There is so much going on right now in the world of sports that it’s actually hard to keep up — even for the biggest nerds such as myself.
But lucky for me, I have folks like you sending me questions, which forces me to sharpen my skills and keep up with everything going on.
So let’s roll. Fire away.
The mailbag was lit this week.
Keep ‘em coming at email@example.com
Q: Can anyone stop Joe Burrow from winning the Heisman Trophy? (Asked by Paul, Houma)
A: I don’t see it. What Joe Burrow has done this season is legendary. It’s actually somewhat hard to even put into words to fully answer your question. In 12 games, Burrow has 44 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. In the 2014, 2015 and 2016 seasons combined, LSU had 42 touchdown passes. But more important than the stats is the moxie and leadership. Burrow is arguably the greatest pure leader in the history of the LSU program. If it’s third and 3, and the pocket breaks down and he has to run for the first down, he will and he isn’t sliding. If a big play needs to be made, he’s making it and there will be no hesitation, nor doubt. The dude is just special. He’s the best player in all of college football.
Q: Does Nicholls stand a chance this weekend? (Asked by Rose, Thibodaux)
A: A chance? Sure, they have a chance. Is it incredibly likely? Nope, probably not. But hey, stranger things have happened — even with this football team. Was it likely that Nicholls would win when Southeastern had the football inside of the 5-yard-line with less than a minute left in their game a few weeks ago? Nope. But they found a way. Can they find a way again? I wouldn’t be shocked if they did. But North Dakota State is a force. They’re like the Alabama of the FCS. They are 12-0 and haven’t often been challenged. This is going to be Nicholls’ toughest test yet — maybe even including dates at Kansas State or Texas State.
Q: Think LSU can keep Joe Brady? (Asked by Monty, Houma)
A: From offensive coordinator jobs, yes. LSU is not going to let someone else scoop up Brady to be an assistant coach. That just isn’t happening. The challenge would come if a Power 5 team wanted Brady to be its head coach. Then things could get a little dicy. But I don’t see that happening — at least not yet. I think it’s pretty safe that Brady will be back in Baton Rouge next fall.
Q: Who are the best local prep basketball teams? (Asked by Reid, Houma)
A: There are some good ones! On the girls’ side, there’s a ton of talent. South Lafourche is good. Thibodaux has a good team, H.L. Bourgeois and Terrebonne are tough. Heck, even Ellender is cruising, despite having lost a lot of players off last year’s team. On the boys’ side, the story is the same with several teams (mostly the usuals) all off to strong starts. Watch out for E.D. White on the boys’ side. They’re super talented and have a lot of experience back. They’re going to quietly have a terrific season. You heard it here first.
Q: How is Vandebilt always so good in soccer? (Asked by Tommy, Thibodaux)
A: This answer could take an entire column in and of itself, but I will simplify my answer by touching on two bullet points. First, the local youth soccer program here is absolutely incredible, and that trains young talent into future prep standouts. That, above anything else, has been why Vandebilt has been able to have success. They’ve had amazing, extraordinary players. But coaching matters, too, and the Terriers have had elite-level coaching on both the boys’ and girls’ side for many, many years.
Q: Settling a debate at my job. Do you think high school basketball needs a shot clock? (Asked by Rodney, Riceland)
A: This is an unpopular answer, but no, I don’t. I think the rules of high school basketball are just fine. I think possession of the ball is a skill, and if you’re capable of keeping the ball away from opponents for 50-seconds, 90-seconds, 2-minutes or however long you want to keep it away, that’s quality offense. By and large, high school teams are not gifted enough to hold the ball that long without losing discipline and shooting and/or turning the ball over. So why punish the few teams with enough ball handling to pull it off? Also, who’s paying for the clocks? It’s more that buying two clocks. There’s wiring and electrical work and all sorts of things that go into it, and it would have to be done at EVERY school. No thank you. I’m good with the rules the way they are.
Q: Who do you think is LSU’s biggest threat in the Playoff? (Asked by Tom, Cut Off)
A: I don’t fear Clemson as much as others do. Heck, they struggled with Texas A&M, and we saw how that all went down on Saturday in Death Valley. For me, I think it’s Oklahoma — as silly as that may be to say. I think LSU is scoring tons of points on anyone it faces, so the team I fear most is the team that can create a shootout and potentially outscore the Tigers. Ohio State could maybe fall in that category, too, but for me, Jalen Hurts is far superior to Justin Fields. Both used to be in the SEC, and one won Titles, while the other was a backup that proved mostly ineffective.
Q: What local non-playoff team is most likely to be in the playoffs in 2020 for football (Asked by Pete, Houma)
A: Houma Christian would be the easiest cop-out answer because they will have an automatic bid into the field in Division III if they want it (they opted out of postseason this year). But to answer your question more honestly, I’ll say Ellender. The Patriots weren’t far from contention in 2019. They lost a lot of close games. That, and they were brutally young. With the vast majority of their core back in 2020, I can easily see them winning 4-6 games and getting in.