BATON ROUGE, La. — Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday night prompted me to do some research.
As you’ve probably heard 6,424 times this week, both of this season’s World Series participants have had tough centuries. The Cleveland Indians haven’t won a World Series since 1948, and the Chicago Cubs have been the “lovable losers” since winning their last Fall Classic in 1908.
But these facts don’t answer the tough question: What does this mean for LSU?
Well, for subscribers to false equivalences, quite a bit. Because 1948 was a bad, bad year for LSU football. The Tigers finished the season 3-7, 1-5 in SEC play. But 1908? 1908 was a good, good year for LSU football. The Tigers went 10-0, albeit in the weaker competition of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association, and lost out on a national title to the University of Pennsylvania.
Not Penn State. We’re talking about the Quakers. Of the Ivy League. Anyway.
On a more micro level, LSU fans should’ve been rooting for the Cubs last night, too. Five of the last six times LSU has won the SEC, a National League team has won Game 1 of the World Series. Overall, seven of LSU’s 11 SEC titles and two of its three National Championships have come in years where the NL team won Game 1.
Of course, there’s no correlation between these two events. It’s merely coincidence. But aren’t all sports just a series of unconnected coincidences? How else can you explain the most popular team in America’s third-biggest city going 108 years without winning a championship?
Wide receiver Wednesday
It’s Wednesday. On Wednesdays I talk about wide receivers.
Today’s topic: D.J. Chark
Junior wide receiver D.J. Chark missed practice on Tuesday with a sprained finger. It’s unlikely that this injury will keep Chark out of LSU’s game next weekend versus Alabama. And, believe it or not, it’s very important that Chark does play. Because he might be the player LSU needs to exploit one of Alabama’s few weaknesses.
Chark is LSU’s best deep threat. He averages 16.8 yards per reception, the ninth-best mark in the SEC. But he only averages 38.4 yards per game, or a little less than 2.5 catches per game. Chark’s three receiving touchdowns this season have come on receptions of 37, 80 and 40 yards.
Oddly enough, this is precisely the sort of play the Alabama is susceptible to allowing. The Crimson Tide have allowed 30 pass plays of 20 yards or more this year, the second most in the SEC. Eighteen of those went for 30 yards or more, which is the most in the SEC and the eighth most in the FBS.
There is a certain logic to this. Alabama is almost always winning, so teams are forced to throw deep on the Crimson Tide a lot. But allowing more than two 30-yard passes per game? That seems a little high, especially for the team with the No. 4 total defense in college football.
If I know this fact, and you know this fact, you better bet that Ed Orgeron, Steve Ensminger and Co. know this fact. So, expect some fireworks in two weeks. Or, more accurately, expect LSU to try to set off some fireworks. Whether they’ll light is yet to be seen.
On Tuesday, on our LSU Insiders Facebook page and on our Twitter account (@SECCountryLSU), I asked you to provide your best and funniest caption for the photo below. Here are some of your best answers (I have taken some liberties with punctuation and spelling for comedic effect.):
“Oh mama, heat up the gumbo. We’re almost done here!” — Marie Poulet Tomlinson
“Are you kidding me? Les Miles is coming back?” — Melanie Cullen
“On left: Man, I really want a corn dog. On right: I can’t believe Penn State beat Ohio State!” — Derek Welch
“? I believe Fournette can fly. I believe he can touch the sky ?” — Jerie Shirley Black
And, my personal favorite:
“On right: Did Coach O just take his shirt off? On left: Yeah, I think I’m gonna be sick …” — Dale W. Hogan
Thanks to all of you who played along. And be sure to follow us on social media to participate in future caption contests, as well as get all of our content quickly and in one place.
Who will play?
As I mentioned earlier, Chark was held out of practice on Tuesday with a bum pinky. But he wasn’t the only player absent. Here’s a quick list of the injured players during LSU’s bye week:
- Tight end Colin Jeter — sprained wrist
- Fullback J.D. Moore — back strain
- Offensive tackle Toby Weathersby (practiced in a non-contact jersey) — ankle
- Linebacker Devin Voorhies (practiced in a non-contact jersey) — injury unclear
The good thing for LSU is it looks like all of these players will be back for the game against Alabama, even Weathersby. Weathersby hasn’t played since LSU’s loss to Auburn while nursing his injury. In his stead, LSU has started both Maea Teuhema and Ethan Pocic at right tackle.
If Weathersby returns, he will likely take over as the starting right tackle again, moving Teuhema back to his role as a utility sixth lineman behind Weathersby and both of LSU’s starting guards.
Signs, signs, everywhere signs
Former LSU running back Stevan Ridley has found a new home.
With second-year running back Tevin Coleman out for the foreseeable future with a hamstring injury, the Atlanta Falcons have signed Ridley to their active roster, releasing veteran linebacker A.J. Hawk as a counter move.
Ridley, who has the distinction of being the only person named “Stevan” in NFL history, broke into the NFL with the New England Patriots, for whom he started 25 games between 2011 and 2014. Since he tore his ACL in ’14, Ridley has bounced from team to team, but now has landed with Atlanta, a team with the NFL’s No. 10 rushing attack in yards per carry.
Ridley’s signing moves the number of former LSU running backs on active NFL rosters to four. Ridley joins Cincinnati Bengals running back Jeremy Hill, Alfred Blue of the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs starter Spencer Ware.
And, beginning next year, Leonard Fournette will make it five.
Basketball is a sport too
If you happen to have floor seats to an LSU basketball game this year, make sure you don’t wear sandals. And gentlemen, wear a hat.
I was chatting with Duop Reath, a JUCO transfer who is likely going to start at forward for the Tigers this season, Tuesday about how LSU is gelling as a team about a month into the season. Reath answered that the team is getting along well, and a few players have begun to stand out as jokesters.
Naturally, I asked Reath who has been joking, and what jokes were being pulled. Here’s his response:
“Elbert [Robinson], [Aaron] Epps, [Antonio Blakeney] a little bit too,” Reath singled out as the funny men. “I don’t know, they be joking about each other’s hairlines. They be joking about each other’s feet. Everything. Like in the training room, we’re getting taped. And they be looking at each other’s feet and start laughing.”
Personally, I don’t find feet to be funny. If anything, they’re among the least funny parts of the body. Especially if you’re in a locker room. Elbows? Those are funny. Heck, it’s called the funny bone for a reason. Noses? Noses are funny. Ears? Don’t even get me started on ears. But feet? There’s a reason we spend most of our lives covering those things up.
Which is why I find it particularly savage that LSU’s basketball team members have chosen to single out feet for their scorn and ridicule. People can get self-conscious about those things, though Reath said he doesn’t think that will be the case.
But hairlines? Yeah. Hairlines are funny. I’ll give that one a pass. You do you, fellas.