BATON ROUGE, La. — The LSU football season may be over, but its effect on the next two months of football that isn’t over is measurable.
The NFL playoffs begin Saturday afternoon, and the LSU Tigers are going to be well-represented. LSU leads all colleges with 15 active players on NFL playoff rosters, edging out Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia, which have 13, 12 and 12, respectively.
With that many former Tigers in action, it’s going to be incredibly difficult to root for one guy without rooting against some others. So, with that in mind, here are my picks for the five former LSU football players who will be the most interesting to root for in the NFL playoffs.
No. 5: Spencer Ware — Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs are going to be an interesting team to watch throughout these playoffs. Playing at Arrowhead Stadium in the winter should be a significant home-field advantage, but the Chiefs have a long list of injured players and lack superstar offensive talent across the board.
But that lack of superstar talent is going to make for a lot of touches for running back Spencer Ware. In two playoff games last season, Ware rushed 16 times for 67 yards and a touchdown.
No. 4: Morris Claiborne and La’El Collins — Dallas Cowboys
Both defensive back Morris Claiborne and offensive lineman La’El Collins have been banged up this season, but they also returned to practice this week, meaning there is a chance they will play next week when the Cowboys open their playoff run.
Unless you’re a Cowboys fan, it’s normally pretty hard to root for Dallas. But those two former Tigers make them a little easier to stomach.
No. 3: Tyson Jackson, Debo Jones and Jalen Collins — Atlanta Falcons
I know there’s a huge overlap between LSU fans and New Orleans Saints fans, so rooting for the Falcons might be hard. But under-the-radar defensive rookie of the year candidate Deion Jones and the Falcons are going to be one of the most competitive teams in the playoffs this season behind MVP-caliber quarterback Matt Ryan.
If you can get past your natural hatred for Atlanta, this might be a team worth following.
No. 2: Odell Beckham Jr., Brad Wing and Kelvin Sheppard — New York Giants
This team seems like the no-brainer. Odell Beckham is the most electric player in the NFL, and the other two ain’t bad either.
But then you realize that rooting for the Giants also means rooting for Eli Manning and Landon Collins, an Ole Miss alum and an Alabama alum, respectively. I can understand why die-hard LSU football fans might not be able to get behind that.
No. 1: Jarvis Landry — Miami Dolphins
Which is why wide receiver Jarvis Landry and the Miami Dolphins are my logical choice. Other than center Mike Pouncey, there aren’t many former LSU rivals who play prominent roles on the Dolphins, and the Saints and Dolphins don’t share too much history.
Plus, Landry is a Louisiana boy and one of the more likable young stars the NFL has to offer. If you can get past the Dolphins’ questionable color scheme, buy yourself a Landry jersey and party like it’s 1972 all over again.
Les is Plan B
To catch up on a story we mentioned a couple of days ago in the Briefing, Minnesota seems to be zeroing in on its next head coach. But provided the Gophers can’t get him, there’s always Les Miles.
Western Michigan coach and profession boat rower P.J. Fleck is Plan A. And there might be a tentative deal in place, at least according to reports in the area.
— JoeChristensen (@JoeCStrib) January 6, 2017
But yeah, former LSU football coach Miles looks like he’s the backup plan. Miles wasn’t connected to many of the high-profile openings in college football this season, and until the Minnesota job opened up, it looked like Miles was going to take off the year from coaching.
This still might be something he’s best served to do. Given the way LSU turned around under Ed Orgeron after Miles was fired, Miles isn’t too hot of a commodity in the coaching world. But give it a year and programs are probably going to be looking at the Miles era at LSU through rose-colored glasses, especially being that it’s the 10-year anniversary of his national championship.
I don’t think Les lands at Minnesota. But would you want to coach there? Minnesota has four wins against its rival and Miles’ alma mater Michigan since 1970. That’s a yearly rivalry.
It’s not the best football school. That sounds like a school that needs a young coach to catalyze a new atmosphere. Not Miles.
What should I do this weekend?
If the NFL playoffs aren’t your thing, you’re not in luck. The first of nine months’ worth of weekends without college football is upon us, and that kind of stinks.
So, here are some ideas of things you can consider doing without LSU football as an option:
- If you’re in the Baton Rouge metro area, there’s plenty to do every weekend. Follow this link for a complete list of events going on in the state capital this weekend, including everything from farmers’ markets to an Ozzy Osbourne cover band.
- Do you like movies? Both A Monster Calls and Hidden Figures open this weekend and they’re receiving pretty good reviews. Or you could see Rogue One for the fifth time. Or just take in the music of La La Land. Point is, you can go to the movies.
- There are also sports that aren’t football to watch. Mostly basketball and hockey. If you’re interested in those, look on your ESPN app for listings. I don’t know what teams you root for. I’m going to be watching the NFL playoffs so I can’t be of much help. Well, those and …
This weekend in non-revenue LSU sports
LSU football season might be over, but the spring sports are just beginning. Here’s a rundown of events:
- The men’s basketball team hosts Mississippi State on Saturday and the women’s basketball team visits Arkansas. Both games are winnable, but more so the women’s game.
- The No. 2 LSU gymnastics squad kicks off its 2017 schedule with a home meet from the PMAC versus No. 9 UGA on Friday night. The event will be broadcast live on the SEC Network, if you can’t get to Baton Rouge but are interested in watching.
- The track and field teams also kick off their 2017 schedule with the Purple Tiger Invitational on Friday from LSU’s Carl Maddox Field House.
- Men’s and women’s swimming and diving host the Alabama Crimson Tide from the LSU Natatorium on Saturday afternoon. The women’s team is 2-1 (1-1 SEC) on the season, while the men’s team is 1-1 with an 0-1 record in conference competition.
- The men’s tennis team is doing things right in life, competing for four days in Honolulu, Hawaii, in the Rainbow Warrior Invitational, starting Sunday and lasting through Wednesday.
Arbitrary Analysis, part 5
All week in the Bayou Bengal Briefing, I’ve kicked off 2017 by counting down my five favorite pop culture artifacts containing the number 17. Today, we get to my No. 1 pick. But before we get there, here’s a quick refresher:
No. 4: “17 Again”
No. 3: “Edge of Seventeen”
No. 2: “The Edge of Seventeen”
And now, it’s time for No. 1 pick. And it’s the only one on the countdown that doesn’t have 17 directly in its title.
No. 1: Paradise By the Dashboard Light — Meatloaf
Other than songs titled 17, I can’t think of any song that talks about being 17 years old more than Meatloaf’s eight-and-a-half-minute epic “Paradise By the Dashboard Light.”
I’ve known this song since I was in elementary school, well before I understood the implications of the song. And if you’re a little more traditional in your interests, you probably won’t dig this song as much as I do.
But if you like comedic stories, a fantastic back and forth between a bickering man and woman and former New York Yankees infielder Phil Rizzuto, this is a song for you. Or if you’re trapped in a marriage that makes you miserable. But I hope it’s not that one.
I often describe this song as the Bohemian Rhapsody of songs about making bad decisions. And boy, does the pain and the awkwardness ever come through. Do yourself a favor and listen to Bat Out Of Hell all the way through on Friday. It’s a downright masterpiece of an album.
At least me and 21.5 million other people think so.
Our weekly LSU in the NBA check-in
As we do every Friday, let’s check in on how former LSU basketball players in the NBA are performing this season:
|Player||Games Played||Minutes Per Game||PPG||RPG||APG|
|Garrett Temple (SAC)||35||24.6||7.4||2.7||2.2|
|Justin Hamilton (BKN)||28||20.5||6.1||3.4||4.5|
|Brandon Bass (LAC)||23||11.2||5.2||2.2||0.6|
|Marcus Thornton (WAS)||33||17.4||6.6||2.3||1.2|
|Jarell Martin (MEM)||37||14.2||4.1||4.1||0.2|
|Jordan Mickey (BOS)||9||7.6||2.4||1.9||0.3|
|Tim Quarterman (POR)||12||3.3||1.3||0.5||0.6|
Odell Beckham Jr. wears a hat
Let’s finish off this Bayou Bengal Briefing where we started it — with Odell Beckham Jr.
On Thursday, the Giants wide receiver wore a hat.
Beckham became the latest athlete to join up with the ride-sharing service Lyft to do an undercover video driving around unsuspecting passengers. And, as you would expect, people freaked out when they found out they were with Odell.
He’s a huge celebrity in the New York/New Jersey area. His antics are becoming legendary.
But I don’t think wearing a knit cap would’ve fooled people in Louisiana as well. If you’re riding around in a car with Beckham Jr. in Baton Rouge, you probably figure that out pretty quickly.