Category Archives: Uncategorized

Support increases despite down year for Tigers

By Chucky Colin

Despite the LSU Tigers finishing the 2014 regular season with an overall record of 8-4, ticket sales and fan support did not waver. The 2014 season marks only the third time during Les Miles’ tenure that the Tigers will not win at least 10 games.

 

A stadium full of Tiger fans gets pumped up for the Alabama game.

A stadium full of Tiger fans gets pumped up for the Alabama game.

According to Brian Broussard, an associate athletic director and head of ticket sales and operations, this is the second highest year ever in terms of tickets sold ever.

The only season that generated more ticket sales was the 2011 season, in which the Tigers were undefeated during the regular season. The Tigers finished 13-1 with their loss coming against SEC West foe Alabama in the national championship game.

Ticket sales increased with the new seating available with the expansion to Tiger Stadium. All premium seating, which includes the club and suite levels, sold out. According to LSUsports.net, the capacity of Tiger Stadium prior to the expansion was 92,560.

That would currently rank as the ninth largest in college football in terms of capacity. Tiger Stadium’s current capacity is 102,321 which ranks, as fifth largest in terms of capacity.

Although there were more seats to fill, the attendance and overall capacity increased. The average attendance for a LSU Tiger football during the 2014 season was 101,723, which is 99.4 percent of capacity. For the previous season the average attendance was at 98.8 percent of capacity, which is approximately 91,500 people.

With the expansion and high attendance rates LSU generated nearly $30 million in ticket sales. Although a large number of tickets are sold they are distributed in a specific way.

Fourteen percent of tickets are sold to students (Approximately 53 percent in relation to the size of the student body.).  Approximately seven percent of all tickets are designated for visitor seating, while the remaining 79 percent of seats are for season ticket sales, recruiting, football player families usage, coaches, etc.

Ticket prices are determined by many variables, which include the opponent, day of the game, prices of games from schools within the SEC and throughout the nation.

Ticket sales can not be projected for next season. The impact that the 2014 season will have on 2015 season ticket sales can not be foreseen at this time.

As for the Tigers 2014 bowl game, they will be facing the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7-5) in the Music City Bowl. The game will be played in Nashville, Tennessee.

The Tigers come into this game off of a previous bowl victory in which they defeated  the Iowa Hawkeyes in the 2014 Outback Bowl. That game was played in Tampa, Florida.

Despite LSU having a better record in 2013, it has already sold more tickets for the Music City Bowl versus Notre Dame than for the Outback Bowl.

“Both are great cities, but the history and name recognition Notre Dame brings far outweighs anything else,” Broussard said.

Former Nicholls State star looks to make even bigger impact off-field

By Chucky Colin

 

Courtesy of Nicholls State University Athletics

Courtesy of Nicholls State University Athletics

THIBODAUX – Despite suffering a major knee injury at the beginning of his senior season and questions about his future in football, former Nicholls State University running back Marcus Washington is making huge contributions off the field.

Washington suffered the injury on Oct. 10, 2013 in a game against Northwestern State.

He was in the midst of having one of the best games of his collegiate career as he finished with 77 yards rushing and a career-high three touchdowns.

Although his season and collegiate career ended prematurely, Washington has stayed involved in the Nicholls State community and has used his rehab process as a form of motivation.

“Once the injury occurred it allowed me to take the time out to learn what motivates me to actually push back to get back on the field,” Washington said. “I am finally getting different types of motivation and also finding time to focus on myself.”

The missed time has allowed Washington to help others and rededicate himself to football.

Following his injury, Washington became a student-coach for the Colonels. He was responsible for helping his fellow running backs. After graduating in the summer of 2014 he was hired as the running backs coach and special teams coordinator for the Thibodaux High School Tigers.

The Tigers finished the regular season with a 10-2 record and advanced to the second round of the state playoffs before losing to Scotlandville, 27-15.

Washington says that this coaching experience and his players helped him grow. Although he has played football his entire life, Washington admits that coaching has been an adjustment and that the initial transition was not as smooth as he would have liked.

