Category Archives: College Football

Tigers Headed to Nashville

By Jessica Busada

The LSU Tigers will play Notre Dame in the Music City Bowl on Dec. 30 at 2 p.m. on ESPN. This will be the first time the Tigers appear in the Music City Bowl.

The Music City Bowl was established in 1998 and this year will mark the 17th annual bowl game. Last years game resulted in a victory for Ole Miss over Georgia Tech.

Before the announcement, LSU athletic ticket manager Brian Broussard said, “We receive 8,000 tickets for the bowl games and currently have requests for 2,500-3,000 total tickets for the game.”

The Tigers and Fighting Irish will meet for the 11th time overall and the fifth time in a bowl game.  Norte Dame finished the season 7-5 and LSU finished 8-4.

The bowl game will be the 15th straight bowl game appearance for LSU.

Senior running back Terrence Magee said, “We are excited about the match up.” Overall reaction to the bowl matchup has been positive from LSU fans and players.

“The bowl took great strides this year to improve our selection process, and I think this year’s match-up proves that it was worth it,” said Toby Wilt, bowl selection committee chairman for the Music City Bowl. “We couldn’t be more excited.”

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said, “We’re thrilled with the opportunity to face LSU –one of the preeminent programs in all of college football.”

LSU coach Les Miles reacted to the matchup announcement saying, “We are very excited to bring our football program and the great LSU fan base to Nashville to play Notre Dame in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl.

“Notre Dame is a traditional football power and we are looking forward to renewing what has been a tremendous rivalry between the two programs through the years. Nashville is a great city and the opportunity to play in an NFL venue makes this a very attractive bowl destination for us.”

LSU will be the designated home team of the Music City Bowl game. LSU is 5-5 all-time against Notre Dame, including a 2-0 bowl record versus the Fighting Irish.

 

LSU vs. Notre Dame

Coach Les Miles is a Family Man

By Lauren Goodman

 

The LSU Tigers are 8-4. They are ranked No. 24 in the College Football Playoffs and are fifth in the SEC West. They are eager to find out which bowl they will be attending, even if they are not in contention for a national championship, plus the outcome of the search to fill the vacant head coaching position at Michigan.

There is a lot of chatter about coach Les Miles. There is always a lot of chatter about Les Miles.

But there is another side to Coach Miles that the public rarely gets to see, and that is Les Miles, the husband and dad.

Miles has been with his wife Kathy since his coaching days at Michigan. They married in 1993. They are parents to four kids: Kathryn (Smacker), Manny, Benjamin, and Macy Grace.

All four are athletes and play sports. All four understand that their dad is not like the other dads.

It is not always easy to have a coach as a father.

“He understands really quickly where his weaknesses are. He’s not a swim coach,” Kathy Miles says with a chuckle.

The Miles’ oldest daughter, Kathryn, is a swimmer at the University of Texas.

“When they were younger, he would try to coach them on their technique, now he just tries to keep them motivated and on task,” Kathy said.

Manny and Benjamin both play high school football. Having a father who has coached national championship teams should be an advantage.

But Coach Miles does not let his role as head coach of the LSU Tigers compete with his role of being a dad.

“Les understands that the boys are doing what their coaches are teaching them to do,” Kathy said. “And they have some great coaches.”

It is a fine line between coach and father, and Miles walks it well.

Macy Grace, a fifth grader, plays youth soccer and softball. Her dad loves to watch her play.

“He loves meeting the other kids,” Kathy said. “People always ask for photos or autographs. He’s happy to do it. The kids understand. They are independent and understanding when he can’t make it to one of their games.”

Being the wife of an SEC head coach requires a special woman.

“Les gets in a great routine during football season with his staff, practices, game days,” Kathy said. “It makes my job a lot easier. I can just help the kids, finish my errands, and I run lunch up to him about once a week.”

Every football team has its own routine during the season. You would think the intensity of a game every week would be the hardest time of year for a coach’s family, but Kathy says the offseason is much more chaotic.

“Football season seems like down time,” she said. “It’s consistent. After the bowls and in the spring, he is in and out of town to recruit, go on tours, and speaking engagements.”

The idea that being a head coach for a football team is just being busy during the fall is off base. There is always something to prepare for, a recruit to meet, an interview to give.

And then there are the games themselves.

We have all seen the camera zoom in on a coach’s wife and family during the game. Some like to sit in the stands, some in a suite, and some cannot even handle watching the game with other people. Family members have their own routines, too.

