Better Les unsaid (cont.)
Posted: Friday July 6, 2007 12:33PM; Updated: Friday July 6, 2007 3:12PM
It was hardly the first split title in college football's poll era and it probably won't be the last. Just like with Michigan and Nebraska in 1997, or Miami and Washington six years before that, the Tigers and Trojans were both officially recognized as champions.
But apparently, one trophy was not enough for LSU fans. Instead of basking in the glory of their school's first such championship since 1958, many Tigers zealots immediately began assailing media outlets like this one, furious that USC was stealing their thunder. Theirs -- as any LSU fan will tell you in excruciating detail -- was the only trophy worthy of official recognition because it was earned through the agreed upon BCS structure.
Such indignation only grew deeper over the two seasons that followed, with Tigers fans fuming at the mere suggestion the Trojans were going for a "repeat" in 2004 or a "three-peat" in '05, culminating with a set of LSU fans actually erecting a billboard near the USC campus to set the record straight.
But like a bad Roadrunner cartoon, the Trojans keep finding ways to stick it to their wanna-be tormentors, most recently stealing coveted running back recruit Joe McKnight out of the Tigers' own New Orleans backyard (and allegedly doing so with some illicit help from former USC-turned-Saints star Reggie Bush).
Which brings us to the present. The preseason mags have hit the newsstands, and the Trojans -- for the third time in four years -- appear to be a lock for No. 1. While there appears to be no consensus on No. 2, the most common choice -- including this writer's -- seems to be the Tigers. It makes sense. No two programs have recruited more pure talent over the past five years (at least according to the recruiting rankings) than USC and LSU. Both went 11-2 and won BCS games last year. Both have playmakers up the wazoo on offense. Both return most of the starters from their already dominant defenses.
Can you smell the possibilities?
LSU fans would presumably kill for a chance to exact revenge on a program that's caused them so much frustration the past four years. USC fans have never seemed particularly moved by the Bayou Bengals' badgering, but they certainly wouldn't mind the opportunity to shut them up once and for all. In fact, the first topic on WeAreSC.com's message board Thursday was devoted to why the Trojans' program is "better" than the Tigers'.
Now, LSU's coach has gone so far as to insert himself into a war of words previously waged solely in cyberspace (or on billboards). That's sure to work followers on both sides into a lather.
But it still doesn't explain why he's mocking USC's schedule.