More about disasters, diabolical decisions, LSU, Saints, Cowboys, and right field

My recent effort to provide some perspective for supporters of football teams off to subpar starts was well received, generally.

Lots of people commented on Facebook, e-mailed, texted, or told me 1) they enjoyed it; 2) they appreciated it (these were mostly family and friends of coaches or players, even parents or grandparents of kids in the band/pep squad/training or equipment staff/cheerleaders); 3) they were coaches, who definitely appreciated it.

Those who had no reaction were mostly Saints fans. They are, as one, considering an offensively challenged 1-2 start as exactly what they expected in the post-Brees/Payton apocalypse.

Since, I’ve done research. Fact: 50 percent of the teams that play each week, lose.

Take this weekend, for example. Humble pie was served to the Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, Texas Longhorns, Oklahoma Sooners and Arkansas Razorbacks. Pig, fooey. Anybody who called two of those outcomes in advance is qualified to make a guest appearance on Quantum Leap.

Now, let’s deal with the present, and unhappy LSU fans.

Not unhappy about three straight wins, the latest a submission over New Mexico. LSU’s defense gave up two first downs. TWO.

Tiger Nation is severely steaming about El-ess-yew drawing an 11 a.m. kickoff for the next home game, against No. 8 Tennessee in two weeks.

Brunch is fine tailgate fare in all but a few venues around college football.  In the stone ages, my Journal colleague Teddy Allen and I covered an 11 a.m. LSU-Tennessee game at Neyland Stadium in 1988. First and only time I ate quiche in a press box. First time I ate quiche, period. Not the last.

The 1988 Tigers had no issues with that morning start. The LSU fans there did not either, not before, during or especially after the 34-9 romp, the first SEC win in a surprising conference championship season.

Surprising, not only because LSU won the SEC. Because Teddy, Scooter, Heity, Guilbeau and I met the Ohio Pork Queen in the press box at Ohio Stadium after watching Jack Nicklaus, I believe, dot the I, and before the not-the-best-Buckeyes team rode the pure energy of 90,000 relentless fans and scored 16 points in the last two minutes for a 36-33 stunner over the No. 8 visitors.

Because the night before the game (also a morning kick, BTW), Teddy, Guilbeau and I were in a cab that caught fire as we rolled toward this fancy new restaurant, The Olive Garden, in Columbus. I kid you not. FLAMES. Stomped out by Glenn’s big feet, as I recall. And so it went . . .

We weren’t even into October. Neither is this season.

But unranked LSU, in what is undeniably a rebuilding year, has to kick off at 11 in Tiger Stadium? Why? Can we get a congressional hearing?

Well, there’s that Saban vs. Jimbo meeting that night, in prime time. And sorry, but No. 1 Georgia against Auburn brings the huge Atlanta TV market, and the not-tiny Jacksonville TV audience, to qualify as an obvious pick by CBS for its 2:30 window.

Yes, Georgia will dominate – but based on what we’ve seen so far, any reason to believe Tennessee won’t? BTW, when it comes to TV markets, Nashville and Baton Rouge/New Orleans < ATL, by a lot.

All that TV money that allows the network to set kick times has built flashy facilities in Baton Rouge, while funding contract buyouts and high-dollar deals to lure gold-standard coaches Brian Kelly, Jay Johnson and Queen Kim Mulkey to Tiger territory.

Here’s the yang to that yin, LSU friends. A buzz-kill 11 a.m. kick must be endured. As J.J. Marshall called it, a “dew sweeper.”

Sometimes you just grin and bear it. I did, 15 years old, as a freshman shortstop at Jonesboro-Hodge High School, not nearly good enough to dislodge a senior, Kerry Spangler. Wasn’t gonna happen. However, there was space in right field, and I could connect stick to spheroid. So, coach Andy Malone sent me to play a spot I had never played before.

My safety net: Alden Reeves’ younger brother, Ted. I never played next to Willie Mays, but that spring, it felt like I did. Tedder made more plays in right than I did. By a lot.

Ted might not have been the spectacular athlete Alden was, but he was good enough to go on to lead the Northwestern State Demons in hitting. And before then, in 1975, he was good enough to become the only player in LHSAA history to make All-District center field and All-District right field in the same season. (Warning, possible exaggeration – I said he was “good enough”).

It’s not stretching it to say for many more reasons, all true, Ted is very deserving of joining his big brother, the legendary Captain Shreve coach, in the Jackson Parish Sports Hall of Fame this Saturday. I’m proud to have played a small role. I got the heck out of his way.

Not what I had in mind when practice started, but it worked out just fine. Just like your team’s season may. Just remember what Cowboys fans were thinking after Dak got hurt. Since then . . .

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