“The games are intense for me,” Kathy said. “I am focused on watching the game. There’s not a lot of side chatter for me.”

Kathy said now that their kids are older it is easier to make to all the games.

She has maybe missed one or two away games in the past four years. She makes it to all of the home games, as long as the kids do not have a sporting event of their own.

And what about the Miles’ children? They enjoy watching their dad in Tiger Stadium too.

“When they are older, I think they will appreciate the opportunity they had to go to LSU football games,” Kathy said.

Inevitably, as all coaches do, they lose one of these football games. The scrutiny that head coaches are under, especially in what many consider the best conference in the nation, the SEC, not only affects the coach, but his loved ones, too.

“I’m not an internet person,” Kathy said. “I read The Advocate, always the sports section.  I’ll tell Les about an article. He reads even less than me.”

Criticism doesn’t just come from the media. It comes from the fans, too.

“As far as LSU, the squeaky wheel gets the oil,” Kathy said. “There is always a fan with something to say, positive or negative, but the people of Louisiana have been great to Les and our family. It has been such a positive experience for our family.”

It is not always easy to be in school with a famous father, at least not in the football loving state of Louisiana.

“The kids have grown up with it and are used to it,” Kathy said. “There are down times after losses, but they surround themselves with good friends.  They understand that people will say negative things.”

At the end of the day, these men, who have dedicated their lives to football, to fulfilling their dreams of winning national championships, and helping kids fulfill their dreams of playing in the National Football League, are husbands and fathers.  They are not so different from every other parent trying to figure out how to balance a career and a family.

They show up to work every day, they do their jobs to the best of their ability, they work to showcase the talent of their players, and of course, try to win football games.

But, at the end of the day, they return to their families and play a very different role.

“Les is very involved as a dad,” Kathy said. “He is interested in their grades, school, their social life.”

It is clear that the Miles’ family has learned what is most important.

“To the kids, he is just their dad.”

Keep the Class Leave the Trash

By: Serena Crawford

It’s safe to say that the SEC has some of the most passionate fans in College Football. Some may say that this passion can be considered as a gift and a curse. Remember this guy by the name of Harvey Updyke who decided to poison the trees at Toomer’s Corner on Auburn’s campus. Destroying a tradition for an entire university, because of an Alabama lost. Most recently the Ole Miss fan that was caught on camera ranting, and crying hysterically about the Ole Miss lost. During previous years many fans, especially at LSU take certain losses very personal. In 1994 former LSU QB Jamie Howard threw five interceptions during a lost against Auburn. Howard received death threats, and his experience with such vial scrutiny at LSU lead him to actually move away.

On Nov. 15, LSU suffered a tough lost vs. Arkansas, an annual rivalry that fans look forward to at the end of each season. LSU currently leads the rivalry 37-21. However as many SEC fans know for the past 3 years Arkansas’s football program has fallen short of meeting SEC powerhouse expectations. Although the part that hurt many fans the worst, is the fact that Arkansas was on the path of a losing season, until the 17—0 shutout vs. LSU on this unfortunate Saturday night.

Unfortunately post game things took an ugly turn on social media. It’s known that many fans after a lost find a way to let out their frustration. Most fans choose to focus on a particular individual whether it be a player or coach to direct their anger towards and to blame. This time it was LSU’s QB Anthony Jennings. This hasn’t been the first time that Jennings has experienced some type of scrutiny from fans, from being chanted and booed off the field, to receiving nasty tweets on Twitter. Although this time fans, if people could actually call them that, took things to extreme levels. Those tweets will not be quoted in this article due to the explicit content, and the fact that dirt such as those tweets don’t deserve to be replicated.

Jennings who is only age 20 and only a sophomore at LSU, received death threats after the lost vs. Arkansas. Many so call fans took to twitter, threatening to take his life, expressing how bad of a player he is, and taking every stab at his confidence that they could. Yes people have a right to their own opinion and everyone has the right to the freedom of speech. Although many forget that these players or still human just like the fans. An athlete such as Jennings works hard day in and day out to make LSU fans proud, from two-a-days, weightlifting, hours of studying video, and let’s not forget that he is a student first. Which includes him attending class full time and outside tutoring numerous days out of the week. Even with the scrutiny throughout this entire season Jennings still had the respect for LSU, his teammates, and the fans to put on his uniform, and go out on the field and play. Surely there were times he probably would rather just sit on the bench than to take on offensive scrutiny.