“I actually never wanted to be a coach, so when I went into coaching I didn’t know what to expect,” Washington said. “My first few days I was quiet just observing and not saying much, but once I got to know my players that’s when I discovered Coach Marcus.”

During this time Washington leaned on his close relationships. He sought advice from his old coaches as well as family and friends.

Washington says that his grandmother has been his inspiration throughout both his life and football career. He says that the strong relationship is a result of him being the youngest of five children.

In the midst of Washington’s sophomore season at Nicholls State, his grandmother died. Although this was a tough time for him, he continued to play football. He said that football meant everything to her and his family encouraged him to play.

Washington has a tattoo of his grandmother’s name with a dove located on his chest.

“It represents my heart and sunshine, which is what she was to me,” Washington said.

Washington also acknowledges his younger nephew as an inspiration. Washington’s nephew mimics many things of his uncle which include playing the same sport, wearing the same jersey number, playing the same position and having the same hairstyle.

He also credits his parents, specifically his father’s military background, for helping to instill a strong work ethic within him.

Washington says that he soon discovered that he had the potential to be his old coach’s protege. In order to emulate the success of his former coach, Washington said that he tried to reenact many things that his former coach did. This included running the same drills in practice and “doing almost everything step by step just like him.”

This not only pushed Washington be a better coach, but it also revealed what was required of him if he wanted to be successful and have a positive impact on his players.

“The good thing was getting to understand my kid’s backgrounds, and noticing I’m not just a coach but also a life coach, a mentor, a brother, or even a father to some,” Washington said.

Washington said that the relative closeness in age to his players allows him to relate to them more than the average coach. Because of this, Washington is one of the first people that   the players approach when they are in need of advice. He believes that this helps their relationship and it’s something that he is thankful for.

In addition to being a football coach, Washington also serves as the coordinator of minority recruiting at his alma mater. He is responsible for giving campus tours and visits to prospective Nicholls State students. Washington believes that the passion that he had as a student and football player at Nicholls has helped his transition as a faculty member.

“Throughout my tenure at Nicholls I became a big fan of the university and began loving everything about Nicholls,” Washington said. “The experience of going through a university and then working for a university is very exciting.”

Washington said he believes giving back to the community is important because it can change a young person’s life for the better.

“To help someone else in need gives me a smile inside nobody can take away,” Washington said. “I want to become old and have several young men and women email or call me and tell me thank you, because without me they wouldn’t be as successful as they will become.”

He says that being able to help a student as both a coach and counselor is something that makes him very proud. He also likes the aspect of now being colleagues with his former professors.

Although Washington is still rehabbing from his serious knee injury, he is still pursuing a career as a professional football player. He currently is training for his pro day and tryout, which will begin in March. If he doesn’t receive an opportunity by next season, Washington will continue his coach career and pursue a Master’s degree in sports management.

Despite missing majority of his senior season, Washington is satisfied with his collegiate career.

“I will forever be in the record books, and everyone will remember who Nicholls running back No. 44 Marcus Washington was,” Washington said. “I achieved my awards as well school wise and nationally, so I am able to say I had a successful career.”

He finished his Nicholls State career with the 21 total touchdowns and 1,827 rushing yards, the eighth most in school history. He also was an all-conference running back in 2011.

 

Ray Rice: could the Saints forgive and forget?

By Lindsay Rabalais

Ray Rice could be moving to New Orleans after being reinstated to the NFL.

Rice, a running back who previously played for the Baltimore Ravens, was suspended from the NFL in September after TMZ released a video of him dragging his fiancée (now his wife) out of a casino elevator after he had knocked her unconscious.

On Nov. 28, Rice won his appeal in arbitration and was reinstated to the NFL.  He is currently a free agent, but there has been speculation about where he will play next – or if he will play again at all.

On Nov. 30, ESPN reported that the New Orleans Saints had inquired about signing Rice.

Head coach Sean Payton quickly shot down the rumor.  “I think I would know if we’re interested in signing any player.  But those are the ‘Sunday splash’ reports,” Payton told reporters.

Still, anything is possible.

