St. Charles Herald-Guide

Never underestimate a win

Mike Detillier - October 4, 2007

The LSU Tigers struggled with a pesky Tulane football team this past Saturday, especially in the first half of action, but a strong second half of the game propelled the second-ranked Tigers to a 34-9 win over the Green Wave.

You couldn’t have told by the comments and frustration laid out by many LSU fans after the Tigers win in the Super Dome, but they didn’t realize what was going to happen the rest of the day on “Upset Saturday.”

In quick fashion take a look at what happened to six of the top thirteen teams in college football this past Saturday:

•3rd ranked Oklahoma lost to Colorado (27-24)

•4th ranked Florida lost to Auburn (20-17)

•5th ranked West Virginia lost to South Florida (21-13)

•7th ranked Texas lost to Kansas State (41-21)

•10th ranked Rutgers lost to Maryland (34-24)

•13th ranked Clemson lost to Georgia Tech (13-3)

And not to be overlooked, but top-ranked USC struggled with a tough Washington Husky football team for three and half quarters before pulling away to a (27-24) win.

Like an old football coaching friend of mine used to always say, “Never underestimate the value of a win, anyway you can get it.”

That is what the LSU football program fully understands today. In a 12-game season there will be some peaks and valleys along the way, but it is to find a way to win when you don’t necessarily play well. It’s when you are able to win when you don’t necessarily play well that marks just how good of a team you have.

This week the Tigers face a much more formidable foe in the Florida Gators and while some of their invincibility of a team in 2007 was diminished a bit by their 20-17 loss to Auburn, they are still a very talented football team.

For the second straight year the Gators were defeated by the Tigers and it was Auburn placekicker Wes Byrum and his 43-yard field goal that snapped the Gators 11-game winning streak.

If you were paying close attention to the Gator program you could see this was going to happen. The Gators start only three seniors on offense and two seniors on the defensive side of the ball.

Due to graduation and early defections to the NFL the Gators have a very young football team and they must rely on a squad with nine new starters in their defensive alignment from a team that won the 2006 national championship.

In addition to nine new starters on defense, the Gators have six new starters on the offensive side of the ball.

Yes, sophomore quarterback Tim Tebow and the wide receiving core of senior Andre Caldwell, and underclassmen Percy Harvin and Cornelius Ingram are talented, but they are young and they will have their fair share of ‘stockmarket’ moments.

For LSU, this is now their time to seize the moment and take advantage of some lack of big game experience by the Gators and revenge last season’s 23-10 loss to the 2006 national champions.

Just remember, never overlook what a win brings to a program and think about the alternative.

All of us at the St. Charles Herald-Guide wish for a speedy recovery to one of the true gentlemen in the game of pro football in Deuce McAllister. McAllister sustained a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and he is lost for the rest of the 2007 NFL season. With the Saints sporting a 0-3 mark and in the midst of one of the most disappointing openings to any season, now they must face the reality that one of their key components from last year’s ride to the NFC Championship game won’t be around for the rest of the year.

This means that now Reggie Bush is center stage in the Saints attempt to regain their offensive groove. The most heralded rookie to hit the NFL since O.J. Simpson left USC to join the NFL in the late 1960’s now must carry the offensive load on his shoulders.

So far this season Bush has only registered 150 yards total offense, rushing and receiving, and that just will not cut it if the Saints want to get back into the NFL picture.

What we need to see more of is the Reggie Bush who amassed 42 touchdowns and 6,551 yards all-purpose yards in college.

If not, the long early season will continue to linger long into the winter months.