Tonight. January 7th, 2008. 7:00 p.m., CST. Fox-TV, live from the New Orleans Superdome.
The LSU Tigers take on the Slow-hio Buckeyes for the BCS National Championship.
Now, for obvious reasons, this is an IMPORTANT game. However, what many sports analysts and College Football watchers across the country don’t understand is the real importance of this game for Louisiana. You can analyze and compare the differences in the offensive and defensive lines, the kicking game, team speed, and key personnel in the hopes of predicting a victor, but the one “intangible” that many are not factoring in is LSU’s need to win one for IT’S home team — the people of Louisiana.
You see, for way too long, Louisiana has been under-estimated and the butt of many jokes. Most people don’t understand the uniqueness of the culture and the wonderful work ethic and creative intelligence that thrives in Louisiana. Sadly, Louisiana’s biggest notoriety has come from its renowned political Romper Room and most recently, the spectacle of tragedy via Hurricane Katrina.
What’s lost or not recognized is the vibrancy of the state, and of the Gulf Coast in general. From East Texas all the way to Key West, Florida, the states surrounding the Gulf of Mexico are a critical part of the United States’ infrastructure, providing food, fuel, utilities, and manufacturing to the rest of the country. In addition, the area is a veritable paradise for tourists, providing a sanctuary away from the frigid cold temperatures of Northern winters. We have swamps, beaches, lakes, and rivers that provide ample opportunity for vacationers to enjoy the outdoors year ’round. On top of all that, our hospitality and “joie de vivre” is unmatched. But, I digress….
Back to LSU vs. Ohio State. You see, the Tigers are made up primarily of boys from Louisiana and the Gulf Coast. Boys from Louisiana towns like New Iberia, Eunice, Shreveport, Carencro, West Monroe and Amite. Boys from Gulf Coast towns like Mobile, AL; Pascagoula, MS; Lakeland, FL; and Spring, TX. These boys have something to prove. These sons of the South deserve to be touted up there with the football elites like USC, Ohio State, Michigan, and Notre Dame, and they are out to show the rest of the country just how much.
Louisiana and the Gulf Coast are united around this proud LSU Tiger team. If LSU wins, so does the SEC and so does the Gulf Coast. I will take great glee in seeing these Tigers dismantle the Buckeyes. You see, twenty years ago, I was on a flight to Baton Rouge coming home from a business trip. The Ohio State Buckeyes just happened to be on their way to play LSU at Tiger Stadium and were on the same flight. I listened to these arrogant interlopers degrade Louisiana and ridicule the South for over three hours. I got off that plane with a burning yearning for them to get their asses handed to them on that Saturday. Alas, it ended in a 13-13 tie with no real resolution of my need to see this self-important bunch of morons eat crow.
So, tonight the Tigers will avenge that mocking and stereotyping, on the biggest of stages. They’ll be playing for Louisiana, for the pride of the South and for the National Championship. They are faster, deeper and more talented. While I’m sure that Ohio St. will be prepared, I think that a healthy LSU with an impassioned and Buckeye-despising Les Miles wins by 14. Besides, we’ve got Poo-Poo on our side.