If the franchise was considering signing Rice, they would deny knowing anything, according to Kristi Williams, former Vice President of Communications for the Louisiana Association of Business & Industry.  “If the Saints were looking at Rice, they would claim ignorance,” Williams said.

Payton’s response was not an outright denial of the Saints’ alleged interest in Rice, and another team has yet to sign him.  As of now, anything could happen.

If Rice were to don black and gold in the future, what kind of reaction could Tom Benson and his franchise expect?

When TMZ leaked the video of the incident in the elevator on Sept. 8, it started a national conversation about domestic violence.  The hashtags #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft dominated Twitter in the following days, with survivors of domestic violence sharing their stories.  Scores of editorials were written about Roger Goodell’s bungling of the situation.

The debacle made many football fans – especially female fans – question their enthusiasm for the game and for the NFL.

“As a woman, it makes me question how I can support the NFL,” said Claire Biggs, a Louisiana native and Saints fan.  “The NFL is a nonprofit organization.  How many other nonprofits would be able to function in this way?  … I definitely feel less inclined to watch or participate in anything the NFL does.”

The NFL attempted to rehabilitate its image by partnering with organizations that work to prevent domestic violence and serve victims, including the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.  In October, NFL players also began appearing in PSAs for No More, an organization that aims to end domestic violence and sexual assault.

Still, this solution might have been too little, too late.

Williams said that the NFL should have had a crisis public relations plan in place for if a player was ever accused or convicted of a violent crime like domestic violence.  “Timing is everything with PR and crisis response,” Williams said.  “I equate it to bad clock management in a football game.”

It also does not help the NFL that football has a reputation – whether deserved or not – for promoting violence.

Statistically, the hours after the Super Bowl yield the highest nationwide numbers of reported domestic violence incidents in any given year, according to Amanda Tonkovich of the New Orleans Family Justice Center, an advocacy organization that works to prevent domestic violence.

Tonkovich also pointed to the aggressive nature of the game.

“Sports inherently has this masculine tendency.  We don’t cry, we don’t get hurt, we kill the other team.”

Still, Tonkovich believes in the power of the NFL as an agent for social change.

“If they take domestic violence seriously, it will send a message to youth and start a conversation,” Tonkovich said.  “Since this has been in the media, we’ve had more survivors come forward and share their stores, or talk with their families.”

Although Williams criticized the NFL’s response to the debacle, she doubts there would be serious public relations consequences for the Saints if they were to sign Rice.

She said that although there could initially be some backlash, most Saints fans would eventually accept him, given his talent on the field.

“Football is important to Louisiana, and we love to win,” Williams said.  “It’s a drug.”

Williams pointed out that sports fans also love a comeback.

“This whole state is about redemption, and it would be a perfect place for [Rice] and his family to land.”

However, some of the Saints’ fan base would almost certainly be unhappy with the decision.

“It’s too soon for me,” said Jennie Armstrong, a lifelong Saints fan.  “I’m not ready to give him a chance, and I don’t want him anywhere near my team.”

Biggs also said she would be angry if the Saints signed Rice.  Although she can see the value of giving someone who is truly remorseful a second chance, Biggs does not think Rice is sorry for the incident in the elevator.

“Unfortunately, I can’t be that optimistic where Rice is concerned, especially after seeing the video and reading the transcripts from his interviews,” Biggs said.  “Bringing on Rice would communicate a message that the Saints, as a team, value players over women who are abused.”

Tonkovich said the Saints could probably expect a mixed reaction from fans if they were to sign Rice.

“We live in a big football culture.  But I think there would be a lot of outrage, especially in the domestic violence advocacy world,” Tonkovich said.  “Especially if he was signed without going through any kind of batterer intervention program … Especially when New Orleans and Louisiana already have high rates of domestic violence.”

Williams suggested that Rice could actually be a powerful tool in the fight to end domestic violence, if he partnered with local advocacy groups.  She said Rice could become like Michael Vick, who plays quarterback for the New York Jets and was arrested in 2007 for operating a dog fighting ring.  Vick has since become an advocate for animal rights.

