Well, LSU fans, I hope you had a good weekend. But now the grim reality of the workweek is back upon us. So, what better way to distract yourself for a couple minutes by checking back into the Bayou Bengal Briefing? Today, we have entries for baseball, basketball, soccer and volleyball. Also football. And popcorn, oddly enough. Confused? Let’s get to it.
The Oct-eaux-ber Classic
Unless you are massively misusing your ability to see into the future by reading this column instead of saving the world or learning the outcomes of sporting events that haven’t happened yet on your timeline a la Biff in Back to the Future Part II, chances are you’re reading this in October. And October can only mean one thing for sports fans: The MLB playoffs are here.
As many as three former LSU baseball players have the potential to compete for a World Series title over the next month. Perhaps most notably, there’s Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Kevin Gausman, who allowed two runs in 7 1/3 innings pitched in the Orioles’ regular-season finale Sunday, earning the team a playoff berth. Gausman and the Orioles will play the Toronto Blue Jays in the AL Wild Card game Tuesday, a game they must win or else their season is over. Gausman finished this season with an 8-12 record and a 3.66 ERA.
Two other former Tigers are on teams that made the playoffs, and they won’t even need to play in the single-game elimination round. Red Sox infielder Aaron Hill, who Boston acquired from Milwaukee in early July, has settled in as the team’s third baseman, having started 30 of the 47 games he’s played in since the Red Sox traded for him. Overall, Hill is hitting .262 with 10 home runs and 48 runs scored.
And then there’s Dodgers relief pitcher Louis Coleman. The Dodgers won the NL West and will be playing a minimum of three playoff games, but there’s been no guarantee that Coleman, who posted a 4.61 ERA across 61 appearances this season, will make the postseason roster. In 11 games pitched in September, Coleman’s ERA was a rather unimpressive 10.80.
Worth noting: Colorado Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu will not be participating in the postseason, but he’ll be taking home some hardware. LeMahieu edged out Washington Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy to win the National League batting title with a batting average of .348. By nearly every offensive metric, this was the best season of his young career. LeMahieu set career highs in batting average, hits (192), runs scored (104), extra-base hits (51), walks (66), OPS (.911) and WAR (5.2).
Before we dive even deeper into the realm of sports that aren’t American football, let’s put LSU’s 42-7 win over Missouri from Saturday to rest. In case you missed it, here are some of the best stories on LSU sports from around the Web this weekend:
- All LSU did was make a couple “tweaks,” and voila, offensive dominance
- Davon Godchaux sort of addressed his two-day indefinite suspension
- What new things did the LSU offense learn last week? These.
- LSU couldn’t lean on its most recognizable faces Saturday, but it didn’t matter
- Despite Saturday’s win, the Tigers are still unranked
- Sure, Orgeron is great. But don’t forget Dave Aranda
- What worked and what didn’t this weekend
Non-revenue sports update
It was another underwhelming weekend for LSU’s nonfootball sports, but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth mentioning. Here are some scores from this weekend:
- The volleyball team’s losing streak extended to six matches with two more losses this weekend. On Friday, the team fell three sets to one to Texas A&M and Sunday it fell in straight sets to Missouri. The Tigers now are 5-10 on the season with an 0-4 record in conference play. The team has two more matches this week, one in Oxford against Ole Miss on Wednesday and one in Athens against Georgia on Sunday.
- Though not quite as long, the soccer team is on a losing streak of its own right now. The 6-7 Tigers have lost three straight in conference play with their 3-0 setback to No. 15 Florida on Friday. In five conference matches, LSU has been outscored 12-4.
Not the start he was seeking
One-and-done LSU superstar Ben Simmons will remain a former LSU player instead of a Philadelphia 76ers rookie for a little longer.
Simmons reportedly broke a bone in his foot Friday. No one in the Sixers front office has confirmed whether Simmons will require surgery, but the prevailing consensus is that he will and it will keep him out at least a couple of months.
