From the GREAT STATE OF ALABAMA ...
Things made obvious by sports talk radio in Birmingham this week:
[Dan Borne voice] It's Cheers and Jeers on THURSDAY MORNING AT ANDTHEVALLEYSHOOK.COM!
By the Numbers:
People saying LSU needs to score 30 points to beat Auburn, but its offense isn't good enough to do so: 27,936,184
Points scored by LSU against the Auburn defense last year: 31
Yards Jarrett Lee drove the Tigers on a game-winning drive at Auburn in 2008: 54
Consecutive years LSU has been ranked between 5-10 heading into the Auburn game: 8
Reasons not to hate Auburn: 2
Reasons to love LSU more: 4
Average number of losing seasons for Auburn's last four coaches before "resigning:" 1.75
Times Les Miles has been called a space alien and/or sorcerer in the last two weeks by a national syndicated radio personality: 1 (that we know of)
Les Miles Quote of the Week:
Q: Do you have to be more aggressive offensively if you fall behind to Auburn?
Miles: We are going to recognize that we may need to score some points in this game, but that’s what we try to do in every game, and we are going to work in the same way that we have, aggressively as needed certainly. Any time you play a real quality opponent, the match is the key. If our defense can play well as it has played, our offense now has to match their defense, and that will be a nice matchup as well. I think we’ll do well on special teams, and how it plays out will be for us all to see.
CHEERS to Frank Wilson. Whether it was the LSU running back coach's call or not, he's getting the cheers. After dazzling in the spring Michael Ford finally got a decent amount of carries against McNeese State and earned the right for more with his 86 yards on 10 totes. Stevan Ridley has been fantastic and an absolute workhorse, but adding another playmaker in the offense can only help. I'm not sure what the reluctance to play Ford early on was, he is the perfect complement to Ridley's running style.
JEERS to "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." Miles says that LSU will stick with the same quarterback rotation this week that has delivered LSU three straight wins. Perhaps there is some inherent good in Jarrett Lee coming off the bench that I can't see without my x-ray glasses. And I do believe Jordan Jefferson has something to offer the offense as a change of pace and/or wildcat quarterback (since we refuse to use Russell Shepard in that capacity). But, at some point, it has to be recognized that for Lee needs to be getting a majority of the snaps. We've ridden this horse for a while, but I fear it's only a matter of time before forcing Jefferson into the line up more will cost the Tigers a game. Hopefully not Saturday.
CHEERS to ESPN highlight-putter-together-guys for using the new Jimmy Eat World song.
JEERS to ignorance. I'm sick of hearing about "style points" and the "eye test" right now from CFB pundits. If you're hating on the computer polls because they can't watch the games, then you need to give analysis as though you have actually, in fact, watched the games and processed them. You can say LSU's offense has a passing problem, and the stats (you know, numbers that computers love) will back you up over the course of the season thus far. However, if you do, you also need to note that in three games since Jarrett Lee started seeing regular playing time, the LSU QB position is completing 62 percent of its passes and averaging 180 yards/game. FYI, national champion/pundit man crush Greg McElroy stats in 2009, 61 percent completion percentage and 179 yards per game.
CHEERS to Dennis Dodd at CBS Sports for his blog post regarding the current NFL topic du jour. The amount of times I ever think Dodd writes anything worth reading generally resides in the Lloyd Christmas having a shot at Mary Swanson range. However, on this, I couldn't have said it better.
JEERS to those talking about a shift in power in the SEC. With all the mediocrity in the eastern half of the great league, many are now saying how the SEC East has finally ceded its power to the West. Really? Western Division power LSU has more wins than anyone in the SEC since 2001. In the BCS era (since 1998), the divisions have each won six league titles. They've each won three national titles. Ummm, seems more like you should be apologizing to the West for belittling it for a decade.
CHEERS to having a rival? Okay, LSU will never have a true rival, but Auburn has become the closest thing. Sure, people have tried to make Arkansas a rival with the end of the year game and the gawd-awful Golden Boot. They've tried to rekindle the LSU-Ole Miss rivalry of the late 50s, 60s and early 70s with the Magnolia Bowl. However they forgot that Ole Miss sucks now and it cares more now about beating Mississippi State (which the Rebels also can't do). However, the battle of Tigers has been a consistently compelling annual SEC contest for more than 20 years. No match up has provided more thrills or memorable games in the SEC and, in most years, the game has a direct implication on the Road to Atlanta.
JEERS to Nickelback. This should be self explanatory.
CHEERS to TV Land the channel. There's nothing quite like a few late-night reruns of Three's Company. John Ritter and Don Knotts are pure comic genius.
Gameday in LSU history:
Oct. 23, 1999: Words you almost never hear: LSU lost to Mississippi State. In fact only once since 1992. PersonallyI still don't count it because Rod Gibson didn't actually cross the goal line on 4th-and-Goal in the final minute of the 17-16 win. Replays were available to everyone but the officials, as it was before replay was instituted. Nope, not bitter even a little bit.