Author Archives: jones

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

By Jalisa Jones

 

The other day, my perusal of the internet brought me to an open online forum called TigerDroppings.com, which included a thread about whether Bayou Classic should still be televised.

As a proud alumna of a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) and fellow member of the Southwest Athletic Conference (SWAC), I was bewildered and felt undervalued.

The forum asked legitimate questions regarding the benefits of the game, the profit margin of the network (NBC) that broadcasts it, and the game’s effect on the tourism industry. However, some of the posts to the forum included derogatory and frankly racist comments.

Of these off color topics, the one that angered me the most was one that asked, “Is black college football relevant?” Given the topic of the forum, one would assume that the poster was referring strictly to HBCUs, but given the placement of his comma I would assume he was referring to all “blacks” in college football.

I came up with an idea to solve the discrepancies on whether “black college football” is relevant: denying black men in college the opportunity to play football. Take all of these money making, powerhouse teams, and strip them of their African-American players.

To be fair, lets start with the team whose cult-like fan base is the primary audience of the site: LSU.

Goodbye, Leonard Fournette, Anthony Jennings, Jalen Mills, and all of the 80-something black players on the team. The result would be barely enough players for a Saturday 7-on-7 match-up at the local BREC park.

The same would hold true for about 90 percent, if not more, of the nation’s college football teams if their black players were taken away. With that being said, does one really need to ask how relevant these players are?

Is the real problem here Southern and Grambling’s airtime on NBC, or that their records surpassed that of the Bayou Bengals?

Their playing seems to bother some, but it shouldn’t.

To tell these players that you don’t think their college football team should be televised undervalues the hard work these young men put into playing for schools that have been rooted in the black community. In addition, this game is a recruitment tool for both programs, not to mention so important to the fan bases of both schools that the programs have forfeited Football Championship Subdivision playoff eligibility to keep the Bayou Classic going.

The Bayou Classic has been a tradition and an in-state rivalry well before it was popularized in 1974. Current students, future students and alumni of both schools, benefit from not only the game but also the events prior such as the College & Career Fair; Black Enterprise Elevator Pitch Program and the Capital One Bayou Classic Business Challenge.

The exact amount of earnings from the game’s broadcast isn’t apparent, but I would infer NBC values the Bayou Classic because of its extension in 2013 to broadcast the game for the next three years, as stated by the Advocate. Tourism in New Orleans this year brought in over 200,000 people to the city, as hotels booked up, and cars stretched for miles from every direction.

Although your opinion on black college football is allowed via the First Amendment, expressing it toward student-athletes whose choice in school does not meet your preference should be barred because you have no problem with “black college football” when your African-American quarterback wins you the game. LSU fans should recall a time when LSU was not that good and see how they would have felt if their rivalry games between Alabama or Arkansas were pulled from broadcast television outside those markets.

So with that being said, LET THOSE KIDS PLAY!

