Let me simply offer my impressions of the game and experience.
Saturday afternoon I left New Orleans for Baton Rouge to attend the game. The wife of a couple who I and the VOR have found to be great people and friends (side note to all the married couples with kids who read this blog: if you find a couple that you both like treat them like gold! If your kids like their kids then it is too good to be true!) gave me her ticket so I and her husband could attend (yeah I know I owe her big time). We arrived in the capitol city sometime around 4, if I am not mistaken. Within two and one half minutes after we parked someone yelled "tiger bait" at me since I was wearing a WVU hat and t-shirt. (I am of the pro-West Virginia and pan-Appalachia school of thought: it is one's moral duty to promote, defend, and cheer on all things West Virginia and Appalachia).
We moseyed on up to a bar to grab some lunch and a beer but learned it was an hour and half wait, so we moseyed next door hoping for better luck. The wait at restaurant #2 was 30 minutes, doable we thought. So we headed up to the bar, ordered a couple of bud lights and watched the alabama vs. arkansas game. We moved from the bar to the side for a little breathing room - unbeknownst to me we were also near the bathrooms. A few minutes later a college girl came up, started pinching me on the belly and saying "tiger bait, tiger bait, tiger bait." It was the most embarrassing moment of my 30s. I know my face turned 10 shades of red and I could barely breathe, my friend just laughed.
After another round we headed off near the stadium hoping to grab a bite around the student union. It is here that I need to insert my feelings of awe at the number of people tailgating, they were everywhere. Why someone would haul the amount of food, chairs, tents, stereos and yes large screen televisions for a few hours of tailgating is beyond me. I personally would not want to set all that up each week but I would I happily mooch off someone who had - I would probably even pay to hang out with them. I also need to insert how damn proper everyone was. I expected folk to yell and curse at me for wearing WVU paraphanelia, instead they all teased me with the constant "tiger bait" but they all said it with a smile on their face. One time I asked where the bathroom was located and one student politely directed me to the nearest lavatory. It was too bizarre.
Next year LSU travels to Morgantown. Several LSU fans have expressed interest in traveling up north for the game. I am advising them to think long and hard about this. Morgantown is not Baton Rouge and WVU fans are not like LSU fans. I am sure folk will yell and curse at them, throw beer on them & etc. And I'm not even talking about the student section!
About a couple hours before kickoff we headed towards "the hill" to watch the band descend and run into the stadium. I couldn't believe all the people waiting to watch the band, that would never happen in WV. Dont get me wrong the band was great.
After the band parade it was time to get something to eat. We settled on a stand outside of the stadium selling jambalaya and boudain balls. Since I did not eat lunch it was the best jambalaya and boudain balls I had ever had! (I could not believe there was no beer to go with it! Apparently you cannot sell alcohol at SEC games, which really threw me for a loop. I bet New Orleans folk go to games and think they entered bizarro world in B.R.).
We finally settled into our seats at the stadium to watch the game. After a few minutes I noticed a phenomena that made me feel right at home: Louisiana has just as many if not more rednecks than WV. As the kickoff neared the music switched from JayZ to Don Williams (now dont get me wrong I love Don Williams just as much as the next guy but it did seem a bit of a musical stretch to have those two played back-to-back. The selection: Louisiana Saturday Night.) Then an interesting seguey to Born on the Bayou by CCR then a flourishing finish with Calling Baton Rouge by Garth Brooks. Yes, everyone was singing and dancing and you can easily see why I felt so "at home." Plus the two gentlemen to my left could have easily been my neighbors back on Dry Ridge. These guys were loaded by the time they entered the stadium, luckily they were well past drunk by kickoff and had entered into the sleepy zone.
The game, it was sloppy and boring. The excitement the crowd exhibited was when the booed the quarterback and the constant calling of the option. My biggest surprise concerned the calmness of the crowd: I expected to stand for the entire game, cheer my head off, and go crazy. They were too polite!
Around midnight the game ended, we headed back for New Orleans, and listened to the post game shows. One of the last callers suggested LSU ask the baton twiller for WVU to try out for quarterback. The host did not like that suggestion and quickly ended the call but the caller had a point. During the halftime show the baton twiller threw the baton at least 45 yards across the field and someone actually caught it. I was amazed.
All in all it was a great time and I look forward to taking the family up for a game in the future. Thanks for the Louisiana Saturday Night.