Tonkovich also said that it could be beneficial for domestic violence advocacy if the Saints signed Rice.  If he were to take serious steps toward rehabilitation, he could serve as an example to other domestic abuse perpetrators that they can change.

“We also don’t want to see abusers as, ‘this is how they’re always going to be’,” Tonkovich said.  “There needs to be some pathway to rehabilitation.  Because abusers will always be a part of our society, whether they are football players or not.”

Williams emphasized, however, that Louisianans would quickly turn on Rice if he were to abuse his wife – or anyone else –again.

Williams pointed to other athletes who have only been in hot water once, such as Tennessee Titans quarterback and former LSU player Zach Mettenberger, who plead guilty to two sexual battery charges in 2010 (the charges stemmed from the same incident).  Mettenberger has never been accused of any kind of sexual assault since then.  Because he is not a repeat offender, Williams said, most people have either forgotten about the charges or do not hold them against him.

Rice cannot make the same mistake twice, Williams stressed.  “There is a limit to how much people believe in your redemption.

“You only get one mulligan.”

 

Business Impact of LSU Football

By Lauren Lenox

Schools all across the country are relying on other outlets to subsidize athletic departments. Louisiana State University is one of the seven schools that does not receive subsidies from other sources.

According to USA Today Sports, out of the 228 NCAA Division I schools, there are only seven schools who do not receive subsidies from anywhere else to remain afloat.

In addition to, LSU Athletics is one of the 23 athletic departments that is self-sustaining which relies solely on self-generated funds. However, LSU’s Athletic Department does not receive any additional funds or tax dollars from the state nor from the academic side of the school.

Furthermore, the LSU Athletic Department does not receive money from student funds like most schools. Instead, the athletic department provides over $7 million annually to the university academically to assist with educational needs.

In 2013, LSU Football brought in roughly $37.5 million directly through ticket sales, guarantees and parking to the athletic department. The remaining assets came from tradition funds, SEC Network, and smaller areas such as concessions and radio.

Ticket sales make a huge impact on LSU Athletics. For the last 10 years, season tickets have been sold out helping to generate the $32 million the athletic department receives.

According to LSU Athletics Business Coordinator, Matthew LaBorde, the LSU football team is a huge asset to not only the athletic department but to the university. The benefits of football help to create a great branding opportunity to promote athletics which in turn helps to create more attention towards the university.

“LSU is a brand in itself. Everyone who sees those three letters knows who we are. It puts us on a higher platform above others,” said LaBorde.

During the past decade, LSU Football’s success has brought a lot of attention to the school. With the media exposure, it has helped to shape a new brand for the university.

LSU Athletics Marketing Director, Daniel Nunes, shared how LSU Football does not need to be branded because it is a brand in itself.

“It’s (LSU Football) the porch to LSU Athletics just like LSU Athletics is the porch to LSU. It’s (LSU Football) the largest national brand,” said Nunes.

Many reasons one can attribute to the LSU football team is the increases in LSU’s student enrollment each year as well as higher graduation rates.

LSU students appreciate when the Tigers play at home. It is a chance for people to come together and to create an atmosphere like no other.

The students have been known to devote more time to the football team if the team has a successful season.

Even more importantly, LSUSports.net shared how LSU Football helps out with local businesses economically in and around the Baton Rouge area. This football program attracts people from all of the country bringing business to the local businesses surrounding campus.

LSU Football has been attributed providing about 4,000 jobs in the Baton Rouge Metro area.

Dr. Loren Scott, from Loren C. Scott and Associates, Inc., helped to breakdown the economic impact that LSU football has made on the state of Louisiana and the Baton Rouge Metro Area.

“There is a diverted spending issue associated with LSU football between state impacts and the Baton Rouge Metro,” said Scott.

In 2012, there were more than 1.5 million people in attendance at LSU Athletic events. This concludes that on a typical night in Tiger Stadium there were more people than there are living in 49 of the 64 parishes in the state.

In 2013, the average LSU out-of state fan spent about $237 in the state of Louisiana and of that amount, $169 was spent in the Baton Rouge Metro.

During the 2013 season, in-state LSU fans from outside of the Baton Rouge area spent about $62.8 million and of that $47.7 million was spent in the Baton Rouge Metro.

