Peter has graciously given us the chance to write a regular weekly column here on BON. Many of you, being Texans, would probably be shocked to learn that there are places outside of Texas. As non-Texas natives we both can attest to the fact that not only is there life outside of Texas, but they even play a game incredibly similar to football. In this space, we will not only discuss one game outside the Big XII every week, but also try to provide an amusing video clip about both schools involved in the game we select. Because no one knows how to properly make fun of another school quite like those rivals fierce enough to post it on YouTube.
Our first non-conference game of the week is also the first game of note in college football, LSU vs. Mississippi State in a ridiculously early SEC West showdown.
Not-necessarily-football-related reasons to like LSU: This is a football program and school with a lot to like. Yes, they're loaded with talent. But more important, jambalaya is delicious. So are gumbo, etouffe, and po-boys. If you're looking for a clinic on how to tailgate right, look no further than Baton Rouge. And if you're looking for a clinic on how to be absolutely psycho and ridiculously loud in a stadium, look no further than Tiger Stadium. This is a group of fans and players who have been through hell, and continue to endure it, with Hurricane Katrina and its awful aftermath; but along with the Saints, it is also the biggest source of collective pride and joy that Louisiana has in this tough time. Add in the chip on their shoulder they'll be playing with all season now that former coach Nick Saban is over at hated Alabama, and LSU has a whole lot to play for.
Not-necessarily-football-related reasons to like Mississippi State: There's nothing in college football quite like the dynamic of loyal players playing for their coach's job. All accounts indicate that the Bulldog players really like Sylvester Croom, and without some improvement this year the troops will get restless. An opening home win to knock the Bayou Bengals off their high horse would go a long way toward saving Sly's gig for at least another year. Also, the game is in Starkville. The thing that's great about Starkville is that it is home to Humphrey Coliseum, one of the most underrated basketball stadiums in the country. State also has a top-notch on-campus dairy, where Mississippians can get the state's best cheese and ice cream. Seriously. Although we're trying to cut back.
Why Texas fans should care: When we proposed this idea for our column, Peter wisely pointed out that "Most BONers don't give a (poo) about other teams." But the beauty of the BCS system is that every game legitimately has some effect on everyone. Maybe we should wait until after Texas has played a down to start thinking about the national championship game, but on the other hand, it's never too early. If any team is going to come out of the typically loaded SEC, there's a good chance that it will be LSU. An opening weekend loss to Mississippi State would not completely destroy the Tigers' chances at a title, but it would make the trek much more difficult. Playing LSU in the championship game in New Orleans would be a tough ticket; just ask Oklahoma fans. Another reason to care is that this is finally the first instance of real football. We'd probably watch D-III football right now if it were on.
Prediction: LSU. Because, um, LSU is a better football team. The Tigers probably look sloppy, but win it going away.
An LSU student busting a move or two at a game:
A fantastic video compilation on State's 2006 futility: