FanPost

August is Finally Here

Every year, once the Final Four ends, it seems like it's going to be an eternity until August, the point when I finally allow myself to begin getting pumped about football. It's hard to wait that long, especially living in Alabama, where all I've heard about for the the past six months is Julio and Javier. However, thanks to my beloved Pittsburgh Penguins (Stanley Cup Champs!!!!) and the LSU baseball team (NATIONAL CHAMPS!!!), I had something to pass the time. 

But now, it's finally that August. So, what have I been missing?

Let's start with the best in the business, CFN:

Key player to a successful season: Sophomore QB Jordan Jefferson. LSU is good enough to win the West even if the quarterback play is as shaky as it was last year. But is Jefferson is good, the Tigers could be a real, live threat to win the SEC title, and if he's great, the national title isn't out of the realm of possibility.

Granted, it was just the Spring Game, and it was only 10 passes, but Jefferson completed eight for 97 yards and a score. It surely won't hurt that he'll be throwing to the top-receiver in the 2010 NFL draft class while having a top-10 pick protect his blind side. Oh yeah, there's also burner Terrance Toliver as well as the No. 1 receiver in the country coming in to help out. For the most part, as long as Jefferson throws to the guys with the gold helmets, LSU will be fine. The Tigers would have gone 9-3 last year if Jarrett Lee could have done that. Regardless, I'd rather be in this situation than Alabama's, breaking in a quarterback who threw all of 13 passes last year while also losing your all-SEC center and tackle.

Dennis Dodd decided to rank the Programs of the Decade:

1. USC ...

2. Oklahoma ...

3. Texas ...

4. Florida ...

5. LSU - Nick Saban closed the borders. Les Miles kept them sealed. For years, Louisiana's best high school talent had trickled out to places like Texas A&M and the rest of the SEC. Saban, a dogged recruiter, kept his prospects at home and won a national championship in his fourth season.

After Saban left for the Miami Dolphins (and eventually Alabama), Miles stepped in and won a title in his third season. In this decade the Tigers have been known for their attacking defense.

We are left with one of the most amazing stats of the decade: LSU had four players drafted in the first round of the 2007 draft, then won that year's national championship!

6. Ohio State ...

7. Miami ...

8. Georgia  ...

9. Virginia Tech ...

10. Utah ...

Normally, you won't find me reading Dodd, much less linking to him. He's an ass, and you can usually find at least one factual error in each of his stories. However, this is purely subjective and mostly just fodder for debate, so we'll go to it. Dodd, always buys into the hype machine, which is why you find USC at No. 1. For all its success, USC has just one BCS National Championship, and has, in fact only played for one. Yes, they're a premier program, but the lack of ability for anyone to challenge them in the Pac 10 has been a big a reason as any they have stayed so good so long. I'm not sure exactly how Ohio State is so low, having won a national title and played for two others. Miami is riding their 2000-03 run, but hasn't done anything lately. I would have definitely included Boise State in for either Utah or "The U."

My biggest beef is LSU behind Florida. It's more of a what-have-you-done-lately ranking. Both have two national championships this decade. Both have three SEC championships. However, LSU has one more divisional title, more wins and a higher winning percentage. The Tigers also own two more BCS wins. The only metric where the Gators have been better is head-to-head, with a razor thin 5-4 record. Maybe after this year Florida will have had a better decade, but not so far.

Over at ESPN, they have decided that every national championship season has a defining moment. For LSU's 2003 title, it was Skyler Green's touchdown catch against Georgia that gave the Tigers a dramatic 17-10 win in one of the greatest games every played at Tiger Stadium. In 2008, Forde claimed it was the last-second touchdown by Demetrius Byrd against Auburn.

 

Miles ignored conventional wisdom in the final seconds of a thrilling home game against Auburn. With the Tigers trailing Auburn 24-23 in the final seconds, they were in position to kick a winning field goal. But Miles let quarterback Matt Flynn take one more shot into the end zone. With only a second to spare, Demetrius Byrd caught Flynn's pass into the back of the end zone for a 22-yard touchdown. LSU's 30-24 victory propelled it to an SEC championship and BCS national title.

 

Here, I disagree. Even if Byrd doesn't make the catch, there are still likely two or three seconds left for a game-winning field goal (watch the video, he caught the ball with four seconds left, rolled over, stood up, saluted the students, dropped the ball and then the clock stopped). My vote is for the Florida game earlier that year, the game I consider to be the greatest every played in Death Valley. Trailing 24-21 with just under two minutes left and facing 4th-and-1 from it's own seven-yard line, Les Miles decided to go for it. Jacob Hester bulled his way up the middle for two yards and a first down. Three plays later, Hester etched his name among LSU's immortals by punching home the go-ahead touchdown.

And last but not least, it turns out LSU's stud left tackle is also great off the field.

 

Mikey, meanwhile, should get plenty of chances to watch Black play this season. Earlier this month, he visited St. Jude and his doctor declared his disease remains in remission. "I'm not done yet," Mikey boasted to his mother's delight. This fall, Mikey, who just turned 10, will enter third grade. Black, meanwhile, will continue to refine his game. If Black helps bring LSU another national title, he'd happily dedicate it to the boy who inspires him every day. "I love him," Black says. "I'll be friends with him until the day I die."

 

You should really read the whoe story. It reveals Black as a man of great character, something that will hopefully rub off on the rest of his teammates.

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