Not-So Underdogs

By Jalisa Jones
Everywhere you go in the state, you can find LSU fan gear: supermarkets, gas stations, and in pop up shops strategically placed at red lights. From Shreveport to Venice, and everywhere in between, people worship the purple and gold like they have stake in an LSU stock. Even people who have not ventured past the gates of the school find themselves sitting on the edge of their seats on Saturday nights, as the Bayou Bengals take on whichever team that ventures into Death Valley – and for good reason! The SEC school has 121 years of football under its belt, 14 conference titles, and three national titles. It’s no wonder why the Tigers hold the heart of many Louisianans. But this season, the beloved Tigers didn’t do as well as fans hoped. With only a 4-4 record in the SEC, they were not eligible to advance to the College Football Playoffs.However, Louisiana college football fans shouldn’t wallow in their sorrows too long, as four universities had awesome football seasons.
The Southern Jaguars, Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, Southeastern Louisiana Lions, and Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns have all had winning seasons, coming in at the top of their conferences.
All four schools, representing in the SWAC, Conference USA, Southland and Sun Belt conferences respectively, have had near-perfect conference records, losing only one game in their respective conferences, and have gone on to be invited to postseason play in either their conferences’ championship game, a Football Championship Subdivision playoff game, a bowl game, or both.
Southern in Baton Rouge, would be the “winningest team” in the state if there was such an award. With an 8-1 conference record the Jaguars have pummeled everyone in their division, and almost everyone in their conference. They also made their way to the SWAC Championship Game on Dec. 6, as they took on the only team in their conference to beat them in regular season, the Alcorn State Braves. In a near repeat of their 2013 season, the Southern Jaguars first defeated their in-state rivals the Grambling State Tigers in the 41st annual Bayou Classic, and went on to compete in the now Houston based championship game for the second year in a row.Unfortunately the Jaguars were not able to bring home another title, but the numbers clearly show they had a remarkable season.
Not to be outdone, Louisiana Tech made an extraordinary turnaround from its 2013 season in which the Bulldogs were 4-8. Scoring 488 points to last season’s 230, the numbers show the change in dynamics for the Bulldogs. “Something great is going on here at Louisiana Tech,” said tight end Eddie Johnson, a senior from Dallas. “This season we are a solid team.” Louisiana Tech is 8-5 overall and 7-1 in conference. On Dec. 6, the Bulldogs played in the Conference USA Championship game against Marshall, in which they lost 26-23.
Although Johnson, of course, “wanted to win,” he remains positive about postseason play and is certain that “greatness” takes a more well-rounded approach. “We have a great team, and great coaches,” Johnson said. “ Coach (Skip) Holtz, teaches us about being a man on and off the football field.”
Football isn’t over for Bulldogs, as they have been invited to take on the Illinois Fighting Illini in the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl, Dec. 26 in Dallas.
“Illinois is a Big Ten school, but we’ve come off a good season and we’re feeling pretty confident,” Johnson said.
Southeastern has had a continuation of good football this year, tying for first in the Southland Conference with Sam Houston State, each school with a 7-1 record. The Lions made it to the first round of the FCS playoffs in Huntsville, Texas. The Lions, despite their share of the SLC title, saw their season end Nov. 29 with a 21-17 loss at Sam Houston State, the same team they’d played and won against in the first round of playoffs last season.
The Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns have made their mark not only in football but on the City of Lafayette’s economy.
Reports from the 2013 season, on Lafayette.com, state “The Ragin’ Cajuns football program had a local economic impact of more than $27.3 million. Of that, $7.6 million is attributed to wages paid to area residents, as the program supported a total of 241 jobs.”Although new statistics have not been released in regards to economic boost this season, the 7,000-seat increase to Cajun Field is predicted to at the very least increase revenue for the Louisiana-Lafayette athletic department.This year, coming in second to 8-0 Georgia Southern in the Sun Belt, the Cajuns ended the season with a 7-1 record.
“We started rough, but we managed to find our swag and pull off a winning streak,” said Senior linebacker Boris Anyama of Houston, as he described the Cajuns’ three, non-conference losses (one of which was to the aforementioned Louisiana Tech), before their six game winning streak. Southern’s first non-conference loss came from the Cajuns in a quasi-rivalry match-up Labor day weekend.
“We’re a good team,” Anyama. “Good leadership got the team ready to take on all opponents.”
The Ragin’ Cajuns have also been offered the opportunity to play in the R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl for the fourth year in a row. “I’m glad they asked us to play in the New Orleans Bowl again,” Anyama said. “It’s honor to be invited.”The Cajuns have won their first three trips to the New Orleans Bowl and hold the record for the most wins in the bowl game’s history. They will play the Nevada Wolfpack on Dec. 20 in the Mercedes Benz Superdome.
Though often overlooked compared to LSU, these teams should really be admired for their achievements this season.
Humble, hard-working young men ready to bring home a victory each week, all four football teams ended their seasons with the exception of those receiving bowl game invitations. Next season, while fans from Lake Charles to Bastrop are cheering on the purple and gold, they shouldn’t be remiss to cheer on the Colombia blue and gold of Southern, the Tech blue and Tech red of Louisiana Tech; the green and gold of SLU and the white and vermilion of Louisiana-Lafayette.

ESPN’s SEC Network Comes to LSU

By Jae Jones

If you’re not lucky enough to get one of the 102,321 seats in Tiger stadium feel free to thank producer Steve Ackels and his crew of 60 plus, for their role in putting together LSU’s game coverage on television’s across the country.

On Thursdays, the trucks roll in and the preparation begins. The last two weekdays leading up the game are used to make sure all equipment and gadgets are ready go to for Saturday. “It takes about 13-14 hours to set everything up [between Thursday and Friday]” said Ackels. “ESPN is at LSU pretty much every home game that CBS isn’t.”

SEC Network Control Room

SEC Network Control Room

As coordinating producer of the SEC Network Ackels, overseas the three college football games to be played on the network every Saturday. “The producer typically coordinates all aspects of the show; organizes the schedules, the content, the meetings with schools and the coaches each week,” said Ackels. ” During the show the producer talks to the announcers and basically guides them to where the show should go”

The SEC Network provides content for the whole conferences’ athletic departments, including olympic sports, such as volleyball, basketball, soccer and swimming & diving.

This is only the beginning. The ESPN SEC Network was lunched August 14, 2014 , and plans on producing “more than 1,000 live events, available in the first full year across the television network and its digital extensions”, according to the secsports.go.com website.

Programming doesn’t just consist of games. Weekly shows include SEC Nation, The Paul Finebaum Show, SEC Storied, SEC Now, and SEC Rewind; which includes classic games, BCS & SEC Championships.

SBNation.com reported that the SEC Network already had a “massive number of subscribers” a day before it debuted. In a chart  featured in the article, the SEC was projected to have 75 million subscribers in comparison to the Big Ten Networks projected 60 million and the Pac-12 Networks projected 26 million.

The SEC Network will reportedly charge $1.40 per subscriber per month inside the SEC footprint, meaning the conference will be in line for a big pay day,” reported SBNation. “Estimates for the conference’s total revenue range from $500 million to over $600 million per year, which would come out to more than $35 million per school”

Cable providers that deliver the SEC Network include Comcast, Dish, Time Warner Cable, AT&T Uverse, Charter, Cox, Brighterhouse, and SuddenLink. Catch the Kentucky Vs. LSU game Saturday Night at 7:30 pm on your cable providers SEC Network Station.