It's a simple question, and I imagine we will have similar answers, but I want your feedback on this. Who, outside of LSU, do you want to see do well this season? I have a few answers, and varying reasons behind them.
Stanford: Whether it's beating mighty USC with a squad that most said would have trouble competing in the FCS, or grousing about Rich Rodriguez at Michigan before it was cool, you have to like Jim Harbaugh. You also have to like a school with a belligerent tree as a mascot. You also have to like a football program that is made of unabashedly smart people. You also have to wonder if any of them have any sanity. I have Harbaugh on my short list of head coaching candidates should LSU find themselves in need of one, which we certainly eventually will. We just hope that Les Miles does well and that we won't need it for a while. Stanford starts their season with a winnable game against Washington State, one that should end a little before ours begins, and occurs right up the road from our season-opener.
Michigan: Uh, there's one other way that we could end up needing a new head coach soon. I think we can official declare Rich Rodriguez to be "beleaguered" at this point. The Times-Picayune has a story where they asked a bunch of LSU players to compare their own regimen to that reported in Ann Arbor. While they acknowledge that you can't win if you only work at football 20 hours per week, there is no equivalent at LSU to what is reportedly happening at Michigan. It was a rough season last year as the Wolverines went 3-9, a historically bad campaign, and if Michigan has another rough season like that, the embarrassment associated with this episode would be one more thing to pile onto Rich Rodriguez and I think would lead to Michigan pulling the plug. If Michigan pulls the plug and LSU has a good year (say, 9+ wins), the first call is to Les Miles' agent. I would think Miles would make that jump, and I wouldn't blame him. However, Rich Rodriguez can forestall that by winning. If he wins 7 games, I think he's safe. Season starts with Western Michigan, but then they get Notre Dame in week 2. If you like Les Miles and want him to stay, root for Michigan against Notre Dame. A win there would silence the critics for a while.
A few more after the jump.
Nebraska: It's Bo Pelini's new-ish stomping grounds, and I'd really like to see him succeed. Last year's 9-4 record was a step in the right direction, and even under the best of circumstances it may be a year or so before they're really able to compete with the guys in the Big 12 South, but I think they could be the best team in the North division this year. Nebraska may be the Big 12 what Bama was to the SEC a few years ago, a sleeping giant that the right coach can awaken into a national power in a hurry. Is Pelini that right coach?
Louisiana Tech: And no, not just because they play Auburn in the first game. Derek Dooley is also on my short list of future head coaching candidates, and I want to see a second Louisiana school emerge that will take the talent that is just under LSU's level. I would rather see guys go to La Tech than to Texas A&M or Ole Miss where they can really come back to haunt us. Yes, I know we play La Tech this year, and I won't be rooting for them then. La Tech has some good players this year, including one or two that LSU wrongly decided they did not want. How much could we use a guy like Phillip Livas?
For some of the same reasons, I also hope that ULM does well.
Buffalo: Under the direction of Turner Gill (another short list guy), this program has gone from one of the worst in the country to the MAC championship last year. They did it with a crazy offense that had a 1,400 yard receiver and a 1,300 yard rusher. They'll be replacing their quarterback, unfortunately. I doubt I'll take in any Buffalo games on TV, but I'll be keeping up with the scores.
Anyway, that's my list. What's yours?