LSU will be going Atlanta to face Clemson in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl on New Year's Eve. Thanks to a BCS reshuffle with the addition of a MAC champion, the Tigers found themselves in the SEC's designated fifth (FIFTH!) bowl. This will be LSU's sixth trip to Atlanta for the Peach/Chick-Fil-A Bowl and it's never lost. Not only that, LSU has met Clemson before in this game, in 1996. That was another year LSU was passed on by higher bowls for teams they had already beaten.
By being the fifth-place bowl, that means that UGA, Texas A&M and South Carolina were all picked for bowls before LSU. Two of those teams lost to LSU, are behind them in the BCS rankings, yet got picked for bowl games before LSU for whatever reason. If you needed any more fuel for the LSU-gets-shafted-by-the-SEC-continually fire, you just got some.
I could spend this entire entry on how LSU got the raw end of the deal again. I could go into how head-to-head is always used against LSU when bowl season comes, but when it would help the Tigers it's ignored. I could go into how LSU-OU and LSU-Michigan would have been better games than how they worked out. I could go on about how the SEC schedules the best out of division teams for LSU but gives Alabama a cakewalk. I could talk about how the league office reportedly lobbied to "protect" the SEC Championship Game loser Georgia by forcing the Capital One Bowl's hand into picking them. Something they could, should, have done to keep their most successful program of the past decade from falling all the way to a fith place bowl. I could mention that LSU will mark only the fifth time a top 10 team will have played in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl, with LSU already being one of those five, just to further illustrate how LSU gets no help when bowls are selected. I could go into how of the I could do all of these things, but they wouldn't get us anywhere.
Rather, let's discuss what is positive about this game. Atlanta is an excellent destination & I would take it over any of the Florida bowls in a heart beat. The city has always treated LSU well and its an easy trip for fans. Not only that, LSU will be opening next season in the Dallas in the Cowboys Classic so LSU fans will get to go there soon anyhow.
Clemson comes into the game with a high powered offense led by QB Tahj Boyd & speedy wideouts Sammy Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins. Remember those shaky LSU DBs we saw the past couple weeks? Well this matchup should be interesting again. We'll get to see if some of the young guys who've been picked on lately learn anything over the long layover.
Last year's misgivings in New Orleans aside, Les Miles-led teams always perform extremely well in bowl games. In the two Chick-Fil-A Bowls he's coached at LSU, the Tigers have outscored their opponents 78-6. If anything, we'll see an offense that continues to get great throw up some nasty numbers against a weak ACC defense that will set the team up for another run at all the marbles in 2013. We've seen numerous LSU quarterbacks put together great bowl games to set up great seasons thereafter. This game could be the perfect situation for Zach Mettenberger to really set the table for next season.
But still…thanks for nothing, SEC.