LSU Athletic Director, Joe Alleva, explained how LSU Athletics has made an economic impact on Louisiana and the city of Baton Rouge.

“We are partners with the community. LSU Athletics has a huge financial impact on the Baton Rouge community,” said Alleva.

In 2012, civic groups who helped on game days received about $815,000 as support for their establishments.

Disadvantages also come into play when talking about LSU Football. One of the main disadvantages to the athletic department is the student section.

The LSU student section is a huge factor because they will be future donors someday. They show a poor reflection of becoming a future donor by leaving games early and not wanting to preserve traditions. The athletic department depends on these future alumni to help provide funds for future athletic facilities and other major expenses.

The disadvantage that LSU football has on the community is that game days are huge events which cause changes to day-to-day routines.

For example, after big games the Event Management Department has to shut down roads and create a plan of contraflow to control the amount of people trying to leave the stadium.

Another disadvantage of football is the huge impact it makes on schools. For example, when LSU played at Mississippi State on a Thursday night in 2012, the school was shut down due to fans tailgating around the campus.

Also, the amount of work that goes into planning and preparing for a game is an excessive amount. LSU Athletics prepares months in advanced for the football season. There are about 2,765 people who work on a LSU Football game day.

Recently, the University of Alabama-Birmingham had to get rid of their football team due to the fact that the athletic department was struggling to keep its program operational. If LSU were to shut down its football program, the athletic department budget would decrease from $110 million to $20 million.

Hypothetically, of the remaining $20 million, only $5 million comes from ticket sales from the remaining sports. LSU’s Athletic Department could almost be viewed as an independent franchise.

With that being said, the athletic department relies heavily on the $80 million it generates from LSU football and would not be self-sustaining without the sport.

Four the win: Cajuns to make their fourth New Orleans Bowl appearance

By Lindsay Rabalais

Some things are constants for Lafayette residents.

Endless lines for Meche’s king cakes. Bumper-to-bumper traffic on Ambassador Caffery. That person who always forgets Olde Tyme Grocery only takes cash.

Louisiana-Lafayette’s annual pilgrimage to New Orleans for the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl is quickly becoming another expected aspect of life in the 337 area code.

On Dec. 20, the Ragin’ Cajuns will play Nevada for their fourth consecutive New Orleans Bowl victory.

Louisiana-Lafayette announced Dec. 3 that the Cajuns would appear in the New Orleans Bowl during halftime of the Cajuns’ basketball game against Jackson State.

The announcement came later than expected, due to Georgia Southern’s appeal for bowl eligibility. According to NCAA rules, the Eagles are not eligible to play in any bowls because they are in their last year of transition from the Football Championship Subdivision to the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Georgia Southern’s appeal was denied.  Had they been successful in attaining bowl eligibility, they almost certainly would have received one of the Sun Belt Conference’s three bowl game berths.  The Eagles were 8-0 in the Sun Belt this year, and they won the Sun Belt Conference title.

Their loss is the Cajuns’ gain.

With the conference champion out of consideration, the Cajuns were a solid and time-tested choice.

The Cajuns have made four consecutive appearances at the New Orleans Bowl, and the short distance between Lafayette and New Orleans helps bolster attendance. The bowl’s attendance record has been broken in each of the last three years; 54,728 fans attended last year’s game against Tulane.

Louisiana-Lafayette’s now-regular appearances definitely benefit the New Orleans Bowl. But how do the Cajuns feel about it?

“I think it’s a great fit,” Coach Mark Hudspeth said after the Dec. 3 announcement. “It’s been a great fit.”

Hudspeth emphasized that although Cajun fans have traveled well for the past three New Orleans Bowls, his team also deserves to play in this bowl because of its athletic ability.

“It’s got to be a reward to go to a bowl,” Hudspeth said.  “It’s a great opportunity, great bowl, great amenities and they do a great job.”

However, some Cajun fans are ready for a change of scenery.

“I’m glad they’re going to a bowl game, but it’s time for something different,” said Jacob Laborde, a Cajun fan and Louisiana-Lafayette alumnus. “Something outside of Louisiana would be nice.”