Though the injury will be a huge setback, it’s not wholly unprecedented for top draft picks to miss significant time before their careers begin. Simmons’ new Sixers teammate, Joel Embiid, has missed the first two seasons of his career with different foot injuries, while Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers forward and former No. 1 pick, missed his entire rookie season with a broken kneecap.
Some of Simmons’ teammates, including Embiid, reacted to the injury here.
An NFLSU update
It was a weirdly slow weekend for former LSU players in the NFL, especially with Odell Beckham Jr. and the Giants not playing until Monday night and Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu only combining to make 3 tackles. That said, there was still enough action to highlight a couple of feats.
- Long ago anointed a bus, Morris Claiborne had a “don’t forget about me” kind of Sunday. The Dallas Cowboys former top-10 cornerback recorded 7 tackles, 1 for loss, intercepted a pass and defended another as the Cowboys improved to 3-1 with a 24-17 win over the San Francisco 49ers.
- Although his Buccaneers lost to the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos, linebacker Kwon Alexander had a standout game, notching 7 tackles, 1 sack and 2 quarterback hurries.
- Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry had a slow week by his standards, above average by the standards of most, catching 7 balls for 61 yards. As of Sunday night, only Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver AJ Green (32) has more catches than Landry (31) this season.
- Speaking of the Bengals, running back Jeremy Hill had a fine game Thursday night, rushing for 71 yards on 21 carries.
- Finally, rookie offensive tackle Vadal Alexander earned the first start of his young career for the Raiders on Sunday. The Raiders held off the Ravens, 28-27, in a back-and-forth contest to improve to 3-1.
Arbitrary Analysis, part 1
As I’m sure you’ll hear 156,239 times this week, there’s a fighting chance that both LSU and Florida will start former Purdue quarterbacks this weekend. And to honor the West Lafayette, Ind., invasion of the Southeast, it’s time to bring back our favorite segment at the Briefing, Arbitrary Analysis. Last time we did this, we counted down the most iconic tigers in popular culture. This week, we’re going to look at the most famous nonathletic graduates of Purdue University.
Before we start, here’s a full disclosure: I know that off the top of your head, there’s a 95 percent chance that you can’t name a single nonathletic graduate of Purdue. Honestly, before I researched this, neither could I. But then I realized that there were people I’d heard of who went to Purdue. Who’d have guessed?
I decided to set up the framework for this exercise by using MIT’s spectacular Pantheon rankings, a database that ranks the 10,967 most-famous human beings who ever lived, using Wikipedia and lots of math. On that list, I found four Purdue grads. We’ll start off the list with those guys (sorry, all men) tomorrow. Today, let’s get some honorable mentions out there.
- Orville Redenbacher — Popcorn magnate, TV commercial star, bow-tie enthusiast
- Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger — Pilot, national hero, Tom Hanks look-a-like
- Athletes who can’t make the list because I said so
Much to my surprise, former Purdue football players such as Drew Brees, Rod Woodson and Bob Griese are not listed among the nearly 11,000 most famous human beings in recorded history. Nor is Redenbacher, the first and only name in gourmet popping corn, or Sullenberger, a man who just had a whole movie made about him. (If you’re wondering, Hanks is the 2,405th most-famous person in history, just narrowly edging out 15th Century Slovenia politician Ladislas the Posthumous. That is not a joke.)
But yes, all of these people went to and graduated from Purdue. (Except for Ladislas the Posthumous. He died at age 17. Poor Slovenian king never got the chance to go to the best colleges the European Dark Ages had to offer.) And they’ve made significant impacts on the world. Heck, Redenbacher’s company represents as much as 45 percent of the microwavable popcorn market, a $1 billion industry, and “Sully” has made more than $120 million at the box office over the last month.
And these are just our honorable mentions. Get ready to learn more about Purdue than you ever thought you would. And if you’re not excited, blame Danny Etling and Austin Appleby.