Good, bad and ugly, LSU was the talk of the nation last week.
Whether it was Cole Henry dealing in LSU’s regional, the football team being “disrespected” by CBS or Will Wade awkwardly answering questions about “strong*** offers,” Tiger Talk was relentless.
Let’s start positive, shall we? Finally, this LSU baseball team looks like the team we all expected. I’ve had some come after me this year, suggesting I, along with LSU fans, overhyped this LSU baseball team. First of all, if anyone overhyped this team it was head coach Paul Mainieri.
In a conversation I had with Mainieri before the season, he made comparisons to the 2009 team, talked about this being his best recruiting class ever and seemed to relish the expectations because he knows there’s no getting around it. And why wouldn’t he? After Saturday’s victory against Southern Miss, LSU had back-to-back phenomenal freshmen performances on the mound from Landon Marceaux and Cole Henry. When you add arms like those, and Jaden Hill’s, with Zach Hess, Eric Walker, Todd Peterson, etc., you can start to see why this team was preseason No. 1. Not to mention, Mainieri added studs Cade Beloso (the Louisiana Gatorade Player of the Year) and Saul Garza to a lineup that returned Zach Watson, Antoine Duplantis (who is now the program leader in career hits), Josh Smith and Daniel Cabrera.
If you weren’t excited about this team’s potential, you just weren’t paying attention the last couple of years.
But in typical Mainieri fashion, this LSU team turned it on when it mattered most and now the Tigers are somehow, someway hosting a Super Regionals series against Florida State. Typical LSU.
That was undeniably the highlight of the week, and the rest of the news was, well, interesting.
Let’s transition to what many perceive to be bad news, but in reality should be a breath of fresh air. CBS has spurned the Tigers/Tide rivalry and will feature its SEC doubleheader on Sept. 21 when Georgia and Notre Dame square off. What that means is LSU and Alabama will not kickoff at 7 p.m. on CBS like it has in recent years. And you know what? That’s a good thing.
The less hype that’s placed on this game the better. Because more often than not, especially recently, Alabama is too much physically for LSU and dominates the trenches from the start to the finish. When this game is hyped up as the biggest game of the season, LSU’s chances of topping the Crimson Tide lessen because Alabama takes this game more seriously than the Iron Bowl. There’s a reason why Mississippi State has had grueling tough contests with Alabama recently, and that’s because that contest typically follows the LSU game and as good as the Bulldogs have been this last decade, they’re not getting the same focus and concentration that LSU gets on an annual basis. So instead of viewing this as some sort of slight, welcome the change, because Lord knows the more change the better with this one-sided rivalry.
And as for Wade’s comments, it was unprepossessing if not comical.
In summary, Wade was asked if he was quoted correctly about the strong you-know-what offer, and Wade’s vexatious response was, “I haven’t heard the recording.”
Now, fans who love Wade, found this to be hilarious, and let’s face it — if you were expecting Wade to accept accountability for something he’s basically gotten away with at this point, you should probably get out more.
Still, this wasn’t a good look. And I can’t pretend to like it. We’re supposed to teach the next generation that actions have consequences and I believe real men accept the consequences for their actions. Wade did the opposite, even if it was the smart thing to do.
And even though I understand his response, it doesn’t mean I have to celebrate it or even laugh at it. I hold coaches to a little bit higher standard than that…