers to their first World Series since 1964. Maybe it was best the Royals missed out on that World Series, because Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine destroyed the Yankees in four straight. I don’t think Kansas City would have fared any better.

The Royals lost to the Yankees in the ALCS in both 1977 and 1978 as well before finally breaking through in 1980 (the Orioles defeated the Angels in the 1979 ALCS). At the time, Kansas City tied the Mets as the fastest MLB teams to reach the postseason (8 seasons), although the Metropolitans won the World Series in 1969.

Not going to be a particularly busy birthday. Lots of trivia at Buffalo Wild Wings and a visit to Minksy’s later. Same for tomorrow. Sometimes routine is good.

LSU=lousy football

LSU football is a mess.

Ed Orgeron’s first full season in his “dream job” is not going as he, nor the hundreds of thousand LSU faithful, had hoped.

The Bayou Bengals are 3-2, and that is unacceptable.

LSU’s schedule has been quite meek.

BYU, whom LSU beat 27-0 in the first game, is a dumpster fire. The Cougars had trouble beating lower level Portland State in its first game and has been routed every time out since, by LSU, Utah, Wisconsin and Utah State in that order.

Chattanooga is a lower level team LSU beat 45-10 in game two.

Mississippi State stomped LSU 37-7 in Starkville in week three. The Bulldogs have proven they were a paper tiger by getting waxed 31-3 by Georgia and 49-10 by Auburn their last two games.

LSU had all kind of trouble with Syracuse before winning 35-26. The same Syracuse which lost at home to Middle Tennessee. I’m sorry, but an ACC team cannot, must not lose at home to one from Conference USA.

Then came Troy last Saturday.

Troy, a Sun Belt team. Troy, a school whose home city in southeast Alabama is only a few thousand people larger than the capacity of LSU’s Pete Maravich Assembly Center, which seats 13,000.

Troy, a team which has beaten Missouri and Oklahoma State in the past, but both of those games were at home on a weeknight, where the Trojans were getting rare national exposure against a power conference team.

This was a Saturday night in Baton Rouge. Tiger Stadium. Death Valley. The stadium LSU brags about being the toughest venue for a visiting team to play in all of college football.

Troy came into Tiger Stadium last Saturday and acted like it owned the place.

The final score, 24-21, was misleading. LSU needed two late touchdowns to make the score look good. The Trojans led 17-0 and 24-7.

That’s an ass-kicking. A serious ass-kicking.

Hiring Ed Orgeron may or may not be a mistake. I’m hoping against hope he will pull LSU out of its morass.

LSU’s biggest problem isn’t Orgeron.

It’s the man who hired Orgeron.

That means YOU, Joe Alleva.

LSU’s athletic director should not be occupying that position in the first place.

He royally screwed up during the investigation of Duke’s lacrosse team, throwing coach Mike Pressler under the bus by firing him, then refusing to hire him back when all the allegations of rape against players were found to be patently false.

The LSU Board of Supervisors and then-chancellor Sean O’Keefe fucked up big time by hiring Alleva, who has hired two bad men’s basketball coaches (Trent Johnson and Johnny Jones), a mediocre women’s basketball coach (Nikki Caldwell-Fargas) and now a football coach (Orgeron) who appears to be well over his head in the SEC.

Alleva had a chance to land a big fish when he fired Les Miles four games into 2016. He had a two month head start on anyone else. When the only person he really coveted for the job, Houston coach Tom Herman, chose Texas over LSU, Alleva waved the white flag.

Nanoseconds after Herman announced he was heading to Austin, Alleva stripped the “interim” off of Orgeron’s title.

Orgeron took a hometown discount ($3.5 million per year) to be LSU’s head coach in order to pay his coordinators, Dave Aranda (defense) and Matt Canada (offense), at least $1.5 million per year each. They are by far the highest paid pair of coordinators in the country.

Alleva still owes Miles a hefty buyout, which will not be completely paid off until 2023.

Many LSU fans and media who cover the team were not enamored with Orgeron’s hire. After the losses to Mississippi State and Troy, they were furious, calling for Alleva to fire the Larose native who was a teammate of former Saints quarterback Bobby Hebert’s on South Lafourche High School’s 1977 Louisiana Class AAAA (highest class) state championship team.

You want to fire Orgeron now? Better have $12 million.

