Maybe it would be a good idea if LSU just kept North Texas off the schedule.
The last two times the Mean Green were slated to appear in Tiger Stadium, things got pretty dicey.
Not on the field, mind you, where Les Miles’ men drummed the Denton, Tex., outfit 56-3 and 41-3, respectively, but in the Gulf of Mexico.
It started in 2005, when the first game Miles was to ever coach as Tiger boss got postponed.
The opponent was to be North Texas. The scheduled date of the season opener was to be Sept. 3.
Records now show that the LSU-UNT game didn’t happen that season until Oct. 29, when the purple and gold administered the aforementioned 56-3 smack-down.
But that shift only occurred after Hurricane Katrina forever changed the lives of everyone in Louisiana, in particular those living closest to the New Orleans area.
Hurricanes, unlike earthquakes, don’t have aftershocks.
Katrina, however, did in many ways, sending tremors through the state and southeastern part of our country for weeks and months to come. The affects were felt in every walk of life, including football scheduling.
One week after postponing its 2005 season opener at home, LSU, an institution with many facilities basically turned into triage units at the time, had its second game altered too.
What was supposed to be a home game versus Pac-10 foe Arizona State became a road game in Tempe, one the Tigers were fortunate to win 35-31 on a last-ditch touchdown catch (wink-wink) by Early Doucet on a 39-yard fling from JaMarcus Russell.
It was magic in the desert.
As it turned out, that magic was sandwiched in between horrors in the gulf.
Two weeks later, still battered and bruised by Katrina, southwest Louisiana bore the brunt of Hurricane Rita.
Again, for the third time in less than a month, LSU football saw its routine change.
Saturday in Death Valley became Monday Night Football in the Red Stick as the Tigers hosted No. 10 Tennessee on Monday, Sept. 26.
The magic from Tempe didn’t carry over, though.
LSU lost arguably the most painful game during the Miles Era, falling 30-27 in overtime after the Vols and backup quarterback Rick Clausen - a former LSU Tiger - erased a 21-0 LSU lead.
Fast-forward to 2008 and the Mean Green were back on the LSU schedule.
But, before the Tigers could get to North Texas (or season-opening opponent Appalachian State, for that matter), something was again brewing in the gulf.
Gustav had dastardly plans for Baton Rouge, and, in accordance, Joe Alleva and the LSU brass moved up the Appy State opener six hours to a 10 a.m. kickoff on Aug. 31.
It was unequivocally the hottest game I’ve ever attended in Tiger Stadium.
Behind a monster day from running back Charles Scott, LSU coasted to a 41-13 victory.
A day later Hurricane Gustav effectively sent Baton Rouge back into the Medieval Times, with fallen trees damaging houses and knocking out power for days and, for some, weeks on end.
The same song spun in 2005 played again, with more changes to the Tiger football slate in store.
The Troy game, originally earmarked for Sept. 6, was moved back to Nov. 15. LSU was fortunate to win that Homecoming game when it was eventually played, with quarterback Jarrett Lee putting the Tigers in a nearly insurmountable hole before digging them back out and leading a come-from-behind 40-31 victory.
It was surreal.
Not as surreal, though, as lightning striking twice in a four-period.
It is interesting to note that after the moved-up Appalachian State game Aug. 31 and after the postponed Troy game Sept. 6, LSU’s return to normalcy and the team’s first opponent post-Gustav was none other than North Texas on Sept. 13.
The Tigers won 41-3.
And so we as Louisianans brace ourselves now, in advance of kickoff 2012, for whatever Isaac has up its sleeve.
Not so coincidentally, the team scheduled to be on the opposing sideline in Baton Rouge this Saturday: North Texas.
Still, Miles, who has helped LSU weather every storm mentioned above (and some others - see Hurricane Shady, 2011), is correct in noting this whole thing is old hat to him.
“The good news is we’ve been through this before. We know how to do this,” Miles told reporters Monday. “We’ll figure it out. Certainly, the administration will give us great direction and we’ll have contingency plans, and we’ll be ready …
“It’s a pretty simple view given some choices of where they [the players] might stay and hunker down and let’s see what happens after. Again, I don’t think anybody can predict, and the only thing we can predict is make the adjustment that’ll work because we’ve done it in the past.”
For a man who didn’t grown up in hurricane alley, that’s about as ideal a viewpoint as is humanly possible.
And, you know what, that’s how all of us should feel.
Louisiana has been through this before. Louisianans are tough.
In short we’re prepared for whatever comes our way, and we’ll make it through to the other side.
Now, the only important thing is making sure we’re in good shape when we get there.
By the time the exhausting 2005 campaign came to a close, LSU had gone 11-2.
When 2008 was over, the Tigers had slumped to 8-5.
Tiger fans will hope that Captain Miles can steer the LSU ship to safer harbors than that by the time the 2012 season is done.
South Beach will probably suit most of them just fine.