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LSU Takeover of SEC Network

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Poseur tries to play programming director

NCAA Football: Texas A&M at Louisiana State
I could watch this all day
Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

On July 21, LSU gets its turn to take over the SEC Network schedule. In order to help you set your DVR, ESPN has already helpfully told us the schedule.

In typical LSU fan fashion, Tiger partisans immediately took to twitter to complain, most notably about the lack of original programming. LSU will be the only school not to air any original produced programming.

You know what? Good. We’re too busy showing all of the great games. There’s no room for a half hour fluff piece on how cool Les Miles is. I’d rather watch more games because, man, I love old games. And LSU even did a pretty decent job of showing the love to all sports. The final breakdown:

5 Football
2 Basketball
2 Baseball
3 Women’s sports

I’m a little irritated by the sequences, all of those women’s games are dumped in the early morning hours and will be over by 9 AM. But I do like that LSU is trying to show off more than the football team. So let’s look at the scheduling decisions, game by game.

12AM Football: Oregon v LSU (Sept 3, 2011)

Why Selected: 2011 was a joyride right up until the clock struck midnight. Hard to complain about this one. This is one of the most legendary and beloved games of the Les Miles era.

The Game: Sure, 2011 ended badly, but this game was so satisfying, right down to the linemen slapping the field and begging Oregon’s offense to hurry up and call and play. Also, you can go to bed right when the fourth quarter starts and Oregon begins its doomed comeback attempt to make the score look closer.

Alternates: About the only other game from 2011 you could go with is the Alabama game, but that was on CBS and ESPN likely doesn’t have the rights to it. The only other possible option is the 2007 Florida game, just so we could watch Jacob Hester score on fourth down again.

Verdict: Slam dunk great selection.

2 AM Women’s BB: Tennessee v LSU (Feb 10, 2005)

Why Selected: Sylvia Fowles and Seimone Augustus, two of the best women hoops players on earth, on the same team. And we beat Tennessee. You may have heard their coach was pretty good.

The Game: LSU came into the game ranked #1 in the country and played before a record home crowd to beat #5 Tennessee. Augustus was typically amazing, Fowles grabbed 17 rebounds, and LSU overcame a small halftime deficit to win the game by double digits. Not quite the high water mark of the Pokey Era, but close to it.

Alternates: LSU beat Duke that year in the tournament to make the Final Four. I do like limiting it to a Fowles/Augustus team, which is a narrow two-year window, but I think the 2006 win over Tennessee was a better game. It was on the road, so you lose that biggest home crowd thing, but you do get a 72-69 thriller which ended on a blocked shot.

Verdict: I would have taken the 2006 Tennessee game, but I get the desire to have a home game to show off the fan support.

3:30 AM Men’s BB: LSU v LMU (Feb 3, 1990)

Why Selected: One of the single most enjoyable games to watch, and it is neatly packaged already as an SEC Rewind, with interviews and look backs.

The Game: Hank Gathers’ LMU team took high-paced to the next level, and Dale Brown decided to match their pace. The decision was, frankly, sort of insane, but it sure was fun to watch. You also get to see Shaq back when he could still run, and Chris Jackson throwing bombs from all over the court. LSU blew a huge lead by their refusal to slow the pace, so we even get to enjoy bonus overtime basketball. Both teams cracked 140 on the scoreboard.

Alternates: If you’re going Dale Brown era, about the only the options are the two Duke games. The problem is, LSU lost both of those games. The LMU game lives on in lore.

Verdict: The most entertaining LSU basketball game ever played. Watch it twice.

5:30 AM Softball: LSU v Oklahoma (May 20, 2015)

Why Selected: Showing some love to the softball team! Have you heard that we’re good at softball now?

The Game: They could do a better job of showing their respect by actually selecting the right game. LSU didn’t play Oklahoma on May 20, 2015, it was March 20. I mean, y’all could get the date right. LSU won a tight thriller against a stout OU squad, 1-0. Hoover throws a two-hitter, Bianka Bell hits a late inning home run… good times.

