Sports Gumbo Recipe #6
Burrow kicks off bowl season with a win
It was a Sunday like any other Sunday. However this Sunday was different in that there would be no New Orleans Saints game to rally around, as they don’t play until Monday night. So what was the city to do with all of this free time? Go to the bar, of course, and yell at TVs, of course.
It was a weird Sunday that had Saints fans cheering for, gasp, the Atlanta Falcons who knocked off the cocky San Francisco 49ers and all of their bandwagon fans. Sure, as the clock showed zeroes the Saints fans went back to talking smack about the Falcons but I tell you, it was a strange and mystifying few minutes in local sportsdom.
The Sunday strangeness followed the first Saturday in a long time without a full slate of college football. Bowl season hasn’t kicked off yet and there was only a Army-Navy game and some FCS Playoff football to feed the need. Luckily, the North Dakota State Bison (who are chasing their seventh title in the last eight years) had a dramatic contest versus the Illinois State Redbirds and pulled out a 9-3 victory. The score was significant as the referees completely missed a call on a lateral, which the Redbirds recovered and ran back for a touchdown. So, I guess there is some comfort in knowing that referees are ruining games at all levels of football. I guess.
One call that wasn’t ruined was the overwhelming Heisman trophy win by Joe Burrow. Once again, the kid showed nothing but class as he got emotional thanking his coach, Ed Orgeron. It’s hard not to root for this kid. Burrow and the LSU Tigers still have work to do to complete the dream season as the Oklahoma Sooners await the semifinals. If they beat the Sooners, it will be either the reigning champion Clemson Tigers or Burrow’s former team the Ohio State Buckeyes in the title matchup.
In a game that is on a much smaller scale but no less important, the Tulane Green Wave will take on the Southern Miss Golden Eagles in the Armed Forces Bowl in Texas. It’s the second year in a row that the Green Wave will go bowling, no small feat for the program. It’s been a wild three-year ride for the club since hiring Willie Fritz and that success has not gone unnoticed. As with all good coaches at smaller programs, the big schools are sniffing around Uptown and seeing if Fritz can recreate his success at their institution. Arkansas and Missouri are the latest schools to kick the tires and I assure you there will be more.
Speaking of absolutely no success how about those New Orleans Pelicans (6-21)? You hate to set records for losing but with the 130-119 loss to the Orlando Magic the Pels have now lost a franchise record-setting 12 games in a row. Coach Alvin Gentry has held on to this job through a lot of bad weather but the small fanbase of the Pelicans is calling for his job. One could argue to take a wait and see approach until Zion Williamson plays a game but this season has quickly gone off the rails.
With the heavy investment by Gail Benson into improving this franchise one suspects she wants to see some wins and it’s got to be rough when Benson’s other “baby” is the New Orleans Saints.
One person who can empathize with Alvin Gentry’s predicament is coach Travis Jewett. Coach Jewett has to be on the hot seat as the Tulane Green Wave have missed the NCAA regionals the past three years. As mentioned above, the football team is riding a wave of success and coach Ron Hunter seems to be quickly improving the basketball team. Those teams are not the Tulane baseball team, far and away the school’s most successful program. The College Baseball Newspaper just release their top 40 and the Green Wave aren’t included. That’s not going to cut it this year. Tulane kicks off the season Feb. 14 against Florida Gulf Coast then travel to Cal State Fullerton the next weekend. To say that Jewett needs to win these series would be a massive understatement.
As if I have to tell you this, the New Orleans Saints play their final regular season game in the Superdome tonight against the Indianapolis Colts. It’s been a heck of a year at the Superdome, the greatest place on earth to watch a football game. I’ll be there among the Black and Gold getting loud. Who Dat!