The program has had a long-overdue boost since Coach Hudspeth took the reins in 2011.

The Cajuns finished this season 8-4, a marked improvement from seasons like 2010, when the team won only 3 of their 12 games.

Louisiana-Lafayette is also on track for a $115 million expansion of its athletic facilities, providing further legitimacy to the program.

Furthermore, the Cajuns hold the distinction of being one of only six teams that have won a postseason game in each of the past three seasons. The other schools include College Football Playoff contenders Oregon and Florida State, along with Michigan State, South Carolina and Texas A&M.

As the program expands and becomes more renowned, the New Orleans Bowl could become the proverbial small pond that the Cajuns eventually outgrow.

Still, the New Orleans Bowl has not lost its appeal for some of the Cajun faithful.

Many Cajun fans are as excited for this New Orleans Bowl as they were for their first appearance in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, in 2011.

“It’s exciting to support the team,” said Cajun fan Clare Daly Thom, who attended the first New Orleans Bowl the Cajuns played in. “They work so hard. I’m happy Coach Hud believes in their potential and motivates them to perform to the best of their abilities.”

A fourth consecutive trip to the Superdome might seem banal to more well-traveled teams whose bowl experiences span the nation. However, a glance at the Cajuns’ bowl history provides some context for their unwavering support for the New Orleans Bowl.

Before the Cajuns’ first New Orleans Bowl appearance, they had not played in a bowl game in 41 years. When the Cajuns became New Orleans Bowl champs in 2011, it was their first bowl win since the 1943 season – and only the second bowl win in the school’s history.

Moreover, New Orleans – though familiar – is no less exotic than the locales of the other two contracted Sun Belt Conference bowls.

The Sun Belt has three contracted bowl game berths this season: one in the New Orleans Bowl, one in the GoDaddy Bowl (in Mobile, Ala.) and one in the inaugural Camellia Bowl (in Montgomery, Ala.)

“In my opinion, because I’m from New Orleans, I would much rather go there, because I had always dreamed of playing in the Superdome, and I was blessed to be there in the past three years,” said starting receiver James Butler in an interview with The Advocate.

“It’s a great way to end my career.”

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.

Top 10 Rankings: Football Movies

By Kyle Huber

10. North Dallas Forty

The first movie on the list is loosely based off the Dallas Cowboys of the early 1970’s and shows the life of an aging receiver, played by Nick Nolte, who is battered, addicted to pain killers, and battling issues on and off the field. The film has some comedic aspects and provides the realism of professional football in the 70’s.

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9. Any Given Sunday

This movie, which boasts a stellar cast and a long list of former and current NFL personalities, brings viewers into the modern day realms of professional football. From the aging head coach who has to deal with a demanding owner, an over the hill quarterback, and a highly touted rookie, one can see the similarities seen in the media today about the NFL. This hard- hitting movie gives the behind-the-scenes look into an empire that is a professional football team.

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8. The Blind Side

This film is the most recent on this list, and tells the story of NFL offensive lineman Michael Oher. Oher is taken in from the streets by a wealthy white family during his high school days and becomes part of the family. The Blind Side is a family friendly movie that’s message goes beyond the game of football and is a heartwarming tale of perseverance through love and care.

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7. The Longest Yard

Coming in at number 7 are both versions of The Longest Yard. In both the 1974 original and 2005 remake, former quarterback Paul Crew finds himself in jail and is tasked to form an all- inmate football team to play against the prison guards that oversee them. The 1974 film stars Burt Reynolds as Crew, and in the 2005 flim Adam Sandler handles the same role. Both films have almost identical plots, characters, and outcomes. Both casts are full of star actors and star athletes from each time period. The films have great lines, characters, and are a comedic enjoyment for any football fan.

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6. Brian’s Song

Brian’s Song is the oldest film on this list, having been released in 1971. The movie is based on the true story of Brian Piccolo, a running back for the Chicago Bears in the 1960’s. The movie tells the story of the friendship between Piccolo and Gale Sayers, and their time together while playing football for the Chicago Bears, up until Piccolo’s death. An outstanding film that will make even the toughest football fan or player shed a tear.