Alternates: Just a week earlier, LSU beat #1 Florida 14-10 on SECN. Again, it was a road game, but come on, watching a 14-10 softball game would be fun. But honestly, LSU just has a great run through the tournament, and we’re just going to ignore that? Either take the 3-1 8-inning classic against Tennessee to make the SEC tourney finals or Game 3 of the James Madison series. Both were road games as well, but they were also tournament games, and had much higher stakes. And if we want the marquee opponent, LSU beat Mizzou in 2012 to make the WCWS in a classic duel between Rachele Fico and Chelsea Thomas. That was sort of a big game.

Verdict: Love the spotlight going on the softball team, but this is the wrong game. The home crowd does not make up for those huge tournament wins. If you want recency, take the James Madison game, but if you want to show off the program’s high water mark, take the 2012 Fico win over Mizzou.

7:30 AM Gym: LSU v Alabama (March 4, 2016)

Why Selected: Because the gym team is the best team on campus right now. Also, beating Alabama is always fun.

The Game: LSU scores just shy of a 198.00 to blow the doors off a really good Bama team in front of a raucous home crowd. It was Senior Night, the PMAC was rocking, and Ashleigh Gnat scored a perfect 10. It was kind of awesome, even if the meet wasn’t remotely close.

Alternates: Look, the Florida meet from a week earlier was better. It was on the road, which I think disqualifies it from the takeover as we want to show off our support of gym, but the 197.900-197.875 final score says it all. That was the meet of the year. There’s also the Florida meet from 2015, in which LSU beat the #2 Gators on ESPNU, not even the SEC Network. You also get another chance to enjoy Rheagan Courville and Lloimincia Hall.

Verdict: It’s hard to complain about blowing out Bama, but I’d still go back a year to the Florida meet. While the 2015 team disappointed in the postseason, that was the better team throughout the year, and I’d love to have another chance to see those departed stars.

9 AM Men’s BB: LSU v Georgia (Jan 10, 2015)

Why Selected: You may have heard of this Ben Simmons guy. Additionally, the Texas A&M game was on CBS and not in the ESPN library.

The Game: The win over the Bulldogs made it seem like LSU was on pace to make the tournament, so this was about as good as last year got. Simmons and Quarterman each scored 22 points, and the game came down to a genuinely thrilling end.

Alternates: Are there any LSU fans who really want to re-live last basketball season? And I know I’ll get killed for mentioning a loss, but that Oklahoma game was amazing. I honestly felt better after that loss, than this win. But why not take the chance to show off the 2006 team? If you have the JP library, you get the season ending win over Ole Miss, which was heart stopping and would remind everyone of Darrell Mitchell’s shot making ability. Or the road win over West Virginia in overtime?

Verdict: Meh. I get the desire to show off Simmons, but it’s still too close to the crash to have any warm fuzzies over this. Last year was a trainwreck. Either show the 2006 team or the documentaries on Bo Rein and Warren Morris.

11 AM Football: LSU v Texas A&M (Sep 13, 1986)

Why Selected: To show off how good we were in the 1980s, how weird football was back then, and to troll Texas A&M.

The Game: LSU blew A&M’s doors off. Sammy Martin returned a kick for a touchdown, and LSU won its season opener in a walk, en route to winning the SEC title. Things were about to get real bad, so its nice to enjoy the winning. Also, you get to see Andolsek, Hodson, Brooks, Nacho, Davis, and other 80s legends.

Alternates: At least they didn’t choose the Earthquake Game, which was pretty boring until the final drive. LSU beat Notre Dame on ESPN in Tiger Stadium that year. Just sayin’. Also, the 1985 team played Bama to 14-14 tie in Tiger Stadium, allowing the curse to continue. That would just be weird to watch.

Verdict: I support 80s football and trolling Texas A&M. The Notre Dame is probably a better call, and the prior year would get you peak Michael Brooks, but… a pretty good call.

