BATON ROUGE, La. — We’ve had two weeks to analyze and predict and prognosticate and speculate about the upcoming contest between No. 13 LSU and No. 1 Alabama. There’s no analysis I can provide you with that I haven’t already.
So now, since we’re only about 36 hours away from kickoff, instead of giving you a prediction or keys to the game, I’ll simply present you with a good omen.
As those of you with calendars probably know, Saturday is Nov. 5. For any other group of people, that date should have virtually no significance. But in the history of the Alabama-LSU football rivalry, Nov. 5 has a lot of meaning.
This will be the seventh time that Alabama and LSU meet on Nov. 5. Alabama has won four of the previous six and the winner of a Nov. 5 Tide-Tigers matchup has never been unranked. But more importantly than the history of the game is when the last one happened.
On Nov. 5, 2011, Alabama hosted LSU for what was dubbed “The Game of the Century.” The game went to overtime, where LSU prevailed 9-6 in an incredible defensive affair.
Since that day, LSU has not beaten Alabama in five tries. If there were ever a time to reset, it would be the five-year anniversary of one of the greatest wins in school history, right?
Four Friday feelings
The best part about being a human is having feelings. Here are four feelings I think LSU players and coaches should be feeling right now:
Danny Etling should feel … APPREHENSIVE
He shouldn’t be afraid. He shouldn’t be nervous. But he should definitely know what he’s getting himself into. The Alabama front seven has made a habit out of demoralizing quarterbacks into submission this season. Etling is in for a beating Saturday. How he responds to that beating might just be the key to the game.
Jeff Grimes should feel … SLEEPY
By that same point, LSU offensive line coach and running game coordinator Jeff Grimes probably hasn’t slept in two weeks scheming for this game. If his schemes work Saturday, he’ll earn some sleep. If not, he probably will be up for another week feeling a distinctly different emotion.
Kendell Beckwith and Duke Riley should feel … NECESSARY
Alabama loves to run the ball. Whether it’s between the tackles from the I-formation or on the perimeter out of the read option, Alabama gains significant yardage on the ground. It’ll be up to LSU’s senior inside linebackers to notch double-digit tackles each if the Tigers want to stay in this game.
Leonard Fournette should feel … LIKE A QUENTIN TARANTINO HERO
Like The Bride in “Kill Bill” or Django in “Django Unchained,” Leonard Fournette is out for revenge. Alabama held him to 31 yards last year. No way that happens again. Given that Fournette led a players-only meeting Thursday night, he seems plenty motivated. And given his game against Ole Miss, he’s healthy, too. He’s just a katana and a yellow jumpsuit away from going Uma Thurman on Alabama.
LSU wide receiver Jazz Ferguson violated a team rule and is suspended indefinitely, LSU coach Ed Orgeron announced Thursday night.
Ferguson hasn’t been a major asset in the passing game this year, catching 2 passes for 17 yards in seven games. But he does have a reputation as a gifted downfield blocker, an important skill for a team as reliant on the run as LSU.
After the news became a matter of public knowledge, Ferguson took to Twitter to defend himself but was a bit cryptic in his meaning.
Many people won't understand your struggle.. Then again it doesn't matter what others think.?
— JAZZ FERGUSON♠️ (@FergusonJazz) November 4, 2016
He’s right. Unless you count Orgeron. In this case, it matters what he thinks.
Arbitrary Analysis, part 5
All week, I’ve been counting down my favorite scenes from Forrest Gump. Today, I’ll reveal my No. 1 pick. But first, a recap.
- In scene No. 5, Forrest stopped running.
- In scene No. 4, Forrest found Bubba.
- In scene No. 3, Forrest got in a fight.
- And in scene No. 2, Forrest shed his shackles.
Now that we’re all caught up, let’s close out the countdown.
No. 1: The reflecting pool
I promised earlier in the week that I would save my film snob tendencies for when I really needed them. Today, I need them.
I don’t throw the word “beautiful” around willy-nilly, but this scene is beautiful. If you can watch this scene without getting goosebumps, you either don’t have skin or are a monster. And what makes these 45 seconds stand out is all filmmaking.
The scene is almost perfectly symmetrical. The Washington Monument bisects the shot. Forrest, a symbol of American innocence, comes in from the middle. Jenny, a symbol of the youth and liberalism of the 1960s, comes in from the left. Tom Hanks and Robin Wright fill the frames with facial expressions of sheer jubilee.
And then there’s the crowd. At the beginning of the shot, you can clearly read about a dozen signs, ranging in message from anti-government to anti-war. But when Forrest and Jenny hug in the reflecting pool there’s only one sign still up. It says “PEACE.”
This ranks among my favorite minutes of film ever recorded. If there’s any curmudgeonly soul that doesn’t enjoy this movie, show them this scene and watch even the most stoic among them crack a smile. It’s just that good.
An LSU baseball minute
This is normally the part of the Friday Briefing where I’d let you know what’s going on this weekend in nonrevenue LSU sports. But it’s a pretty slow weekend on the nonrev side, so instead of the schedule, let’s bring in some nonfootball news. (If you still would like to know all the events this weekend, click here.)
The LSU baseball team is looking like it will be without one of its most-valued assistants from here on out.
Reports surfaced late Thursday night that LSU hitting coach and recruiting coordinator Andy Cannizaro will be offered and will accept the job as the next head baseball coach at Mississippi State.
— Kendall Rogers (@KendallRogersD1) November 4, 2016
As Rogers followed up later with another tweet, Cannizaro is now the 12th Paul Mainieri assistant to earn a head coaching job, a huge indicator of what kind of a coach and cultivator of talent Mainieri has always been.
If you’re looking for someone to blame for this situation, trace everything back to former Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley. Foley stepped down and was replaced by former Mississippi State AD Scott Stricklin. It is expected that Stricklin’s vacated position will be filled by Mississippi State baseball coach John Cohen, who has targeted Cannizaro as his replacement.
If Jeremy Foley wasn’t Public Enemy No. 1 in Baton Rouge already, he’s working his way closer every day.
Are they allowed to dress out?
You’ve heard of LSU’s guest captains for Saturday.
Four former Tigers will return to Baton Rouge for the game against Alabama to lead the team, headlined by Arizona Cardinals defensive backs Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu.
While at LSU, Peterson was a Jim Thorpe Award-winning cornerback and Mathieu was a Heisman Trophy finalist as a safety.
Joining Peterson and Mathieu will be ex-LSU defensive lineman and two-time Super Bowl champion Leonard Marshall and Atlanta Falcons rookie linebacker Deion “Debo” Jones.
In three career games against Alabama, Mathieu put up 15 tackles, broke up 3 passes and recorded 1 tackle for loss. Even more impressively, Peterson also put up 15 tackles, but with an interception and 6 pass breakups in three games versus the Tide.
I’ll just leave this here
I started this Briefing with a good omen and by golly I’ll end it with one, too.
ESPN College Football tweeted this out Thursday:
• There were 2 tied NFL games
• The Indians lost the World Series in 7 games
• LSU beat the nation's No. 1 team in Death Valley
— ESPN CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) November 3, 2016
Take this to mean whatever you want it to mean. Enjoy your weekend, Tigers fans. I’ll be back Monday win or loss. Hope to see you there.