Try as we might, we can’t seem to be able to ignore the continuing drumbeat of inanity that goes on at places like collegefootballnews.com.
The latest transgressor is Matthew Zemek, some guy who wrote this rambling piece about LSU’s Rose Bowl chances.
The main question of the column: What are the inevitable surprises that will come up this season?
His answers: USC will have to make sure it doesn’t play tight, and LSU will be very, very good and won’t have much to show for it.
Wow. Those are the two surprising things to look for this season?
This isn’t meant as any kind of attempt to maintain a continuing set of talking points or nurse an emotional grudge with respect to the still-controversial 2003 national championship race between the two teams, which is still fresh (oh, very, very fresh) in the collective memories of Trojan and Tiger fans.
As someone who lives in Los Angeles, I can assure the writer that there are no USC fans still thinking about the 2003 season-ending poll. Clearly, that is not the case in Baton Rouge. It shows the SEC-dominated perspective that CFN employs.
Anyway, he goes on to state the usual canard about the tough SEC schedule that LSU will have to go through, whereas USC’s schedule is ‘cake’ because of the easy Pac-10.
Without getting too much into it, does any else see the problem here? I mean, one of LSU’s non-conference foes is from the same Pac-10 that USC plays in: ASU. For playing the Sun Devils, LSU is called ‘courageous.’
LSU also plays North Texas, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Appalachian State, Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas–seven teams that didn’t manage to get past .500 last year.
That basically gives the Tigers a four-game season–against HP No. 2 Floria, HP No. 8 Auburn, HP No. 13 ASU and HP No. 15 Tennessee . Granted, that is a tough four-games. Amazingly, ALL FOUR of those games are at home, though. And LSU plays a total of SEVEN home games in all. Three of the four road games are against MSU, Vandy and Ole Miss!
In a brief bow to the issue of scheduling, Zemek adds:
Yes, I would love to see SEC teams schedule more heavyweights in non-conference play. In a conference that prides itself on manliness and glorified gridiron grit, it?s a shame that the big boys don?t challenge more powers in other leagues. I won?t deny the force or merits of this point.
But once you do get into conference play?which, last time I checked, still does account for 72 percent of a team?s regular season?the SEC is murder, and that?s why its teams go light in the non-conference realm.
Do murderous teams really account for 72 per cent of LSU’s schedule? We have already shown that they have just a four-game season to get through. That doesn’t come out to 72 per cent, last I checked. What is murderous about bottom feeders Vandy, MSU, Ole Miss and Arkansas?
Finally, the twisted logic gets even more twisted when Zemek says about USC’s schedule:
Only Oregon poses a scenario that grabs your attention and makes you say, ?Hmmm… they really could get ambushed there…? Tempe?s too relaxed, Cal?s too impotent (at least going into the season), and Notre Dame isn?t what Notre Dame used to be.
Anyone who calls Tempe ‘too relaxed’ has simply never been to Sun Devil Stadium. There, USC will be playing the same Sun Devil team that LSU was ‘courageous’ enough to play. What’s more, it will be in a hostile environment, not a home setting. He calls Cal too impotent going into the season, but USC plays them in the ninth game, when Cal will be much improved (conversely, he says Tennessee will be much improved later in the season when touting their chances at LSU, even though the Vols play the Tigers in game three). Finally, as Tennessee and Michigan could attest to last year, playing Notre Dame is never a gimme, especially in South Bend.
Sadly, this viewpoint does not shock me, as it’s the same kind of message-board propaganda posted in the commentary section here all the time.
Zemek ends with:
LSU will struggle a lot more than USC, but only because the Tigers are actually playing some people. Yes, that?s meant as a compliment to the Tigers and their conference.
No kidding. Once again, USC and LSU have two common opponents this year, but that is not noted. The idea that the Tigers could struggle because they aren’t that good never enters the imagination. Of course, there is also the possibility that the Tigers ARE that good, but the teams they beat aren’t that good either. Neither is given consideration.
It all goes back to what John Q. Public said down below: The benefit of the doubt always lands South of the Mason-Dixon line.
That same viewpoint results in CFN head guy Pete Fiutak continually gushing over LSU’s pro talent, but never mentioning the same when it comes to USC.
Thus, the first two entries in his top 10 reads so:
1. USC – But I’m not married to this. I have concerns about a defensive front seven that has to replace Shaun Cody, Mike Patterson, Lofa Tatupu and Matt Grootegoed, while the secondary is an injury or two away from having big, big problems. Yeah, it’s USC and the holes will be filled with tremendously talented prospects, but the tremendous Trojan offense will have to carry things for a while.
2. LSU – I seem to be on an island with my infatuation of the 2005 Tigers, but I can’t get past how loaded this team is from top to bottom with next-level talent. How many teams can lose a back like Alley Broussard and still be more than fine? The quarterback situation needs to be settled, but at the very least, JaMarcus Russell is an experienced option. The defense will be one of the five best in America.
So, he’s not married to the idea of USC at No. 1 and can’t get past his infatuation for LSU’s talent. Well, then, Pete, why isn’t LSU No. 1 on your list? Oh, and Earth to Pete: No one has more NFL talent on their roster right now than USC. On offense alone, the Trojans could have as many as SEVEN eventual first-round picks starting this year. That doesn’t take into account the players in the two-deep, many of whom are even more talented. Over on defense, three-fourths of USC’s secondary is going to be drafted after this season, while the two-deep probably has another eight-to-10 possible future first rounders.
This is what happens when your last four recruiting classes are ranked No. 7, No. 1, No. 1 and No. 1.