Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Jump on the Bandwagon: Hate USC Now

The last month has been fun for veteran observers of the LSU football program. The team won ten games in 2006, backing up a ten-win season in 2005. Twenty wins over two years is an achievement worth noting for any college football team in America. So, why were LSU fans feeling blue in early December? It’s because they were not seeing red.
LSU did not win the Southeastern conference West Division title and consequently did not play in the conference championship game. Nonetheless, their success on the field had them ranked among the nation’s elite, and going into the first weekend in December it appeared that the team and the fans would have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel to the Rose Bowl. If Southern California could defeat a mediocre UCLA team, then the Trojans would play for the national championship and a spot would be created in the Rose Bowl. LSU was tabbed for that slot.
In the days leading up to that decisive Saturday, the Tiger Athletic Foundation sent an e-mail to its members advising that post-season travel plans were developing quickly. The message was sent in red font. Some people read a lot into that, bought plane tickets and made hotel reservations in Los Angeles. Then, USC lost. That put the Trojans into the Rose Bowl and sent LSU fans scurrying about in a frightful fret.
What does it say about the state of your football team that you can make it into the Sugar Bowl matched up against Notre Dame and you’re disappointed? For days, the tiger faithful were crestfallen. The Sugar Bowl certainly is prestigious, but in this unusual context it suddenly appeared to be just another trip to New Orleans.
Once they snapped out of their funk, many LSU fans realized a rivalry of sorts had been born. When LSU won the Bowl Championship Series national championship following the 2003 season, USC was named national champion by the Associated Press. So, to the wide world of observers, the national title appeared to be split. LSU fans began to revile USC for casting a shadow on the legitimate national title. Now, in 2006, the Trojans did them in again by losing to UCLA and yanking the Rose Bowl rug right from under their paws. Even though USC isn’t on LSU’s schedule, there’s plenty of reason to dislike them. It seems almost personal, in a way.
A rose smells lovely, but sugar is sweet and the LSU faithful have come around. Shirts emblazoned with “Beat Notre Dame” became popular Christmas gifts. Talk turned to the quality of seats in the Superdome as tickets to the game became more and more in demand. Slowly but surely, the purple and gold people among us began to realize that this little trip to New Orleans wasn’t such a bad deal, after all.
There is the little matter of those non-refundable airline tickets to Los Angeles. There are people all over the state stuck with those. If that breaks the budget, people will be seeing red, after all. Of course, we’re talking about ink instead of roses. Wasted money: another reason to hate USC.

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1 comment:

Matthew said...

Oh, what a bunch of cry babies! You could do a lot worse on New Years Eve than to have a non-refundable trip to LA.

For instance, you could be stuck in Texarkana.