1 PM Football: LSU v Florida (Oct 11, 1997)

Why Selected: Exclusively to make me happy. This is the beginning of the Golden Age of LSU Football.

The Game: Herb Tyler emerges from the head of Zeus like Athena, foully formed, and leads LSU to a stunning upset of #1 Florida, back when LSU did not beat good, much less great, teams. Cedric Donaldson has the best game of his life, and we charge the field for the first time in school history.

Alternates: Well, there’s pretty much any Auburn game from that era, but the Bring Back the Magic Game from 1996 is a top contender. Or, if we’re choosing Florida games, why not the 2007 game (again), so we can watch Les Miles earn his reputation as a fourth down risk taker.

Verdict: If you complain about this selection, I will come to your house and cut you.

3 PM Baseball LSU v Arkansas (May 7, 2016)

Why Selected: ALL HAIL THE RALLY POSSUM!

The Game: Ummm… we were sort of getting our asses kicked in this one. It sucked. Then, the possum gets on the field, and LSU has an amazing rally to win. A legend is born. But let’s remember that we shouldn’t celebrate wins over Arkansas.

Alternates: That’s probably the defining game of this season, so I have no suggestions from this year. But I would like to promote instead the greatest game played in the Box, the Super Regional win over Irvine. That game had it all, and a truly insane atmosphere. The Box was riled up like never before. I also have lost my recording of it, and want a new one,

Verdict: It’s a solid choice, but come on… that Super Regional was amazing. I can’t complain about this selection, but I still will.

5 PM Football LSU v Auburn (Sep 19, 2015)

Why Selected: Because it is the Leonard Fournette highlight reel in game form.

The Game: Look, I know it’s fun to watch Fournette helicopter some poor fool or somehow channel the spirit of Herschel Walker as he mudholes some poor defender, but… this game kind of sucked. OK, the first half is a delight, and probably the only time I’ve spent a game just giggling, but the second half dragged on as LSU tried to run out the clock, shutting things down with a huge lead.

Alternates: The Texas A&M game, and I don’t think it’s particularly close. We went into that game emotionally drained with a fanbase divided, and it ended with the players carrying Miles off on their shoulders. I missed the Florida game because my son was busy being born, so I wouldn’t mind that one so I could see the fake field goal. Also, it was a great game, from what I’ve heard. But A&M was Fournette breaking the LSU rushing record while the team saved the job of the greatest coach in school history.

Verdict: Bite me, Alleva. If I could, I’d show the postgame press conference, too.

7 PM Football LSU v Ohio St (Jan 7, 2008)

Why Selected: Les wins the title.

The Game: Never have I been less nervous for a big game. I was pretty sure we were going to destroy the Buckeyes, and then we did. It was a blast. Actually, the game was sort of close until Ricky-Jean Francois blocked that field goal attempt, but it didn’t feel that close at the time. Still, watch our defense try to kill Todd Boeckman.

Alternates: Any game from 2007 would qualify, as every game that year was stressful and great. And a lot easier to watch, knowing the outcome.

Verdict: Duh. If they didn’t show this game, everyone should be fired.

9 PM Baseball LSU v Miami (June 8, 1996)

Why Selected: It’s the 20th anniversary of the walk off. You might have heard a little bit about it

The Game: Man, I was sure Pat Burrell hit a grand slam. Sure of it. Especially in that bandbox of a ballpark. But then the baseball gods smiled down upon us and allowed for the great comeback in the bottom of the ninth. You know the story.

Alternates: I will go to my grave insisting that the 2000 title game against Stanford was an even better game, mainly because I think Stanford was clearly the better team and we robbed them. It also ended on a walk off hit, though not a homer. The 1st game of the final series against Texas was amazing as well, though you lack the dogpile. Still, there was a two-out rally in the ninth to force extras, and two-out game-winner in the 11th. Great game that shouldn’t be forgotten.

Verdict: Is there any way to show both title games? Or all three?