LSU, Clemson and…Tulane basketball?
Tonight is the night of big boy football as the LSU Tigers (14-0) take on the Clemson Tigers (14-0) in the Superdome. It will be a night for the history books as either the LSU Tigers and Joe Burrow bring the title back to Louisiana or Clemson slams the door shut on them (and online pundits) by winning their second consecutive NCAA title.
One could say that no matter what happens tonight it has been a great season for LSU football, one that should be remembered and…who in hell really thinks like that? If you’re going to get this close you have to finish and, in my heart of hearts, I think the LSU Tigers will cap off the perfect season with a victory.
However, maybe I think that Clemson, after listening to an entire year’s worth of folks saying they’re second, third or fourth best, comes out and stop the vaunted LSU offense and grind their way to a victory.
Maybe it ends in a tie – just kidding.
The point is that this is a massive title game. Bigger than LSU versus Ohio State, bigger than the Tigers’ victory over Alabama. Clemson is no joke and I don’t want to hear anything about how bad the ACC is because, yes, it’s not great but who cares, Clemson would have been here even if they played in the SEC, Big 10 or whoever.
For one, let’s not forget that Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence has never lost a game in college. That’s not something to sneeze at, folks. He’s a sophomore that has guided his team to two consecutive title games. Remember the last time a kid did that in his first two years? Yeah, me neither. Being a winner is one of those intangibles that you just can’t game plan for.
Another thing I hate is the Travis Etienne storyline. This kid is awonderfully talented player who can absolutely stick a dagger in the heart of LSU’s title dreams. I love to watch him play, but the part I hate (OK, I don’t truly hate anything) is the “player returns home with the opposing team,” storyline. In case you just returned from Mars, Etienne is out of Jennings, Louisiana, grew up rooting for LSU and chose Clemson after LSU did not make him a top priority recruit. Etienne has gone on to become the ACC’s all-time leader in touchdowns. And now he returns home. Oh boy.
Thankfully LSU has the likes of Mr. Burrow and company. This game could end up a shootout. This game could end up … who knows? I don’t think this will be a walk in the park over Oklahoma. I think it will be hard fought and Burrow will show the world, once again, why he won the Heisman.
Big boy football time, y’all.
I get it. Those words just made you do a double take, possibly so hard that you pulled a muscle in your neck but I promise this isn’t a trick. Tulane Men’s basketball is making, well, waves in the American Athletic Conference. Yes, it’s hard to believe.
Before the season began Coach Ron Hunter sat in front of the media and told them that it was a new day for Tulane basketball. I assume everyone nodded politely. When I watched the video I nodded my head politely and muttered sure thing.
Then the season started and the Green Wave beat three smaller schools and, to be honest, considering they only won four games last year, it was pretty cool. Then they got handled by Mississippi State on the road. No big deal. Losses are expected. Yet, two games later, Tulane would knock off Utah on the road. The same Utah Utes team that would later beat the Kentucky Wildcats. My ears perked up. Surely, it couldn’t be?
They would go 3-1 over the next four games and I found myself refreshing my browsers whenever they were playing just to see if this team was real. Oddly enough it was the weekend in Washington, D.C., where Tulane would go 0-2 against Akron and Towson, that I knew this team was legit. For whatever reason, after watching scores of losses over the past six years, I could feel that this team was different. They had heart. Losses hurt now. This is a team to root for.
Others were noticing as well. I was tweeting with the Fear The Wave blog, the premier blog and Twitter channel devoted to Tulane sports, about the buzz. Tulane was entering AAC conference play against the big dogs of the conference – #9 Memphis and Cincinnati. The believers felt an upset was on the horizon and the Green Wave did not disappoint. Tulane almost sent tremors through the NCAA by knocking off Memphis. They trailed by only three with three minutes to go but couldn’t pull off the upset. Back in Uptown, Cincinnati would not be so lucky as Tulane beat the Bearcats 76-71. It might not have sent shockwaves through the NCAA but its buzz was definitely felt in New Orleans.
After a road win over Temple the Green Wave sit 2-2 in the AAC and enter a refreshing time where every game matters. No more acceptable losses. No more moral victories. The team is officially on a mission to win the conference. Roll Wave.
And like a fine wine with a steak dinner, every game should be accompanied by a beverage and song.
Beer Pairing: Courtyard Brewery’s new location opens mid-January!
Playlist Recommendation: Kurtis Blow – “Basketball”
Around the Way
I love the Southland Conference and the FCS Playoffs. It’s awesome to get to watch a real football tournament and this year did not disappoint. Nicholls State and Southeastern Louisiana both represented Louisiana in the tournament that might as well change its name to the North Dakota State Invitational.
The Bison, cool name, won their eighth title in nine years by knocking off James Madison 28-20 in a tense ball game that ended with an interception in the end zone that could have possibly tied the game. Support your small schools, peeps. It’s a great league.