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Thursday Thread

The biggest thing in college football today is No. 3 Louisville at No. 12 Rutgers and they are pumped up in Piscataway. A battle between two ranked teams in the national spotlight is the norm for us down south, but they haven't had a game this important at Rutgers in since 1869, when Rutgers and Princeton battled in a new fangled game called football (in front of a raucus crowd of 100 by the way).

Call me crazy, but Rutgers could shock the world tonight. They have a fantastic defense that might do just enough to slow the Louisville attack, which has proven to be average away from Papa John's Stadium. Ray Rice might be the best running back in the country. Considering what the Cardinal defense looked like last Thursday, allowing a whopping 540 yards, look for the Scarlet Knights to at least make this one interesting.

The Advocate's Scott Rabalais takes a look at LSU's bowl picture and breaks down where the Tigers might end up. In this week's BCS breakdown, I don't foresee LSU snapping up a BCS bowl without getting a lot of help (root against Notre Dame, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, West Virginia and Oklahoma). The way I see it, the SEC bowl scenario looks like this right now:

Sugar - Champion (Florida or ArkansaS)
Orange - Auburn (11-1)
CapitalOne - Loser of SEC Championship Game (Florida or Auburn)
Cotton - LSU
Outback - Tennessee
Peach - Georgia
Music City - Kentucky
Independence - Alabama
Liberty - South Carolina

The thing that would throw everything off is if the Orange took an 11-1 West Virginia or Oklahoma team. Auburn would likely fall to the CapitalOne, Arkansas/LSU winner to the Cotton, Arkansas/LSU loser to the Peach. The bottom four teams would be battling for the other three slots.

The best pundits in college football over at CFN, picked LSU over Alabama 28-10. Roll the Tide!

Those in the Heart of Dixie don't seem to optimistic ( 1 | 2 ) about Saturday night's game. It was just a few years ago when Alabama laughed at the thought of playing in Death Valley, recalling their 15-game unbeaten streak there from 1969-1998.

Mike Shula certainly isn't catching any breaks from the fans these days. I'm very familiar with Alabama football and their fans having lived in the state for a while and I have to say this is typical of Tide fans. There's a couple things they need to understand.

Shula took over a program in complete disarray. He was hired in the summer before 2003, so that year should be completely thrown out. He won 10 games last year. Granted their likely 6-6 final record is a big dropoff, but they have a new starting QB and Kenneth Darby was hurt a lot early. The defense also had some big losses. Now look ahead one year. Wilson will be back at QB. DJ Hall and Tyrone Prothro (he of the best catch I've ever seen) at WR and Jimmie Johns at RB. That's a pretty good group. On defense, this year's team allows less than 300 yards per game and there's no reason to think next year's group won't be at least as good.

Alabama fans, relax! There's no coach out there right now that would be better than what you have. Ride it out and you shall be rewarded.

Baseball coach Paul Mainieri wasn't thrilled with punter Chris Jackson's decision to cut back instead of head out of bounds on Saturday's fake punt. I can't blame him, Jackson is LSU's starting third baseman and leadoff hitter this Spring. He had to deal with the same thing with Jeff Samardzija the past couple years at Notre Dame.

Last but not least, congrats to the LSU volleyball team for winning the SEC West championship for the second straight year. The Tigers have been ranked in the top 20 all year and are having their best season since going to the final four a couple times in the early 90s.