Thursday, November 26, 2009
Behind The Scoreboard
What a game
Wildcat, Wild Rebel, Wild Tiger. Even the color commentators were confused. But would you believe the entertainment quotient easily over-equaled the perplexity? Yeah, we are talking about the SEC football game just south of Jolly Holly on Saturday afternoon in Oxford.
On a day in which the Tigers’ and Rebels’ two main competitors in the SEC were having relatively easy contests, the LSU and Ole Miss shootout was anything but. The number one ranked team, the Florida Gators, was in what could be termed a dress rehearsal. Florida International could probably tell the Gators ‘thanks for the memories’ – the memory of being stomped on by a team on its way back to the top, meaning Pasadena, of course. The Golden Panthers clearly had no shot at disrupting the process.
Likewise was the game between number two Alabama and Chattanooga. The Crimson Tide also had a “walk through.” The Moccasins had to feel privileged to have had a contest with the Tide when the whole world is watching this part of the season. Alabama and Florida are already destined for their ultimate SEC collision in Atlanta on December 5.
So, on Saturday, the excitement factor was superbly showcased in the Tigers and Rebels meeting in “Faulknerville.” This game needed no hype. There was no attempt or need to “blackout” the contest, because all 60,000 seats in Vaught-Hemingway had already been filled. And there were probably that many fans still in the Grove. The aerial view of the tailgate venue looked oddly similar to the fairgrounds during the Heritage Classic in Memphis.
There was a lot at stake, and there wasn’t a lot at stake. Confused? As Dennis Haysbert would put it in his insurance commercial, “Don’t be.” Both of these teams were already bowl eligible. Both had participated in bowl games last season. LSU had won the Chik-Fil-A against Georgia Tech and Ole Miss had gotten the best of Texas Tech in the Cotton. Both of these had pretty hefty pay packages. The lot at stake could be an opportunity to “mine a richer field” so to speak. In addition, last year, a trophy presentation was initiated with this game. LSU hoisted it last season.
There will be no attempt here for a “not so instant” replay. However, the thrills and gaffes associated with this contest could keep one amused for hours. You can bet that it will be seen over and over (I have seen it seven times already!). From beginning to end, it was wild. The touchdowns that weren’t, the sack at the most appropriate time, the first pass from Dexter McCluster which just happened to net a score. And the timeout which wasn’t called at the appropriate time. This all added up to the Rebels beating the Tigers at home for the first time in six seasons. This had always been a rivalry for the books.
If the SEC championship game provides half the excitement, it will be well worth the ticket.
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