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5. Friday Night Lights

This movie takes place in Odessa, Texas, a small town in that is racially divided and economically dying; however, there is one night that gives the town something to live for, Friday Night. The film follows the home town high school football team, The Permian Panthers, as they battle through the 1988 season. Whether you ever played under Friday night lights yourself or not, anyone should be able to appreciate this film.

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4. The Program

The Program introduces viewers to the behind closed doors views of a college football team. The film follows the fictional ESU Timberwolves as they deal with the pressures of college football, such as alcohol and drugs, steroid use, boosters paying players, and academic cheating. Many of the issues we see today in college football are showcased in this film.  This is not a heart warming football movie, this is a hard-nosed movie that shows the ugly side of college football,  but it’s a very telling movie which more people should pay attention to.

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3. The Replacements

If this were a Top-10 of football comedy movies, The Replacements would be at the top. It tells the story of the The Washington Sentinels, a fictional professional football team, whose players have gone on strike, so they must now find replacement players to finish the season’s last four games. The film’s best attribute are the actors and witty characters who make up the replacement players, including quarterback Shane Falco played by Keanu Reeves. This movie will have you laughing through the end, so even the least of football fans can enjoy.

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2. Remember the Titans

Just missing the top spot is Disney’s Remember the Titans. This movie could very well be number 1 in many polls, due to it’s family friendly viewing and positive social impact. It is based off the true story of the 1971 T.C. Williams Titans, a racially integrated high school football team in Virginia. With new African-American head coach Herman Boone, played by Denzel Washington, the team becomes the unifying symbol for the community as the boys and the adults learn to depend on and trust each other. This is a very powerful film that is touching, uplifting, motivational and inspiring. It will make you laugh, cry, and cheer out loud. Certainly a must see!

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1. Rudy

Coming in at No.1, which should be no surprise, is Rudy. Arguably the best sports movie of all-time, Rudy has captured audiences since it’s release in 1993. The film is based on the true story of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger and his dream and journey to play football for Notre Dame. Having been told he was too small to play football or not smart enough to make it into Notre Dame, Rudy’s determination to overcome the odds makes this one of the most influential movies ever made. If you have never seen this classic, you are most likely not a sports fan, and if you are a sports fan and have never seen it, then do yourself a favor and do so immediately. The message of the film is to never give up on your dreams, no matter how big or far out of reach they may be.

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Movies that didn’t make the list, but have Louisiana ties.

 

1. Everybody’s All- American

The first movie on this list is the 1988 film, Everybody’s All-American. This movie stars Dennis Quaid and Jessica Lange. In the film Quaid plays Gavin Grey, who is an All-American football player at the University of Louisiana. A large portion of the movie is filmed on LSU’s campus and Tiger Stadium. It also includes LSU’s mascot, fight songs, and other LSU symbols within the movie. The movie has some good football action in the beginning, but tapers off throughout the movie; however, it is interesting for LSU fans to see the old uniforms and traditions of the Tigers in that period. 

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2. The Waterboy

The next Louisiana football movie is Adam Sandler’s, The Waterboy. In this slapstick comedy, Bobby Boucher, played by Sandler, goes from the team’s waterboy to the star linebacker for the South Central Louisiana State University Mud Dogs. This movie has some decent hard hitting football action, but it is meant more for comedic purposes. I do warn people from Louisiana that you must have a good sense of humor, since the movie does not make Louisianians out to be the smartest individuals, but none the less it is funny movie and worth to watch.

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3. When the Game Stands Tall

The final movie in this list is When the Game Stands Tall. This movie was just released a few months ago, and shows the journey of  the De La Salle High School Spartans in Concord, California on their record shattering 151-game winning streak. While this movie is about a California team, the movie was shot in Louisiana, and even includes former LSU Tigers as actors such as Josh Jasper, Daniel Graff, Marlon Favorite, and Skyler Green. So there are plenty of reasons to go catch this film if you are from Louisiana.

