Sports Information Director Michael Bonnette

By Jessica Busada

When news breaks involving LSU football, Michael Bonnette is the contact media outlets need. The news will not be official without the confirmation from the school’s Sports Information Director.

At times this news is negative and other times positive, but either way Bonnette is first to know what is happening.

Michael Bonnette is in his 15th year as LSU’s Sports Information Director. He is currently in his second year as Senior Associate Athletic Director.

Including his time as an Associate Sports Information Director, Bonnette is in his 21st year with the LSU athletic department.

LSUsports.net states that his 2012 LSU Football media guide was named “Best in the Nation” by CoSIDA. This is one of the several awards he has received from the organization and in the Louisiana Sports Writers Association annual writing contests.

Bonnette is also an LSU graduate in the class of 1993. He formerly served as the president of SIDs for the Southeastern Conference and is currently the vice president for SIDs for the Louisiana Sports Writers Association.

Outside of work, Bonnette is husband to Robin Arnaud Bonnette and father to three sons, Peyton, Grant and Max. Family is a major part of his life.

The most difficult part of his job is, “maintaining good balance between the demands of work with that of being a good parent and husband,” Bonnette explained.

“During football season, this is a seven days a week job and it’s easy to get caught up with your work life and forget about what’s going on at home.

“Being a good parent and husband is very important to me and in order to do both, you have to have a great staff, which I’m fortunate to have,” Bonnette said.

Bonnette is a Lake Charles native who was introduced to the media relations profession at a young age. The profession has found a place in several members of the Bonnette family’s lives.

Retired McNeese State Sports Information Director Louis Bonnette is Michael’s father. Louis is also a member for the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Hall of Fame.

The field at Cowboy Stadium in Lake Charles was named Louis Bonnette Field after Michael’s father.

Michael’s brother Matthew Bonnette followed their father in the position of Sports Information Director at McNeese State in 2012.

It is easy to see that working in sports media relations is a profession the entire Bonnette family has grown to love.

Michael Bonnette serves as the chief contact for LSU’s nationally ranked football team as well as overseeing all publicity activities for the 21 sports sponsored by the LSU athletic department.

Bonnette explained his position as, “I serve as the media liaison between Coach (Les) Miles, our players and the media. LSU’s image and brand is one of the biggest in college football, so everything we do has to keep that in mind.”

“We prepare the coaches and athletes on what to say and try to give them pointers on what not to say. We basically help manage image and the brand of LSU football,” he said.

The most rewarding part of his position is, “the relationships that you make with players, coaches, media and fans. It is fun when LSU wins because it makes so many people happy and it’s exciting to be part of that,” he said.

Being the LSU Sports Information Director for 15 years has given Bonnette the chance to experience some of LSU Football’s most exciting moments.

“Winning two national titles is obviously a great memory. And being able to go to the Heisman Trophy ceremony with Coach Miles and Tyrann Mathieu was a once in a lifetime memory,” Bonnette said.

“LSU football gave me the opportunity to go the White House twice, the NFL Draft six or seven times and travel the country,” he said.

“I am very fortunate to have been to some of the places that I have gone and it is all because of LSU football and the success that we’ve had here. I am very lucky.”

Bonnette has worked with multiple student workers and full time workers and they will basically all tell you how wonderful he is at his job and to have as a boss.

He has worked to take what could be an overwhelming and stressful job and turned it into an enjoyable one.

“Michael has made a strong impact on me since the day I started working in his department. I have always said he has one of the toughest jobs in the country as the media contact for LSU football and it has been incredible getting to see it first hand,” third-year student worker Brandon Berrio said.

“Going to work every day does not feel like a job because of our office dynamic. He has created a fun environment but still expects the best out of everyone in our office. That balance is something I will take away once I graduate,” Berrio said.

“Michael is the best boss I have ever had because he did not micromanage people and he cared about you as a person,” said former Associate Sports Information Director Bill Martin, now SID at Mississippi State. “Working with a program like LSU that is on the national media spotlight every day of the year is a tremendous challenge but fun at the same time.

“And he made the job fun because none of us took ourselves too seriously, especially when you are around each other more than you are around family and work seven days a week in season.

“Les Miles has spent 10 seasons at LSU and Michael has crafted a likeable image of Les where the national media gravitate to him,” Martin said.

Working with the media is extremely important and the smallest mistake can cause major problems for an entire athletic department and possibly the university as a whole. Bonnette has been very successful as the LSU Sports Information Director, and LSU athletics is lucky to have him.

Photo by Chris Parent Michael Bonnette and Les Miles with the media

Photo by Chris Parent
Michael Bonnette and Les Miles with the media

Coach Les Miles, Odell Beckham Jr and Michael Bonnette at the 2014 NFL Draft

Coach Les Miles, Odell Beckham Jr and Michael Bonnette at the 2014 NFL Draft

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 split playoffs diminishes competition, worth

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By Annie Ourso

A New York Times article on Nov. 19 featured the East Iberville football team out of St. Gabriel, Louisiana.

The squad of less than 20 had not won a single game for the second consecutive season, yet the Tigers were headed to the Class 1A playoffs.

