The Marks Post: Weathered Tigers
BY: TONY MARKS
The first game of the season for LSU against the Cougars of BYU should have been played in Houston this weekend, but a little thing called Harvey had other plans. The game has since been moved to the Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
This move is creating some similarities to the 2005 season. The main similarity is with the head coach. The 2005 season was Les Miles’ first year at the helm of the Tiger football team, and this year is Ed Orgeron’s first season with the interim tag removed.
The first game of the 2005 season was supposed to be played in Tiger Stadium against Arizona State. However, a little thing called Katrina forced the game to be relocated to Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz.
I was in the stadium on that Saturday night in the desert. My sister Allison was a student at LSU at the time, so I upgraded her student ticket. I flew into Phoenix the day before the game, and my hotel was a short cab ride away from the stadium. The hotel in Tempe was across the street from a place called Pete’s Fish and Chips. I ate there that night and got a bumper sticker for my car.
The next morning I walked around the scenic campus taking pictures. I bumped into some locals who were, ironically enough, some Chicago Cubs fans. This really was not unusual being that the Cubs hold their Spring Training in nearby Mesa. These local Cub fans invited me to tailgate with them in a parking garage near the stadium. I went meet them and experienced my first tailgate away from the LSU campus.
Game time drew near, and I found my way into Sun Devil Stadium. It is the home stadium of Arizona State and, at the time, was the home stadium of the Arizona Cardinals and the Fiesta Bowl. Since I was alone, I was able to sit with my newly found friends. I was wearing my purple and gold in a sea of maroon and gold. The fans around me were understandably giving me a hard time throughout the game, but I got the last laugh when JaMarcus Russell found Early Doucet for a game winning 39-yard touchdown reception. Doucet actually caught the football directly across from me. That is one of many memories from the weekend in Tempe that I will hold onto for a while.
LSU that year went on to an 11-2 record overall and a conference record of 7-1. The only loss during the regular season came against the Tennessee Volunteers on a Monday night in Tiger Stadium. The game was Les Miles’ home debut and was moved to the Monday because of Hurricane Rita. I got off of work at the clerk’s office and drove over to Baton Rouge. Parking was a nightmare, so I had to park at an apartment complex on Burbank and walk to the stadium. I used my sister’s upgraded student ticket to sit in the student section and sat with some LSU students from Ville Platte.
One of the wins in 2005 was in overtime against number four Alabama in Tuscaloosa. A week later LSU beat Ole Miss on the road, and I was in the stadium for that game as well. It was my second trip to Oxford as two seasons before I went on a student bus trip from LSU to the game.
The Tigers closed out that 2005 season losing to Georgia in the SEC Championship game and winning in the Peach Bowl against Miami. I was sitting two rows from the field in the end zone that night in Atlanta. That season ironically enough began and ended with hurricanes.
None of us know what this season will bring, but I for one hope this season that has started off a lot like that 2005 season will find our weathered Tigers getting wins in Tuscaloosa and in Atlanta in the College Football Playoff National Championship.