That is not a typo.

TWELVE MILLION DOLLLARS to buy out a man who was 10-25 overall and 3-21 in the SEC in three seasons as Ole Miss’ head coach. TWELVE MILLION to buy out a man who will not leave LSU unless he is forced to.

Nice job, Joe Alleva.

Want to point the finger at Orgeron? Fine. But a bigger one has to be pointed at Alleva.

Making OT count less

The Arizona Cardinals are 2-2 so far this National Football League season, right?

NOPE.

To this Arizona Cardinals rooter, someone who has been rooting for the Cardinals since they were in St. Louis, the Cardinals’ record in my book is 0 wins, 2 losses, 2 ties.

Both Cardinal victories this season were in overtime, vs. the Colts in week two and the 49ers yesterday, which speaks to just how bad Arizona’s offense is.

Carson Palmer, retire. Bruce Arians, retire. Larry Fitzgerald, DON’T retire, or the Cardinals’ offense will relapse into the pitifulness it knew when luminaries such as Tom Tupa, Stan Gelbaugh, Chris Chandler, Dave Krieg, Jake Plummer, Josh McCown, Shaun King, Matt Leinart, Max Hall, John Skelton and Ryan Lindley were playing quarterback for the Cards.

The Cardinals are going nowhere. That they needed overtime to beat two bad teams shows they are a hot mess.

I am completely opposed to overtime in regular season games. I understand the need for it in the playoffs, where one team must advance to the next round, or to determine the champion in the Super Bowl.

In regular season games? Not necessary.

If the NFL is so hellbent on player safety, then why not eliminate overtime?

Yes, the NFL reduced the overtime period from 15 minutes to 10 this season, but it still stinks–although it’s much better than the asinine college and high school format, which I’ve railed against in a previous post.

The Bears are also winless in my book. Their lone victory came in overtime vs. the Steelers in week three. 0 wins, 3 losses, 1 tie. The Jets beat the Jaguars in OT yesterday, but they own a regulation win over the Dolphins.

If the NFL INSISTS on playing overtime, it should devalue an overtime victory. Go to a system like association football—3 points for a regulation win, 2 for an overtime win, 1 for a tie or overtime loss, and 0 for a regulation loss. Easy as pie.

Under this system, the NFL standings look like this (I’ll update after tonight’s Redskins-Chiefs game):

NFC WEST–Rams 9, Seattle 6, Arizona 4, San Francisco 1

NFC SOUTH–Atlanta 9, Carolina 9, Tampa Bay 6, New Orleans 6

NFC NORTH–Detroit 9, Green Bay 9, Minnesota 6, Chicago 2

NFC EAST–Philadelphia 9, Washington REDSKINS 6, Dallas 6, Giants 1

AFC WEST–Kansas City 9, Denver 9, Oakland 6, Chargers 0

AFC SOUTH–Jacksonville 7, Houston 6, Tennessee 6, Indianapolis 1

AFC NORTH–Pittsburgh 10, Baltimore 6, Cincinnati 3, Cleveland 0

AFC EAST–Buffalo 9, New England 6, Jets 5, Miami 3

Easy, right? I know nothing will change. At least I’m thinking.

NFL vs. Trump: both sides are wrong

I have had it up to here with National Football League players refusing to stand for the Star-Spangled Banner prior to games.

I have had it with Donald Trump bitching about NFL players who don’t stand for the Star-Spangled Banner

I have had it with the media highlighting the protests.

Just go away already.

I watch football to get away from the stress of the everyday world. The United States of America has enough problems worrying about Kim-Jong Un, who has no compulsion about killing millions of people with a nuclear weapon, whether they be in another country or his own. His father, Kim-Jong Il, and grandfather, Kim-Il Sung, didn’t have any problems killing milions of Koreans becuase they didn’t subscribe to their worldview.

I want to watch FOOTBALL when I turn on an NFL game. FOOTBALL. I don’t want to hear about Malcolm Jenkins giving the Black Powe Salute, I don’t want to hear so and so too a knee, I don’t want to hear about the Seahawks and Titans choosng to remain in the locker room during the playing of the national anthem, and I don’t want to hear about Collin Kaepernick’s protests.

Also, I’ve had it with people making excuses for why Kaepernick doesn’t have a job with an NFL team right now. He is not good enough to play quarterback in the NFL. Period. His skill set probably translates better to the Canadian Football League, where the field is longer and wider, there are 12 players on the field, and receivers can gain a running start by going in forward motion prior to the snap. A lot of quarterbacks similar to Kaepernick who couldn’t make it in the NFL have thrived in the CFL. Condredge Holloway, the first black quarterback in the Southeastern Conference for Tennessee in the early 1970s, is a lot like Kaepernick—athletic, not the strongest arm, but dangerous in the open field.

Trump made the comment that NFL players who do not stand for the national anthem should be fired—if not fired, then suspended without pay—was a little harsh. I believe the flag of the United States of America deserves the utmost respect and people should stand at attention when the national anthem is played, but the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution allows for freedom of speech, and that includes protesting the flag. We do not want to become North Korea.

On the other hand, NFL players are paid quite handsomely to play a game. I believe that once a player puts on a uniform whether it be in practice or a game, it is work, and he should be held to the rules and regulations of the worplace, the NFL. If players wish to PEACEFULLY on their own time, more power to them. But once they are in uniform, they are there to do a job.

I barely watched the NFL last Sunday. I did not watch any of the early games, which was partly to protest the fact the Fox affiliate in Wichita insisted on showing the Giants-Eagles game instead of Falcons-Lions. The reasoning of the station was that becuase the Giants and Eagles are in the NFC East, they felt it was important to show the game, as it would afect Cowboys fans, who are many in southern Kansas. PLEASE.

I watched a few minutes of Chiefs-Chargers, but once Kansas City led 14-0, I tuned out. Did not watch one snap of Raiders-Redskins Sunday night nor Cowboys-Cardinals Monday night. I watched a few plays of the Bears-Packers game on Amazon Prime last night, but that’s it.

I’m not missing the NFL that much. Not really.

The SEC’s toothless tigers

Two of the three Southeastern Conference football teams nicknamed Tigers are finding out the cheap hire is often the wrong hire.

Missouri is a dumpster fire. Barry Odom is in over his head. He might have been a fine coordinator under Gary Pinkel, but as the man in charge, he is trying to navigate the Missouri River in a canoe.

The Tigers looked absolutely pitiful yesterday in a 35-3 loss at home to Purdue. Yes, the Boilermakers have been in the Big Ten since the conference was formed, but when was the last time Purdue was mentioned consistently among college football’s elite? Hmmm….I want to say it was when Jack Mollenkopf was coaching, and last I checked, he retired after the 1969 season, seven years before I was born.

The Boilermakers won the Rose Bowl after the 1966 season, when Bob Griese was a senior. Since then, Purdue has made it to Pasadena ONCE (which is still one more time than Minnesota and the same number of times as Indiana and Northwestern in the last 51 seasons), and that was with Drew Brees.

Purdue plummeted like a rock once Brees departed. The school from West Lafayette has been in the lower division of the Big Ten every year since 2000, and the Boilermakers were absolutely dreadful under Darrell Hazell, who was 9-33 in three and a half seasons before he was fired at the mid-point of the 2016 campaign.

Jeff Brohm, a former standout quarterback at Louisville under Howard Schnellenberger and then a very successful head coach at Western Kentucky, has got Purdue going in the right direction. The Boilermakers gave Louisville a major scare in the season opener, and have now destroyed Ohio (more on the Bobcats later) and Missouri. Purdue isn’t going to be a factor in the Big Ten race this year, but it should be a consistent bowl team under Brohm.

Missouri is going in the opposite direction as Purdue. The Tigers have been a hot mess since racial tension on campus two years ago, which led to Pinkel’s resignation. Odom’s defenses have been nothing short of awful. Rockhurst High in Kansas City has a better defense than Mizzou.

Odom has got to be on the hot seat. If athletic director Jim Sterk is not seriously vetting candidates, then shame on him. The longer Odom lingers at his alma mater, the better the chance Mizzou relapses into pitifulness, which was the state of the program for much of the 1980s and 1990s.

I fear the Tigers will slip to the point where they were under Woody Widenhofer (1985-88) and Bob Stull (1989-93), which was fighting like hell to stay out of the Big Eight cellar. Mizzou teams of that era routinely were destroyed by Colorado, Nebraska and Oklahoma, were dominated by Oklahoma State (prior to 1989, when the Cowboys were severely sanctioned by the NCAA), and had trouble with Iowa State and Kansas. Kansas State was the one punching bag the Tigers routinely beat, but that all changed under Bill Snyder, who turned the tide completely in favor of the Wildcats in the series by 1991. \

After consistently going to bowl games under Dan Devine (1958-70), and then making semi-regular appearnaces under Al Onofrio (1971-76) and Warren Powers (1977-84), Mizzou went 13 seasons (1984-96) with no bowl games. NONE. Larry Smith, the former Tulane, Arizona and USC coach, took the Tigers to minor bowl games, but Mizzou was back at rock bottom in 1999 and 2000.

It took Pinkel a couple of years to turn Mizzou around, but once he did, the Tigers became bowl fixture. In 2007, the Tigers ascended to number one after beating Kansas in the regular season finale, but they fell to Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game.

Mizzou is not going to a bowl game this year unless something turns around right now. I can’t see the Tigers winning an SEC game, not with Kentucky and Vanderbilt much improved, and with Florida, Georgia and Tennessee all well above Mizzou. Not happening.

Now on to my alma mater.

There was a team wearing LSU’s uniforms last night in Starkville. The names on the players’ jerseys were the ones which were listed on the roster released by the school.

Yes, the Bayou Bengals were there in body. In spirit? No way.

I expected LSU to have a very difficult time with Mississippi State. I went in feeling the Bulldogs had a great chance to win. The Bayou Bengals went in having won eight consecutive games in Starkville, and I figured the Bulldogs were overdue.

State had a huge advantage at quarterback, where Nick Fitzgerald was an All-SEC selection last year. LSU’s Danny Etling is competent and nothing more. Bulldogs coach Dan Mullen is an acclaimed offensive mind, having helped Florida win the 2006 and 2008 national cahmpionshp and molding Tim Tebow into a Heisman Trophy winner. LSU offensive coordinator Matt Canada has been as popular as his boss, Ed Orgeron, since his hiring earlier this year, but I was skeptical. Still am skeptical.

The game which unfolded bore out every point I listed above.

Not only did State win, it embarrassed LSU. Bulldogs 37, Bayou Bengals 7.

How bad was it? State’s largest margin of victory EVER over LSU.

The Bayou Bengals and Bulldogs have been playing each other since 1896, and continuously since 1944. Counting last night’s game, LSU has played Mississippi State–once known as Mississippi A&M–111 times, more than any other opponent.

Last night was State’s 35th win in the series, compared to 73 for LSU, with three ties.

The Bayou Bengals had two touchdowns called back by penalty, although they got one of those back two plays later. In the second half, two defensive players, Donnie Alexander and Neal Farrell, were ejecting for hits to the head of Fitzgerald.

LSU was penalized nine times for 112 yards. It is on pace to commit 120 penalties for over 1,000 yards.

If Orgeron is as committed to discipline, he will suspend Alexander and Farrell for the entire game vs. Syracuse this week, not just for the first half as mandated under NCAA rules.

Regardless of what happens, Orgeron was a very disappointing hire for a team which has one of the largest budgets of any university.

LSU does not want for cash. It doesn’t have as many deep-pocketed donors as some schools, but it is the flagship university, the only one in a Power Five confernece, and there are big fans from every corner of the state. LSU consistently is deep in the black and pays its coaches handsomely.

Orgeron’s hire falls squarely on the shoulders of athletic director Joe Alleva, whom I believe should never have been hired in the first place.

The way Alleva severely mishandled the Duke lacrosse case when he was the Blue Devils’ athletic director should have precluded him from getting any other job as an athletic director, much less at a power school like LSU. I don’t know what LSU saw in him, unless Mike Kryzewzski convinced the administration Alleva was the second coming and was the only person worth hiring.

Alleva hired LSU women’s basketball coach Nikki Caldwell-Fargas, who I do not like. If Alleva were smart, he would have gone to Waco and had a blank contract for Kim Mulkey, who has been at Baylor for nearly two decades now. Alleva would have asked Mulkey to fill in a dollar amount. LSU could certainly afford it.

LSU women’s basketball was a dominant program in the middle of the last decade, reaching the Final Four five consecutive years (2004-08), although it did not win a single game.

