Category Archives: Feature Stories

LSU-Alabama: The Rivalry Continues

By Lauren Goodman

The LSU-Alabama rivalry has become legendary.

Die-hard fans on both sides plan their lives around the November weekend they play each year. Coaches Les Miles and Nick Saban know that this game is one of the most important games on their schedules before the season even begins.

Each coach got their start in the Big Ten, but became coaching legends in the SEC.

Miles is a “Michigan Man.” LSU fans are reminded of this every time there are rumbles of a coaching change there. Remember 2007, 2011, and even this current season in 2014? Miles is always at the top of the list for potential candidates when Michigan begins a head coach search.

Miles was an offensive lineman for coach Bo Schembechler from 1974-1975. He returned there to begin his coaching career as a graduate assistant in 1980 and served as the offensive lineman coach from 1987-1994. The team had four Rose Bowl appearances during that time. It is well known how fond of his alma mater he is.

Saban also got his start in the Big Ten, at Ohio State and Michigan State. He was the defensive backs coach at Ohio State from 1980-1981 and held the same position at Michigan State from 1983-1987 where he eventually became the defensive coordinator during that time. After working in the NFL and as the Toledo head coach, he would return to Michigan State as its head coach from 1995-1999. His success at Michigan State helped him land the head coaching position at LSU in 2000.

During his time at LSU, Saban won two SEC championships, one national championship, and a coach of the year award.  Tiger fans were happy for him when he left to coach in the NFL for the Miami Dolphins. Les Miles was hired by LSU as his replacement.

The modern chapter of the LSU and Alabama rivalry truly began in 2007 when Saban returned to coaching college football after and unsuccessful tenure in the NFL to LSU’s SEC West rival Alabama. The Tigers would now have to play their former coach yearly, and they knew how good of a coach he was.

Alabama is leading the series with LSU from when Saban became their coach in 2007, 5-3. This includes the 2012 BCS National Championship Game where the Crimson Tide beat the Tigers 21-0 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, which some consider it to be LSU’s home turf.

All of this history leads to a focus on Saturday’s match up. Alabama is currently ranked No. 5, meaning it is on the cusp of entering the new college football playoffs with a chance to play for a national championship.

LSU is ranked No. 16, and the Tigers would love nothing more than to knock Alabama out of contention and continue to improve their standing and make a case for a playoff bid.

It is certainly something the Tiger fans have been waiting for all season.  Miles told ESPN radio. “This is a great rivalry and one that everybody in the state turns out to root for the Tigers. I can say that this is a very special Saturday evening, certainly in Louisiana.”

Saban knows that LSU is playing to win and how hard it is to do so in Death Valley.  He told ESPN, “They have a very good team, who’s playing their best football of the year.”

He added “We play these games one game at a time and this is the most important game, because it is a game we play this week against a very good team on the road in a difficult place to play.”

Miles is hoping for the best from both his team and fans.

“Energy in that stadium that is not describable,” he said. “Other people have called it magical.  Other people have called it crazy.  It is the place the Tigers play best.”

The LSU-Alabama game has taken on a significance that no other regular season college football game has done.  The rivalry continues to intensify as each school remains competitive season after season.

The Tigers are excited to play in front of their home crowd and every Tiger fan is hoping for a win because it means an Alabama loss. There will be no love lost between these two teams on Saturday night.

 

College Gameday’s David Pollack talks LSU and Ole Miss (photo gallery)

Video courtesy of Chuck Colin

 

 

Desmond Howard talks to reporters

Desmond Howard talks to reporters

David Pollack talks to reporters

David Pollack talks to reporters

Crowd awaits College Gameday Cast

Crowd awaits College Gameday Cast

David Pollack reads his notes during a commercial break

David Pollack reads his notes during a commercial break

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The hosts of College Gameday discuss the game picks

The hosts of College Gameday discuss the game picks

David Pollack and Kirk Herbstreit on set

David Pollack and Kirk Herbstreit on set

Samantha Ponder and Coach Miles receive make up during a commercial break

Samantha Ponder and Coach Miles receive make up during a commercial break

Samantha Ponder interviews LSU Head Coach Les Miles

Samantha Ponder interviews LSU Head Coach Les Miles

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College Gameday cast interviews special guests "Duck Dynasty"

College Gameday cast interviews special guests “Duck Dynasty”

Kirk Herbstreit and Lee Corso discuss the game day picks with special guest

Kirk Herbstreit and Lee Corso discuss the game day picks with special guest

 

 

 

Video Recap of “ESPN College Gameday” from Baton Rouge

By. Kyle Huber

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GameDay analysts talk LSU-Ole Miss

Howard

GameDay analyst Desmond Howard says the LSU-Ole Miss game is an important match-up.