So shouldn’t there be a bit more respect for a guy who still goes out on the field and play for fans who may not always support him. Because true fans should love their team win or lose. Taking drastic measures by threatening someone’s life won’t turn a lost in to a win because what’s done is done. Fans should probably take a step back and realize that if Jennings can still go on the field and play for fans who scrutinize him, that those same fans should be able to still support him after a lost. There are other things that actually deserve a lot more scrutiny than Jennings, like the fact that gas is still not a $1.75. That’s something to really be upset about. Fans should realize that kicking someone while their down doesn’t help anyone feel better. Jennings deserves much more respect than having his life threatened over losing a game, try taking a walk in his cleats. Tiger fans let’s show the world more class than trash. Think about it even though Harvey Updyke was completely wrong for poisoning those trees, he wasn’t trying to hurt his own team. So stop the threats and show support.

Cajuns’ success prompts expansion, grows fan base

By Annie Ourso

It’s a good time to be a Ragin’ Cajun, said Louisiana-Lafayette sports information director Matt Sullivan.

Cajun Field has seen substantial renovations this year, football ticket sales and donations are at all-time highs, and after six straight wins, the Cajuns are bowl eligible for the fourth consecutive year.

“We’ve got consistent winning seasons, so what you’re going to see now is growth – in terms of community support, donations, everything,” Sullivan said. “You have to have the right person, the right scenario, and I think with head coach (Mark) Hudspeth coming in, things were able to take off.”

Since the Hudspeth Era began in 2011, the Cajuns have won three straight bowl game championships – a complete turnaround from lackluster seasons of years past.

With the Cajuns’ newfound success came more support and more money, and with more support and more money came facility improvements.

Cajun Field received a major makeover for the start of the 2014 football season.

Seating was added to the south end of the stadium, increasing capacity to 36,900. UL-Lafayette also installed a new video board, three times the size of the previous board, and added two outdoor patio suites on the southwest end.

John Dugas, associate athletics director, said this is the first time Cajun Field has seen improvements on this level since it opened in 1971.

The stadium upgrade is part of Tier 1 of UL-Lafayette’s three-tiered, $115 million Athletic Facilities Master Plan.

Further expansions for Cajun Field are in the works, Sullivan said, as UL-Lafayette’s fan base continues to grow.

“Since Coach Hud, we’ve more than doubled our season ticket output,” said Matt Casbon, UL-Lafayette’s ticket manager.

This year alone, Casbon said, football season ticket sales have risen 36 percent. Overall attendance at games has increased as well.

“Attendance has been great these last four years,” Sullivan said. “Two of the last three years, we’ve led the Sun Belt Conference in attendance. We have a chance to lead it again this year. Right now, we’re right behind Arkansas State.”

Donations to the Ragin’ Cajun Athletics Foundation also rose this year to about $2 million for the first time, he said.

Even as a newcomer to the athletics staff, Sullivan said he has seen progress across the board at UL-Lafayette.

“I’ve been here for a year,” he said. “I was born in Lafayette, and I haven’t been back in 30 years. Seeing everything now, I’ve been amazed. The growth and everything going on with football and Coach Hud, it’s been phenomenal – a tremendous four-year ride.”

Dugas has been with the Cajuns through the long haul, and he said these last four years have been nothing short of a dream come true.

“This is my 21st season being a part of the Ragin’ Cajuns football program,” Dugas said. “This is more than a team to me; it’s truly part of who I am.”

Hudspeth was the spark the Cajuns needed to turn the program around, Dugas said, and his flame has spread throughout the entire university and city of Lafayette.

“Hope is a powerful motivator,” he said. “More than anything, Coach Hud represents what is possible for this team and this athletic department.

“We’ve had brief moments of success in the past, but nothing that has been sustained. We have everyone on board now, so the time to completely transform has arrived. It’s up to us to keep it going.”

Classless

By Jessica Busada

Tiger Stadium is known as one of the greatest stadiums to play and watch college football. The experience of a game in Tiger Stadium is one that is hard to forget.

The student section has always been one of the best in college sports but that opinion may change soon. In the Tigers final home game of the season against Alabama the student section was classless.

Close to the end of a tough game, the students began chanting “F*** You Saban” loud and clear for not only those in attendance to hear but also everyone watching on CBS. This is completely classless and embarrassing for multiple reasons.

During this vulgar chant the students failed to notice one of our own players was down on the field hurt.