Now, the Bayou Bengals are at best a middling program in the SEC. They have been passed and lapped by Mississippi State and South Carolina, have fallen well behind Kentucky, and are still way behind Tennessee, even though the Lady Volunteers are not the superpower they were under the late, great Pat Summitt. LSU also lags behind the SEC newcomers, Texas A&M and Missouri.

Had Mulkey been hired, I’m certain at least one national championship banner would be hanging from the rafters of the Pete Maravich Assembly Center right now.

As for Pistol Pete’s old program, it is as low as the Marianna Trench right now.

Alleva is on his third men’s basketball coach, Will Wade, who came from VCU, where he succeeded Shaka Smart after he left for Texas. The 35-year old has brought youthful energy to the Bayou Bengals, but will that energy translate into victories? It won’t in 2017-18, but if it doesn’t in 2018-19 and beyond, then it will be another bust, right up there with Wade’s predecessors, Johnny Jones (2012-17) and Trent Johnson (2008-11).

LSU has won ONE NCAA tournament game with Alleva as athletic director. In 2015-16, the Bayou Bengals had Ben Simmons, regarded as the greatest basketball player to step on campus since Shaquille O’Neal. Simmons could not get LSU to the NCAA tournament, then skipped school and became the #1 overall pick of the 76ers in the 2016 NBA draft. Last year, LSU tied Missouri for dead last in the SEC. This year, LSU will likely occupy the cellar by itself, since Missouri has brought in a stellar recruiting class under Cuonzo Martin, who took over for Kim Anderson, who like Odom and Orgeron, was grossly in over his head.

Alleva cannot take credit for baseball coach Paul Maineri, because he was hired by Skip Bertman, Alleva’s predecessor who built LSU baseball into college baseball’s Death Star, winning five championships from 1991-2000 and 870 games in 18 seasons (1984-2001). Maineri led LSU to the 2009 national championship and the College World Series championship series earlier this year.

Orgeron was hired as LSU’s defensive line coach in 2015, and was elevated to interim head coach after four games in 2016 when Les Miles, hired by Bertman to replace Nick Saban in early 2005, was fired. Ironically, Orgeron’s first game in charge at LSU a 42-7 victory over Missouri in Baton Rouge.

Oregeron is not currently in dire straits like Odom (or Kevin Sumlin at Texas A&M, Bret Bielema at Arkansas or Butch Jones at Tennessee), but if Orgeron goes 7-5 this season, the grumbling will be heard long and hard in the bayou.

Yes, Orgeron is Louisiana through and through, growing up in Larose, playing for a state championship team at South Lafourche High in 1977 and then playing in college briefly for LSU and more extensively at Northwestern State in Natchitoches. Orgeron was the most popular hire LSU has made in recent memory, much more so than Nick Saban was when he came from Michigan State and Miles when he came from Oklahoma State.

Alleva was ready to hire Tom Herman when Texas moved quickly to fire Charlie Strong. The Longhorns are the one program which can pay a higher wage than LSU, and paid it to swipe Herman from Houston. With Herman out of the picture, Alleva simply waved the white flag and took the “interim” off of Orgeron’s title.

Nobody doubts Orgeron is a great defensive line coach and recruiter. He coached Warren Sapp at Miami. He coached some great players at USC, including two-time All-American Shaun Cody. And he was recruiting very well at

As a head coach, Orgeron just doesn’t cut it. He was brutally bad at Ole Miss, going 10-25 over three seasons, including a pathetic 3-21 mark in the SEC. The Rebels bottomed out under Orgeron after winning 10 games in 2003 under David Cutcliffe. Ole Miss bounced back under Hugh Freeze, but that was because Freeze broke more than a few NCAA rules to build his teams.

Alleva should have hired Brohm or someone proven as a head coach. If Orgeron didn’t like it, he was free to find another job. I’m sure Pete Carroll would have offered Orgeron a position with the Seahawks had Orgeron not been able to find a college job.

There is no excuse for Alleva’s laziness. NONE. LSU should never have hired Alleva in the first place, but the Bayou Bengals have got to get someone new in the athletic director’s chair, or LSU may rot from within.

The Saints are down 20-3 to the Patriots at the end of the first quarter. It’s not a good weekend to be a football fan in Louisiana.