So many programs play FBS or FCS football in Louisiana that it’s sometimes possible to omit one or two of them and reveal oneself to be a college football scatterbrain and thus an embarrassment to society in general. Then comes a week such as this, and it’s advisable to cram as many as possible into memory.
In Week 4 of the season, the 25th-most populous state, which doesn’t see itself as 25th-most anything on the subject of football, will serve as the national capital of a week full of timeworn yet relevant terminology such as “trap game” and “letdown” and “overlook” and “how we handle this win moving forward.” After all the whoa wins of Week 3, here comes Trap Game Letdown Overlook How We Handle This Win Moving Forward week, headquarters Louisiana.
Get all this: No. 6 LSU (3-0), which scored that big win at then-No. 7 Auburn last week, will try to avoid a letdown and a trap game plus any overlooking of Louisiana Tech (2-0), which is inbound for a night game. Troy (2-1), which is in Alabama and which scored that big win at Nebraska last week, will try to avoid a letdown trap when it goes to Monroe, La., to play UL Monroe (2-1), with memories of how Troy beat LSU last year but lost 10 days later at home, by a clunky 19-8 score, to South Alabama.
“Now it’s about how we handle this win moving forward,” Troy Coach Neal Brown said after the Nebraska win, upholding the how-we-handle-this-win portion of the program.
The biggest, splashiest win in the country last week, of course, belonged to No. 25 Brigham Young (2-1), which changed the shape of the College Football Playoff map by winning so impressively at Wisconsin, setting up a trap game against the FCS No. 10 team McNeese (3-0), which is in, voila, Louisiana (Lake Charles).
“They beat Nicholls State who beat Kansas early in the year,” BYU Coach Kalani Sitake said on his weekly show. “I believe they’re going to try to do what we did to Wisconsin.”
Nicholls State is in Louisiana (Thibodaux) while, speaking of Kansas, the Jayhawks (2-1) have recovered to become one of the early-season stories as they parade into Waco to play Baylor (2-1). While neither Kansas nor Baylor is in Louisiana, Kansas has thrived largely with freshman running back Pooka Williams Jr. and his 288 rushing yards in two games, and with freshman cornerback Corione Harris and his eight tackles, one interception and one pass breakup.
As Kansas Coach David Beaty put it before the season started, “We just signed the two highest-rated guys in KU history. Since there have been rankings kept, [cornerback] Corione Harris and Pooka Williams, are the two highest-rated guys that have been signed.”
Both are from New Orleans.
Then there’s the big coaching return of the week, as Urban Meyer resumes his familiar place along the sideline for No. 4 Ohio State (3-0), which copes with its large win over No. 15 TCU, but does seem capable of deluging the whole trap-game concept with talent and knowhow as it plays Tulane (1-2) from, of course, New Orleans.
Happy Louisiana Week to all.
“This weekend at LSU is a great opportunity for us as a program,” Louisiana Tech Coach Skip Holtz said at his weekly news conference. “In the past 120 years, we have played this game 19 times, and only three times since 1941. Now, with our record at 1-18 against LSU, we understand the uphill challenge that faces us.”
Holtz went on to speak about LSU Coach Ed Orgeron, who used to be terrible when his team lost to Troy but now is excellent after beating Miami (Fla.) and Auburn: “I spoke a lot this summer about the way he has pulled all the state schools together with camps and recruiting, while trying to keep everything at home. I give him an awful lot of credit for the job that he did, and the way that he spearheaded that whole task of keeping in-state recruiting at home.
“That’s going to benefit not only LSU, but it’s going to benefit all of us. It’s going to benefit every school in the state. There are great players in this state and if we could put walls up around the state and keep it all home, every program in this state is only going to get better.”
So many of them will be relevant this week, even tangentially on a game that will take place in Austin. Texas (2-1), with its coach (Tom Herman) who once was bound for LSU but actually wasn’t, will try to build upon its 37-14 win over Southern California. Texas does not face a trap game per se as it faces TCU (2-1) which, after all, has beaten Texas four straight times and five out of six.
Yet in the strange mathematics of college football, Texas-TCU might bear some trap-game trappings, given Texas’ eternal view of itself. “I ain’t gonna lie,” cornerback Kris Boyd told reporters after the win last Saturday night. “I feel like we’re kind of proving that we’re back.”
He said that only two weeks after a befuddling loss at Maryland, but if Texas could beat TCU on Trap Game Letdown Week, do expect more Longhorns to say the same, even if they won’t be saying it from Louisiana.