When a player, especially from your team, is hurt fans should be quiet and the music should stop. Our students decided it was more important to chant about a coach that has been gone from our school for ten years.

The injured player during that time deserves an apology from the student section. The amount of disrespect shown at that moment was disturbing.

Everyone knows LSU fans do not like Saban, but it is time to get over it and move on. The chant only made us look bitter and classless.

At a point in the game where our players needed the fans more than ever this chant started and it hyped up the Alabama players not ours. We should be cheering on our team and coach and motivating them.

The majority of the students chanting probably have no idea why they hate Saban.  They were kids when he coached at LSU and most probably paid no attention at that time.

The students are hurting the brand of LSU as a whole. It is incredibly embarrassing and has absolutely no benefit.

The chant was an insult to our players, coaches and staff. They are working hard to make the fans happy and get the win but their own student section is cheering about the opponent’s coach.

Those chanting are not true LSU football fans and are ruining the experience in Tiger Stadium that has been known as the best for years. Families attend and watch the games and children are hearing these loud obscene chants. Parents did not pay for their kids to hear this and should not have to listen to it.

Players want their fans cheering for them, helping them gain energy and motivation throughout the game. This disgusting chant is not what that want to hear, it does not help the players at all.

The Saban chant was a gift to the Alabama players because it gave them a boost of energy and more motivation to win. Look who came away with the win in overtime, not LSU.

Congratulations students you have successfully embarrassed the university you claim to love, disrespected your team especially the player who was down with an injury and the entire coaching staff.

2014-15 LSU Football Home Games

By Jessica Busada

Gallery: “SEC Nation” Cast Holds Media Session

By Kyle Huber

 

On Friday evening, the eve of the LSU-Alabama game, some of the cast of ESPN’s “SEC Nation” took questions from the media. Those who partook in the session were Joe Tessitore, Tim Tebow, and Marcus Spears

"SEC Nation" makes its way to Baton Rouge

“SEC Nation” makes its way to Baton Rouge

With Tiger Stadium as the backdrop, the "SEC Nation" cast is set to begin a segment.

With Tiger Stadium as the backdrop, the “SEC Nation” cast is set to begin a segment

The segment as begun.

The segment as begun

This segment features Joe Tessitore, former Florida quaterback Tim Tebow, former LSU Tiger Marcus Spears

This segment features Joe Tessitore, former Florida quaterback Tim Tebow, former LSU Tiger Marcus Spears

Joe Tessitore and Tim Tebow discuss the atmosphere in Tiger Stadium

Joe Tessitore and Tim Tebow discuss the atmosphere in Tiger Stadium

Tim Tebow gives his opinions on the LSU and Alabama key players

Tim Tebow gives his opinions on the LSU and Alabama key players

Only a few fans were out at the "SEC Nation" set Friday evening. This fan chose to show is support for LSU offensive lineman La'el Collins

Only a few fans were out at the “SEC Nation” set Friday evening. This fan chose to show his support for LSU offensive lineman La’el Collins

Joe Tessitore speaks with media on his excitement to be in Baton Rouge

Joe Tessitore speaks with media on his excitement to be in Baton Rouge

Former LSU defensive lineman Marcus Spears expresses to the media how much has enjoyed switching to broadcasting

Former LSU defensive lineman Marcus Spears expresses to the media how much he has enjoyed switching to broadcasting

Tim Tebow discusses with the media his experiences in Tiger Stadium and with the LSU fans

Tim Tebow discusses with the media his experiences in Tiger Stadium and with the LSU fans

This production box has the "SEC Nation" stamp of approval

This production box has the “SEC Nation” stamp of approval

A graphic that depicts the states that make up "SEC Nation"

A graphic that depicts the states that make up “SEC Nation”

The "SEC Nation" tour bus parked next to the set

The “SEC Nation” tour bus parked next to the set

The institutions that make up the SEC on the side of the "SEC Nation" bus

The institutions that make up the SEC on the side of the “SEC Nation” bus

The set for side segments for "SEC Nation"

The set for side segments for “SEC Nation”

A fan's view of the "SEC Nation" set

A fan’s view of the “SEC Nation” set

The majestic backdrop for the "SEC Nation" set, a great view of Tiger Stadium

The majestic backdrop for the “SEC Nation” set, a great view of Tiger Stadium

The sun has begun to set in the Western sky, and soon it will be Friday night in Death Valley

The sun has begun to set in the Western sky, and soon it will be Friday night in Death Valley