As we begin preparing for the year in which the Big Ten shocks the college football world by winning five of its seven bowls, let's learn about the opponents. Oh sure, we could turn to the fans of our opponents and ask them questions about their beloved cats, birds, and bees. But this site was founded upon the idea of rivals. That's why we're talking with our opponents' rivals. After all, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.
As we look at the Capital One Bowl, Juco All-American (with an assist from The Ghost of Jay Cutler) of the outstanding Ole Miss blog Red Cup Rebellion was kind enough to answer these five questions about the hated LSU Tigers.
1. LSU gets plaudits and constant media love for having the best defensive linemen year in, year out. How did the Ole Miss offense attack the front four of LSU?
Honestly, this question may not be reasonable this season. Sure, LSU still has good defensive limen. DE Rahim Alem and DT Drake Nevis are both very talented. However, when the AP voted for the SEC first and second team defensive lines, neither of them appeared on the list. What that means is that, in the eyes of the SEC media, LSU doesn't have a single defensive lineman who ranks in the top 11 in the conference. That's unheard of in Baton Rouge.
Still, as I mentioned above, Rahim Alem and Drake Nevis are quite good at what they do. Alem is a pass rusher who hasn't had a great year but is still ferocious off the line. Nevis is a quick defensive tackle who can collapse the pocket or disrupt the run. What Ole Miss did to defeat them was to run misdirections right at Alem, who struggles against the run, and run as far away from Drake Nevis as we could. It helped to have Dexter McCluster running the ball. Perhaps Penn State could find a quarkback of their own before the bowl game.
2. How in the world do you stop LSU's big wide receivers?
LSU's receivers are significantly limited by the ineptitude of Jordan Jefferson. Jefferson is alright at managing the game, but that's not the purpose of receivers who have a height advantage on every defensive back against whom they line up. They should be throwing bombs to Tolliver and Lafell, but instead they're trying to get the ball to those receivers in space. That's not the way to utilize players with their physical abilities.
So the answer, in short, is to stack the box, blitz heavily, and get to Jordan Jefferson before he can even think about throwing deep to them. Do that a few times, and they won't try it anymore.
3. Beating LSU in the "Les Miles 2 Minute Drill From Hell" game must have been satisfying. What makes a victory over LSU better than a victory over another SEC squad?
The reason is simple. LSU is the luckiest team to ever play in any sport. They consistently find themselves in situations in which they must convert on fourth down, make a field goal from 50+ yards out, make a big turnover, etc, and they do it... nearly every time. It just works for them. Any other team would have struggled much earlier under Les Miles and his ridiculous playcalls, but not LSU. They just go out and, because for some reason the sports gods love Cajuns (perhaps it's the jambalaya), they get fluke wins. There are too many to go into. If you want to know more, ask Kentucky fans about the Hail Mary. Ask Ole Miss fans about the punt return. Ask Florida fans about fourth down conversions. You know what? Let's not talk about this anymore. My blood is boiling.
4. LSU fans are traditionally heckled for "smelling like corn dogs" and generally being crazy/unstable. How much of this is urban legend, and how much of this is truth?
No one really knows where the legend of LSU fans smelling corn dogs originated. I speculate that LSU fans smell like corn dogs because they're members of the circus, thus all articles of clothing they own have been satiated with the smell of mustard and battered sausage. Don't you dare point out that corn dogs are delicious. While that's obvious, that doesn't deter from the fact that smelling like them is less than desirable.
As for their lunacy/instability, that's dead on. Those people are nuts. When the same is said for Alabama fans, a point is generally made to exclude fans who actually attended the school from said group of lunatics. The same cannot be done for LSU. Even those who went there often belong in a sanitarium.
5. [ed. note: Juco All-American is a happily married man. So am I. This question comes from the single Graham Filler to the single Ghost of Jay Cutler. As an aside, you can also tell from his question that Graham has not yet had the joy of setting foot on the campus in Oxford]
You're at a party in Oxford and a 7.5 level-of-hotness girl approaches you wearing a LSU t-shirt, one of those purple ones with giant yellow letters. After a little conversation, three things become clear: 1) She goes to LSU, 2) she loves LSU football, and 3) she's definitely into you. Do you take the night any further?
Seven point five? Seven point five?! Is this an LSU seven point five or an Ole Miss seven point five? Because, if this were baseball, we're talking about comparing a starter for a Pittsburgh minor league affiliate to a starter for the New York Yankees.
Alright, that's a bit unfair and mostly untrue. There is some excelent talent at LSU. Hell, one of the absolute hottest girls from my high school is a proud LSU Tiger, but I cannot say that Ole Miss girls haven't horribly skewed my expectations and perspectives on women. Local rapper Krazy J pegged it when he beautifully elucidated that "All da Fine Girls go to Ole Miss."
But, for the sake of your question, I'll assume she's a 7.5 by Ole Miss standards being as how, in this hypothetical situation, we're at a party in Oxford. So she goes to LSU, loves her Tigers, and is definitely into me, and the question is would take the night any further? You bet. But I likely wouldn't take it much further than just that--a night. Unless there is something incredibly appealing to this woman outside of her being a 7.5 and "into me", I have no real desire to take it beyond that.
Regrettably, I've done worse than a 7.5 (anyone who knows me personally can attest to that), but I've also done way better. The difference between the two is that, with the 7.5 and below, I quit answering phone calls and returning text messages within a few days, at most. With those above that (I would give the most serious girlfriend I had at Ole Miss a nine--yes, I'm biased towards myself and the women I associate with, but trust me on this one), I tried to make them my ladyfriends.
I doubt I would let something like school allegiances get in the way of a good time, especially if it's just for one night. I do love Ole Miss and I hate LSU football and everything it has represented for we Rebels but, unless she starts moaning to the tune of "Chinese Bandits" when the gettin's good, I wouldn't any of that get in the way of an "eventful" night.
Thank you again to both Juco and Ghost of Red Cup Rebellion. We wish Ole Miss the best of luck in beating the hell out of Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl.