By GLENN GUILBEAU – Gannett Louisiana
TAMPA, Fla. – Iowa has its Field of Dreams near Dyersville, Iowa — about a four-hour drive from that LSU Mecca known as Omaha, Neb., where Tiger fans flock almost every summer as if to find eternal youth.
Somehow that mid-June fervor for the open road has not translated to this late December for the LSU Nation, which will debut its own version of “Field of Dreams” here at the Outback Bowl when the Tigers (9-3) play the University of Iowa (8-4) at noon Wednesday on ESPN.
Iowa’s “Field of Dreams” featured dead Major League players as ghosts playing ball by day and sleeping in a cornfield next to the outfield by night on Ray Kinsella’s farm in the brilliant 1989 film of the same name. LSU’s “Field of Dreams” will feature missing in action LSU fans as ghosts – or disguised as empty seats – in Raymond James Stadium.
Where are all these great LSU fans? All I’ve seen around here is Black and Gold, and it’s not the Saints. There will be more Saints fans in Philadelphia for a loss that they already see coming than there will be LSU fans at the Outback Bowl for a win that they already see coming. Only 6,000 tickets have been sold by LSU — perhaps an all-time low for “the greatest fans ever.”
What are LSU fans doing? Yes, it wasn’t a perfect season like two years ago before the bowl, but this is the perfect bowl for an underachieving but still pretty good team. It’s in warm and sunny Tampa, where LSU has not been for a football game since 1988. More LSU fans went to Independence Bowls than this. Tampa’s a great city, and unlike New Orleans this week, it doesn’t have Alabama people all over the place. What better time to leave Louisiana than when Nick Saban and Finebaum’s Phyllis are in town for the Sugar Bowl?
Oh, and you have a new quarterback to watch in person who is 1-for-1 in game day Joe Montana impersonations.
Then after the Outback Bowl, which LSU should win even if it doesn’t play that well, Tiger fans can stay over and go to the Under Armour All-American Bowl on Thursday in St. Petersburg to watch New Orleans tailback Leonard Fournette run like a combination of Charles Alexander and Cecil Collins and then commit to the Tigers on national television — along with possibly three or four more of the state’s and nation’s very best prospects.
Saban’s in New Orleans, but Fournette and all these other studs from the state are not. They’re here along with the future of LSU. So why aren’t you LSU fans here?
And then on Friday, everyone could drive just 90 minutes to Disney World for the weekend.
What is up with LSU these days by the way? The fans don’t want to go to the games. There were many empty seats at most of the games this season. And the players want to leave before they’ve been on campus for four years. I thought LSU was this great place to play and watch football, and that Les Miles was the nicest guy in the world to be coached by.
OK, there have been six losses in the last two seasons, with two to Alabama, after only three losses in the two previous seasons.
But LSU fans still should not be in such a funk. The Tigers could win 10 games for four straight seasons for the first time in history Wednesday, and Thursday could be the greatest single day in LSU football recruiting history.
Yet Iowa fans have made this their Omaha while LSU is suddenly traveling like Stanford.
Glenn Guilbeau covers LSU and New Orleans Saints football for Gannett, the Des Moines Register’s parent company
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football