All teams should share in the excitement of making playoffs, though, right? Everyone deserves a shot at the championship, don’t they?

East Iberville, 0-11, traveled five hours to lose 48-0. Four players decided to not even make the trip.

You tell me what’s exciting or deserving about that.

But East Iberville is not to blame. The Louisiana High School Athletic Association is.

The Times writer called it an “unintended consequence” of the LHSAA’s 2013 decision to split football playoffs based on public and private, or non-select and select, high schools.

Unintended may be the wrong word.

Supporters of this new system had to know a situation like East Iberville’s would happen. The public-private split diminishes competition and the significance of making playoffs and winning championships. It fosters the everyone-deserves-a-trophy mentality.

The LHSAA has raised the number of championships from five to nine and the number of playoff games from 155 to 217. In the postseason, public schools play in their Class 5A-1A divisions, while private schools compete in new Divisions I-IV.

The split, however, is not totally unreasonable. After all, LHSAA member-school principals voted 152-67 to keep the split in February. Some explanation must be behind this.

And there is: Public schools have grown tired of an uneven playing field.

Private schools are able to draw in students from outside the traditional attendance zones that limit public schools’ enrollments. Certain private schools are also accused of recruiting to garner the best athletes.

These practices have led to football powerhouses like John Curtis of River Ridge, which has won 25 state titles.

So the public school argument is understandable. The proposed solution, however, is not.

Splitting playoffs for public and private schools not only waters down the competition; it makes winning less meaningful.

The new system gives more teams a chance to win, but it’s unrealistic. In the real world, you cannot simply change the rules and reduce the competition to achieve success.

The playoff split could also be for economic gain – more games equal more money. But for the sake of the students and all that is good, I hope money is not the secret motive behind the LHSAA’s decision.

In the end, the bad outweighs the good in the split playoffs system. Now, you may ask, how else can we remedy the high school football woes?

Start at the root of the problem: recruiting. The LHSAA prohibits recruiting, of course, but it could do a better job at monitoring it.

Dutchtown High coach Benny Saia offered a viable alternative to the split playoffs system, according to The Advocate on June 20, 2013.

To solve recruiting issues, Saia suggested the LHSAA consider a system in which each school has its membership renewed every two years based on a vote of other member schools.

“There’s no question that something needed to be done,” Saia said. “There are (private) schools from Baton Rouge who come into Ascension Parish for players. And there are public schools who do some of the same things. But that’s not every school out there. My problem with this system is that you’re punishing some people who don’t deserve it.”

LSU Sports Shop Has A New Look

LSU Sports Shop

By: Serena Crawford

 

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Sports fans across the country show their support not only by attending gaming event, but also by wearing their team’s colors from jerseys to miscellaneous items. These items can be bought online and at on site stores, throughout the entire year. On April 16, 2009, LSU made fan sportswear shopping convenient for fans by opening an onsite store on campus across from the stadium. However, LSU did not stop there. They opened sports shops inside the stadium as well as 18 shopping stands throughout the entire stadium. This is a brilliant idea that allows the sports shops to have a constant revenue even while fans are watching the game.

Surprisingly, some of the heaviest traffic which occurs during football season actually does occur during the game. LSU Sports Shop property manager Tyler Paulus, who has been managing the property for nearly 2 years, says their busiest days are during football season on Friday-Sunday.

“On Saturday’s the locations inside the stadium experience a lot of traffic based off of the weather, weather plays a big factor in our sales” said Paulus.

Being that Baton Rouge weather is constantly changing regardless the time of season, people may not have come prepared for the rain or cold and need some type of outerwear, Although weather is a big factor in sales it isn’t the only factor.

“A lot of our sales are also based on whether or not LSU is playing a big time opponent, resulting in a bigger crowd” said Paulus.

Sales are broken down by category between men, women, children, and then categorized underneath demographics by tees, jerseys, house ware, and etc.

“Men’s sales ranging roughly to about 30%, women 15%, youth 15%, and novelties 15%” said Paulus.

Also since Paulus has become property manager, the store has become privately owned by an e-commerce company by the name of Fanatics. This company owns stores like the LSU Sports Shop all across the nation for college and professional sports. They sell products for over 576 colleges and that number is continuously growing.

Lead salesman Laila Argrave, who has been working at LSU Sports shop for over 2 and a half years, has seen the outstanding growth of the sports shop since Fanatics became its owner.

“This store is definitely the best it’s ever been since renovations, also we are always coming up with new products to keep the fans happy” said Argrave.

Some of those new products are LSU memorabilia.

“We just started selling worn jerseys which are jerseys that have been played in on the field that are given to us by the athletic department, and they receive a share from the profit” said Paulus.

He assured that these jerseys are cleaned extensively before they are sold. However, some people confuse these jerseys for a different type of apparel.

“We actually get a lot of women who come in and ask to buy the jersey think their jersey dresses, then we have to explain to them that they actually have a jock strap attached” laughing hysterically said Argrave.

However, there are other memorabilia’s from the notably honorable Shaq, such as signed jerseys. Also previously worn helmets signed by former players and Les Miles himself.

LSU Sports shop are constantly finding ways to grow.

“Our newest item are customized jerseys, fans can come in the shop buy a jersey and get customized with their name and number” said Paulus.

Both Paulus and Argrave believe that the sky is the limit for the Sports Shop and that the business will only grow from here on out.

Four Tigers Receive All-SEC Honors

By Joe Trinacria

While Les Miles and his No. 23 LSU Tigers have been hard at work preparing for their Dec. 30 Music City Bowl matchup against Notre Dame in Nashville, Tennessee, several members of the team have been selected for All-SEC honors by the Associated Press.

Senior left tackle La’el Collins was named to the All-SEC first team, while both junior linebacker Kwon Alexander and senior safety Ronald Martin Jr. made All-SEC second team.

Rounding out the list of honorees for the Tigers was junior offensive guard Vadal Alexander, who was recognized as an honorable mention.

Collins, who was named to the coach’s second team All-SEC last season, stepped up his game in 2014 and anchored the LSU line in the trenches.

Collins was one of the Tigers’ iron men on offense, starting all 12 games and paving the way for LSU to rush for a total of 2,634 yards this year.

Alexander was one of the most feared Tigers on the defensive side of the ball, and rightly so given his excellent playmaking ability.  He led the team with 79 tackles, posting highs in both solo (32) and assisted (47) categories.  Alexander also possessed a strong nose for the ball, contributing two forced fumbles.

Martin is a graduating player that Tiger fans are surely going to miss.  He was one of three LSU players tied with two interceptions this season, none more memorable than when he picked off Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace in the closing seconds to preserve the 10-7 upset win over the Rebels.

When he wasn’t causing turnovers (he also had two forced fumbles to go with his interceptions), Martin was laying punishing hits that made opposing receivers think twice about going over the middle.

The loss of Collins on the offensive line will be tough for LSU, however Alexander is ready to follow in his footsteps and take over as leader.

Alexander has the experience as a veteran player, and already was a key cog on the Tiger line this past season.  The one game that Alexander missed for LSU was against Arkansas, which also happened to be the worst rushing performance the Tigers had all season.

The College Football Playoff Bracket is Set

By Lauren Goodman

It is the inaugural season of the College Football Playoffs and the committee has set the final four bracket.

The new format did little to lessen the drama.

In the end, the Ohio State Buckeyes took the fourth seed and are set to take on the No. 1 seed, the Alabama Crimson Tide, in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. The Rose Bowl will host No. 2 Oregon and No. 3 Florida State. Both games will be held on New Year’s Day.

The twelve person selection committee, chaired by Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long, ultimately chose to drop the TCU Horned Frogs from the top four, after they finished the season 11-1 and co-champions of the Big 12.

The conference’s lack of a championship game could be blamed for both TCU and Baylor being left out of the top four. Ohio State’s huge 59-0 win over No. 13 Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game was enough to convince the committee that the Buckeyes deserved a chance to compete for a national championship.

The new playoff format consists of the four teams chosen by the committee playing in the two semifinal games.

The winners will compete for the national championship. This year, that game will take place Jan.12 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Conference ties to bowl games will be honored for the semifinal games, meaning each year, if ranked in the top four, teams will be matched to their bowl games accordingly.  Conference champions will be placed in the other New Year’s bowls, the Orange, Fiesta, Cotton, and Peach.

This year, No. 5 Baylor takes on No. 8 Michigan State in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl. No. 6 TCU will play No. 9 Ole Miss in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.  No. 7 Mississippi State is set to take on No. 12 Georgia Tech in the Capital One Orange Bowl.  The VIZIO Fiesta Bowl will host No. 20 Boise State and No. 10 Arizona.

Alabama, which has been ranked No. 1 since week 13 of the season, finished the regular season 12-1 while facing a tough SEC schedule.

After winning at No. 1-ranked Mississippi State, Alabama began to show why it deserved to compete for a championship. Quarterback Blake Sims’ twenty-six touchdowns, Amari Cooper’s over 1,600 receiving yards, and T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry’s 343 combined carries put the Crimson Tide in the top position.

Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes will face their toughest opponent of the season in Alabama in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

With young players at several positions, including quarterback, Meyer has been able to put together a surprising season.  Their improvement over the season and proving their ability to win despite the hardships their program has seen over the season catapulted them to the top four.

Reigning national champion Florida State is the only undefeated team in the top four.

The program has also had its fair share of troubles this year, but managed to beat a No. 22-ranked Clemson in overtime early in the season and a No. 5-ranked Notre Dame in the final seconds during week seven of the season.

The Seminoles might feel slighted with how they have been perceived during the season, but they have a chance to prove everyone wrong by beating the high-powered offense of Oregon in the Rose Bowl.

The Ducks, led by quarterback Marcus Mariota, a favorite to win the Heisman Trophy, finished the regular season 12-1. Their only loss was to Arizona, who they handily beat 51-13 in their rematch at the Pac-12 Championship Game on Friday night.

Mariota threw for over 3,700 yards and had 14 rushing touchdowns over the season. The Seminoles will have their work cut out for them if they want to make it to the championship game in Arlington.

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