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LHSAA adds Power Rating Rule

By Lauren Lenox

Growing up in Louisiana, most people were born and raised a football fan. Each year, football fans both experienced and new look forward to fall Friday nights under the lights.

The rivalries are thrilling, especially during the Louisiana high school playoffs. Teams are finally able to play the best of the best from around the state.

Within the past few years, the Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) separated the football playoffs into two divisions: Select and Non-Select. The Select division is comprised of private and semi-private schools around the state.

Now instead of five state championships, there are a total of nine.

The downfall of the new Select system is the lack of teams in each division. In Division I, there are only eight select schools able to compete which is difficult for the playoff brackets.

At the beginning of the 2014 football season, the LHSAA established a new power rating system. The new system allows teams to earn bonus points towards their playoff rankings if a team plays an opponent from a higher classification.

Also, it allows for teams in Division II within the Select group, who are normally classified as 4A or 3A during the regular season, to play in Division I of the playoffs.

This is good news for the teams who are members of 4A or 3A classes but what about the 5A schools? The 5A schools do not receive any bonus points due to the fact that there are no opponents for them to play in a higher classification.

Why would the LHSAA create a power rating system if not all teams could take advantage of the development?

Not only did the LHSAA separate the Select schools from the regular playing field but it created an easier playoff bracket for Non-Select schools which did not stand a chance against the private schools.

The LHSAA did not think about the complications that would be caused with the new power rating system. It is unfair to the 5A schools which are part of the Catholic League, for example, because they are cheated of their actual ranking within Division I.

Head coaches and athletic directors are upset with the new addition to the Select schools playoff system and frankly, fans are too.

As a high school football fan, Select teams should be able to play Non-Select teams whether it is during regular season play or during the playoffs. Why should we segregate schools? The playing fields may be a little different but at the end of the day it is just a football game.

Also, the new power rating system should not be a factor when it comes to football because it seems arrogant. The fact that LHSAA is trying to keep the system fair has only made it become unfair to the eight Select schools in Division I.

LSU vs. Alabama Photo Gallery

“SEC Nation” Visits LSU

By Chucky Colin

The SEC Network’s “SEC Nation” show visited LSU on Saturday for the first time since launching this season. Fans joined Joe Tessitore, Tim Tebow, Marcus Spears, Paul Finebaum and Kaylee Hartung as they discussed the day’s action.

LSU fans were excited as arguably the two most notable pregame college football shows have visited the campus for consecutive games. “College GameDay” brought its show to Death Valley on Oct. 25 as the Tigers faced the then No. 3-ranked Ole Miss Rebels.

First-year LSU graduate student Gary Williams said, “The national media attention adds great excitement to highly anticipated games and it just brings more fuel to the fire.”

This was the Tigers second straight matchup against a top-three opponent.

It was a homecoming of sorts for former LSU Tiger Marcus Spears, who was an All-American and a member of the 2003 BCS national championship team.

Early morning tailgaters made their way over to the set of "SEC Nation"

Early morning tailgaters made their way over to the set of “SEC Nation”

As early morning tailgaters made their way over to the set of “SEC Nation,” Spears received many loud cheers as he openly reflected on his days of playing in Tiger Stadium and the game day atmosphere. He also helped to ignite the crowd as he led the Tiger marching band while it played the school fight song.

Fellow co-host Tim Tebow also garnered many cheers as well as boos while on set. Many fans wore Tim Tebow jerseys and received autographs from him following the show.

The former Florida quarterback said that Tiger Stadium was one of the toughest places to play. He didn’t fail to disappoint Tiger fans as he picked the Crimson Tide to defeat LSU.

LSU Tiger fan Joe Gouisha said, “Whether you love or hate Tim Tebow, he forces you to have an opinion because he is one of the more polarizing figures in all of sports.”

Another fan favorite was Hartung, who is the only female member of the cast. In addition to her normal duties, Hartung was also celebrating her birthday which was Friday.

When referring to Hartung, Tiger fan Astasia Williams said, “ She’s a fresh face and being that she’s from Baton Rouge she has LSU in her blood, which is a great thing.”

The next stop for “SEC Nation” will be Texas A&M on Nov. 15.