By Annie Ourso

Each campus ESPN’s “College GameDay” visits has its own unique personality, said cast analyst Desmond Howard.

LSU is certainly no exception. With its rowdy crowd, eccentric coach and unpredictable history, LSU is sure to make the visit worthwhile.

The GameDay crew arrived in Baton Rouge this week to host its pregame show Saturday before the Tigers take on Ole Miss.

The analysts held an interview session Friday outside their production offices at the LSU Union to discuss the two SEC teams and what it’s like to be back at LSU.

For David Pollack, memories come flooding back of when he played in Tiger Stadium in 2003 as an All-American Georgia lineman.

“I’ve said it – not just because I’m here – I think it’s the best atmosphere in college football,” Pollack said of Death Valley. “It’s the toughest. The fans are the rowdiest. It’s awesome.”

Pollack

David Pollack speaks to reporters during an interview session at the LSU Union Friday.

No. 3 Ole Miss, however, may be able to silence LSU’s raucous crowd come Saturday, said show host Chris Fowler, but there’s unpredictability all around in this game, especially with a coach like Les Miles in the mix.

“Les Miles is a home dog, unpredictable X-factor,” Fowler said. “You need characters (like Miles) in this sport.”

To Howard, Miles is an old friend. The former Heisman Trophy winner played under Miles when he was assistant coach at Michigan, the school that is also Miles’ alma mater.

“He’s a great coach,” Howard said. “It’s different with Les because I have a personal relationship with him.”

The LSU-Ole Miss matchup will be an important game, Howard said, and he’s eager to see the Rebels’ passing game against LSU’s secondary.

Although most will favor Ole Miss in this game, Pollack said, styles make the fight. LSU’s weakness is defense, while Ole Miss is lacking in its offensive line.

For the Tigers, the passing game and balance will be key, Pollack said.

This is GameDay’s 10th trip to LSU. The last visit was in 2012 when LSU lost to No. 1 Alabama. This year’s show will be held on the LSU Parade Grounds.

By the end of the interviews, one question still remained for College GameDay’s show on Saturday: Who will be the guest picker?

Producer Lee Fitting said fans will have to wait until tomorrow to find out, but he did reveal that the guest is a male and not an LSU alumnus.

Tiger Stadium Home of The Corn Dogs

“College Game Day” is back in Baton Rouge, Louisiana!
On  Friday Oct. 24, 2014 some of the “ESPN College Game Day” cast took the time to speak without outside media in the LSU Student Union.

There was one question that seem to come up with each cast member and even the Game Day show producer, “Do you think LSU stadium smells like corn dogs?” There were many different responses for this question, and the cast seem to be just as clueless as LSU fans.

Host Desmond Howard being the first to be clueless of the LSU Corn dog epidemic,

” I have been here several times and never heard of that reference, I guess Katy Perry was dialed in” said Howard. Surely if you’re a LSU fan, you have heard of the Corn dog crack that Katy Perry made by throwing the corn dogs at the camera taking a stab at LSU, as she was in favor of Ole Miss during her appearance on” College Game Day”.

That didn’t sit too well with many LSU fans and not many LSU fans really know how that rumor started and how it even has become such a epidemic. Also Lee Fitter the producer of “College Game Day”, who actually picks the special guest for Game Day hadn’t heard of the corn dog smelling LSU stadium.

First let’s put it out there that Fitting didn’t let it out the bag who the special guest is for tomorrow against Ole Miss. However he gave out a few hints, that this person is a male and they have no ties to LSU as a former athlete, or student. So that should narrow it down a bit right? Fitting was also questioned about the Katy Perry corn dog tantrum, and if he knew that was planned.

“I’m sitting there watching this play out, and I’m like wait, what is she doing?” said Fitting. Fitting just like Howard claims that he hadn’t heard about the LSU, corn dog smelling connection before Katy Perry’s outburst on TV. Ultimately not many people know why opposing fans even say that LSU fans, students, oe stadium smells like corn dogs.

Who know’s who started this joke, with there being various myths out there. One being that it all started long ago because of the Ole Miss vs LSU rivalry. Although if you’re a  LSU fan or not it can be considered a pretty silly, and not too clever pun against LSU. Couldn’t people come up with something a bit more clever and original. Maybe something that even actually relates to LSU.

Either way I guess that’s the only bad thing rivals can come up with against LSU, if that’s all they got then LSU must be pretty awesome.

So enjoy “College Game Day” LSU fans and don’t forget to bring that corn dog scent with you.