Sam Spiegelman/SEC Country
LSU football coach Ed Orgeron has made national news for a satellite camp in Louisiana.

LSU football: Breaking down SI’s Ed Orgeron satellite camp ‘controversy’

Nick Suss

Welcome to the Bayou Bengal Briefing, SEC Country’s daily morning column covering LSU football, with LSU beat writer Nick Suss. Today, we reflect on Ed Orgeron making national news, get ready for a busy weekend, check in with the pros and much more. Enjoy!

Reading the coverage

Sports Illustrated reporters Pete Thamel and Michael Rosenberg released a bombshell report Thursday, further complicating the already-complex world of satellite camps and college recruiting.

In their report, Thamel and Rosenberg connected the recent Louisiana satellite camp invitations that Texas, Texas A&M, Arkansas, Houston and Michigan had taken back with LSU’s emergence on the in-state satellite camp scene. LSU’s camp at Tulane next month, for example, was originally supposed to be a shared camp between Tulane and Michigan. The report, however, makes it seem as if LSU strong-armed Michigan out of LSU’s fertile recruiting ground to preserve the home state for itself.

Is this what’s happening? That’s not my place to judge. That said, the argument that Tulane laid out in the report seemed pretty sound. According to the article, Tulane didn’t receive a confirmation from Michigan that Jim Harbaugh would attend the camp until late in the process, and Tulane chose to un-invite the Wolverines as a result.

Was that petty? Maybe. But it’s not directly LSU’s fault.

If LSU is trying to block rivals from entering Louisiana, though, that’s LSU’s right. There’s no NCAA bylaw that says you have to allow rivals and competitors to drill your pipeline states for their own oil. If LSU thinks it can lord money or prestige over the Tulanes and the Southeasterns of the world, it should be able to.

That said, one argument got lost in the shuffle of the article. LSU already has access to all the recruits who would attend a Tulane or Southeastern camp. This doesn’t expand LSU’s base in the slightest, but it does shrink the potential suitors available to in-state kids who might not be offered by LSU.

Kids are going to leave Louisiana. It’s just how supply and demand works. Louisiana has more elite football talent than it has elite college football programs. But when LSU keeps schools out, these kids have less access time with visiting coaches, especially kids who can’t afford to attend national or team camps outside of The Boot.

This shouldn’t stop LSU from doing something that it thinks can help lead to wins. If Coach O genuinely believes that blocking Michigan and Texas from Louisiana camps will stop Michigan and Texas from taking Louisiana players, he should do what he believes is right. If a couple of kids get hurt by this but LSU wins games, no one in Louisiana will remember.

Which stinks. It really does stink. But it’s the business. And Orgeron seems to be pretty good at business.

We have ourselves a race, people

With its 3-1 win against Mississippi State on Thursday night, the LSU baseball team has moved into a three-way tie for first place atop the SEC with two regular season games remaining. LSU can clinch an SEC West crown with a win either Friday or Saturday and has a chance to win the SEC outright if it wins both of its remaining games and Kentucky and Florida split their final two games against one another.

More importantly, though, LSU seems to be hitting its stride right when it needs to. In particular, junior starting pitcher Alex Lange is starting to pitch like the ace he has the talent to be. Over his last 6 starts, Lange has allowed 9 runs in 45 innings pitched, good for an ERA of 1.80.

For his efforts, Lange is projected to be selected in the first round of the MLB draft, to the Toronto Blue Jays with the 28th pick. (For what it’s worth, high school senior and LSU commit Blayne Enlow is projected to go one pick sooner to the Chicago Cubs.)

If Lange can keep pitching like the first-round pick he’ll be, LSU should be able to cross one win off in every postseason series it plays. Which, generally speaking, is a good thing.

Your weekly non-revenue LSU sports preview

It’ll be a relatively straightforward weekend for LSU sports. The whole conflict will come down to if you prefer small balls thrown overhand or bigger balls thrown underhand. Here’s what’s going on in the world of LSU sports over the next three days:

  • LSU baseball continues its chase for an SEC title with two more games versus Mississippi State. The Tigers will play at 6:30 p.m. CT on Friday and 3:30 p.m. CT on Saturday. The series finale on Saturday will be broadcast on ESPNU.
  • The LSU softball team hosts NCAA regional action all weekend. The Tigers open up play Friday night with a 5:30 game versus Fairfield. On Saturday, the Tigers will face off against either McNeese State or Louisiana-Lafayette at a time yet to be determined. If the Tigers qualify for the regional finals, they’ll play on Sunday as well. All games can be accessed online through WatchESPN streams.

What should I do with my life?

Not a big baseball or softball fan? We can work around that. If you live within 50 miles of Baton Rouge, here’s a list of cool events you can attend this weekend:

  • If you fancy yourself a foodie, you should check out the C’est Si Bon Food Tour on Friday, beginning at 6 p.m. outside of Poor Boy Lloyd’s Restaurant. It’s a two-and-a-half hour sampler of the best Cajun food Baton Rouge has to offer, plus some guided lessons on the city’s history and heritage.
  • The most interesting event of the weekend might be Saturday at the Raising Cane’s River Center, when the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra recreates and retells the score of Steven Spielberg’s classic film “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.”
  • If you’re less of a cinema fan and more of a stand-up guy, check out the “Raise the Woof” comedy show at the Manship Theatre, with proceeds going to animal welfare organizations across the city.
  • For a full list of events in and around Baton Rouge this weekend, check out this full calendar courtesy of The Advocate.

PFF is cool

The statistical mavens at Pro Football Focus awoke from their offseason slumber Thursday, tweeting out a bunch of awesome stats that broke down the NFL season in an interesting and analytical way.

One such tweet pertained to LSU football alum and noted good football player Odell Beckham Jr. Per PFF, there wasn’t a wideout in football better at forcing missed tackles in 2016 than the New York Giants phenom.

And, oh yeah, who was third on that list? Why look, it’s fellow former Tiger Jarvis Landry. And a New Orleans Saints receiver came in fourth. Louisiana is just dominating this category.

PFF posted a flurry of awesome graphs Thursday, including a good number about college football and the SEC. Be sure to follow it on Twitter for the best darn football analysis there is. Short of the Bayou Bengal Briefing, of course.

Speaking of LSU football in the NFL

Former LSU cornerback Tre’Davious White signed with the Buffalo Bills on Thursday, officially beginning his professional career. He’ll reportedly use the money from his first contract to buy his mother a house, which is an admirable decision, to say the least.

Elsewhere in NFLSU news, the New Orleans Saints know their fan base pretty well. The Saints released a highlight video of Travin Dural’s best moments at LSU to hype their highest-profile undrafted free-agent signing. You can check out that video below.

Today in made-up holidays

According to the ever-generous folks at NationalDayCalendar.com, Friday is “National Pizza Party Day.” Which is something I wish someone had told me before I ate a whole pizza for dinner Thursday night.

Usually, I use this section of the Briefing to sell you on why a holiday makes sense. But I don’t have to sell you on pizza, right? Pizza is consistently ranked as one of the top 3 favorite foods in America, and honestly should be No. 1 every time. If you find me someone who doesn’t like pizza, I’ll find you a weird person. (I say this full-well knowing that one of my closest friends in the world doesn’t like pizza.)

Pizza brings everyone together. Even depressed 20-something friends in New York City in 1994.

So, if you have friends, host a pizza party Friday night. If you don’t have friends, host a pizza party Friday night and you’ll have friends in no time. It’s pizza. It’s great. And it’s a national holiday. So, we have to celebrate it. Thems the rules.

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