Just wrapped up work for the day, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on a couple of things before relaxing too vigorously.
I thought this analysis of LSU’s schedule was interesting: http://www.saturdaydownsouth.com/2011/lsu-football-schedule-analysis-2011/. I’ll follow the same format.
No Doubt Out of Conference:
Hopefully there will be two no-doubt games with Western Kentucky and Northwestern St. This isn’t basketball, although I can’t recall the LSU basketball team losing to either.
Toughest Out of Conference:
I’m not entirely sure Oregon will be tougher than West Virginia. Just because Oregon was the national runners-up doesn’t even mean they’ll be the best team in the Pac-10 this year, and WVU didn’t play so badly in Tiger Stadium last year. Morgantown isn’t a particularly friendly place to play. As usual, the preseason prognosticators may be paying too much attention to offense (the big names on offense) with their anticipation of another top-5 finish for Oregon. That’s not to say LSU doesn’t have a challenge on its hands, but having even a moderately strong opponent early on is a challenge for any team.
Will Be a Battle:
I’m inclined to agree with the mentions of Arkansas and Alabama. I can’t imagine either one being over in the third quarter.
Most Hyped Game Prime For A Blowout:
As you can tell above, I don’t think WVU is the answer here. Maybe Auburn or Florida. We typically expect close games in those series, but I think they’re both in serious transition, and LSU could end up running away with it.
Tennessee is a good observation. Dooley also gave LSU all kinds of trouble at Louisiana Tech. This will be the first time he’ll have the Tigers at his place. I don’t know if following Western Kentucky falls under “trap”, but I would be wary of them looking past the Ole Miss game (also on the road).
Fans Likely To Take A Monday Sick Day:
Not sure what that means. Will they be hung over from celebrating or just sort of have a sick feeling in general (and possibly still hung over)? Any loss in November (Alabama, Ole Miss, Arkansas) could be devastating. People always get pumped up about winning those games too, regardless of how good the teams actually are. Arkansas is Thanksgiving weekend though, so I think people would get over that one (or they would be missing work on Monday anyway). It’s also a home game. I can see a lot of people making a long weekend out of Alabama. It’s a pretty far trip from Louisiana. Tennessee is a bit of a journey too (and I can more see actually wanting to be in the Knoxville area, but maybe that’s just me).
I don’t think it’s quite as Herculean a task as “Jon” describes. I may be right about Oregon not being top 5, he may be right about WVU being a relatively easy game. That takes care of non-conference.
I don’t know if there are going to be the same number of really good SEC teams as there were last season. Maybe one of the better teams will be Georgia or South Carolina, neither of whom plays LSU. There are some potential “traps” and rivalry games as mentioned, but I wouldn’t be shocked if LSU went into November undefeated. I don’t think Alabama, Ole Miss, and Arkansas will all be good teams. LSU is going to have to play at least three games at a very high level to get to the SEC Championship game without a loss, but of course one loss wouldn’t be fatal.
If there is a late loss or two, I hope LSU doesn’t become known for fading after 7 or 8 games just because the better opponents (or at least the more difficult match-ups) have been toward the end of the year.
LSU being the national champions this year would be less strange than it was in 2003, when it followed a 5-loss season and was the program’s first major national championship since 1958. But I also don’t think we have quite the same pieces to the puzzle that we had going into 2007.
I have a friend of sorts (we’re not extremely close, but I’ve known him a while) who is a really big NBA fan, and he said I must not be human because I haven’t gotten much out of watching (I should say trying to watch, because I haven’t succeeded for more than a half an hour) the NBA Finals.
I had to look at the stats for a while in order to enunciate my exact feelings. I think the key is assists and turnovers.
This is what I said:
“I feel like everyone in this series is making it up as they go along. The roles are very unfocused, and that’s part of the reason the Heat are losing. They’re even less capable of playing like a coherent team (much different from the Heat team that beat Dallas in the Finals in ’06). If you have a guy who’s really good at assists (Chris Paul, Steve Nash, for instance), that’s fun to watch for me. The high in assists for the Mavs was 6, and that’s with 112 points scored. LeBron and Wade were the only two players in the game with more than 6.
Lakers-Hornets Game 4 was an example of a game I liked watching. The Hornets had two more assists than the Mavs did in this game, and that was with 19 fewer points scored. The Heat had the same number of assists as the Hornets did (only 10 more points). But the Heat shot themselves in the foot with 16 turnovers. The total turnovers in the Hornets-Lakers game I mentioned was 19.”
It also doesn’t help that while I’m for the Mavs, I wouldn’t be heartbroken if the Heat won.
But the good side of it is I’ve had more time to do things like write blogs and watch other sports.