For a view from Tiger land on how our opposing fandom is approaching Saturday’s SEC Championship game against Georgia, I checked in with my old friend Owen Scott, who grew up with me in Athens (where his mom still lives), graduated from UGA and has been a clinical psychologist in Baton Rouge for many years.
Owen’s wife is an LSU prof, his oldest daughter in a huge Tiger fan and his youngest daughter graduated from UGA last December but is “a Tiger first, Dawg second,” he admitted.
However, Owen, who’s been following the Dawgs all his life, has remained true to the red and black and posts comments on the Blawg under the name Dr. Morpheus.
“I’ve attended most of the LSU-UGA games in Baton Rouge and seen some great wins (2008) and tough losses (2003) here,” he said. He just lucked into two tickets to the Georgia Dome game at face value and will be in attendance Saturday.
The buzz in Baton Rouge, Owen said, has the locals “feeling cocky.”
Typical of the attitude, Owen said, was the discussion Tuesday on a Baton Rouge sports radio show where the host, former LSU basketball player turned football sideline reporter Jordy Hultberg, thought the Tigers being favored by 13 points was right on the mark.
Said Hultberg: “You gotta be loving what’s going on!”
LSU has seldom trailed, Hultberg said, and even when they were down by 14 points to Arkansas the Tigers had no problem quickly scoring 21 points. “They feed off of big plays, whether it be a big return, a turnover, a breakthrough run. … It was over at halftime.”
The host asked an on-air guest (a local insurance exec) for a prediction on the game with the Dogs and the response was, “I don’t want to be overconfident, but this team has taken care of everyone. It will be worse for Georgia than Arkansas,” which lost to the Tigers 41-17.
In an exchange with a caller, Hultberg said the LSU defense “is smothering. It just makes life miserable for the opposing quarterbacks. And I don’t see any difference with this coming Saturday. We’re coming to win. There’s no back door, we’re coming through the front door.”
Summing up the mood in Baton Rouge, Owen said: “The LSU base is not taking Georgia seriously. They expect to come into the Dome and blow the Dawgs out with their overwhelming defense and pounding rushing attack. It’s up to our guys now to show LSU and the sports world we belong on the same field with the best of the SEC West and consensus No. 1 team in the nation.”
But Owen, at least, is optimistic. “If the LSU players are drinking the fans’ Kool-Aid,” he said, “they will be in for a surprise when they see that, unlike Arkansas, Georgia can stuff the run and pressure the QB. Go Dawgs! GATA!”
Trust him, he’s a doctor.
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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg