Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving Football

I'm not a big Les Miles fan, but fair is fair. If injuries are an excuse for Oregon's losses and USC's losses, they're certainly a reasonable excuse for LSU's losses. I'll try to add to this, but Monday are busy days for me, so any further commentary will have to wait. In the meantime, I'll start with an email that I sent to a writer at CBS Sportsline and a comment on officiating.

If not for the barrage of commentary about injuries to Pac-10 teams, I wouldn't object to an article about the LSU-Arkansas that failed to mentioned the impact of injuries on LSU's defense. As it is, I just had to email this writer:
I only watched five minutes of the USC-ASU game earlier this week, but that was enough time to hear about the injuries that USC has overcome this year. Yet, we never hear anything about LSU's injuries. Since Dorsey hasn't been effective since the Auburn game, you could sat that a cheap shot cost LSU a shot at the national championship. Then there was the Kentucky game:

"At least five LSU players were injured in the Tigers' 43-37, triple-overtime loss at Kentucky on Saturday.
Among the injured are cornerback Chevis Jackson, center Brett Helms, defensive end Kirston Pittman, running back Jacob Hester and safety Craig Steltz."
From the Times Picayune Oct. 18.

There were also injuries to Early Doucet and Charles Alexander. If the national media is going to make excuses for USC, it's only fair to make them for LSU.
(emphasis and links not in email)
I know that it's widely considered to be "bad form" to complain about officiating, but not only was LSU the most penalized team in the SEC this year, it's opponents were the least penalized. I'll need to check to make sure that the figures haven't changed, but halfway through the season, Alabama (number one in the category) averaged over twice as many penatly yards, against its opponents, as LSU did. LSU may have been the most penalized team in the league because it was the sloppiest, but it's amazing to me that LSU's opponents managed to play such penalty-free ball against a team with LSU's talent. I'll look up a link to illustrate the point when time allows, but there wasn't even a penalty called on the takedown of Glenn Dorsey in the Auburn game.

I thought that a partial explanation might have been that LSU's strength was its defensive line (or was, prior to the Auburn hit on Dorsey), and SEC refs have only called the most blatant holding penalties this year. However, that makes the 4th quarter holding call that arguably cost LSU the game all the more baffling. Of course, that would be a non-issue had LSU not had a touchdown on the same possession negated by an illegal formation penalty that cost them against LSU. Auburn fans say that the same penalty should have been called in the Auburn game. I find it appalling that Auburn fans can even think of complaining about a non-call in that game, but they do.

I'll make one more point and one prediction about the national commentators that have made excuses for Pacific Coast teams that they haven't made for at least one Gulf Coast team. The TV analysts haven't ignored Les Miles and LSU, but most of what they've said has been so inane that it would make a political pundit blush. But I guarantee that those same analysts that have criticized Miles and not made the same excuses for LSU that they make for other teams, will change their tune if Miles goes to Michigan. Suddenly, we'll hear about 11-2 records not being good enough to satisfy the LSU fans -- as if those LSU fans hadn't had their criticisms reinforeced by what they heard on TV. It wouldn't surprise me to hear Brent Musburger say something about Miles being a "class act" for not saying anything about that, just insisting that it was the lure of returning to his alma mater. The implication will be that any criticism he received from LSU fans was unfair or classless. Mark my words.

"Suddenly, we'll hear about 11-2 records not being good enough to satisfy the LSU fans"

I wonder if they will quote Jeffrey as the "typical" LSU fan opinion.
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