Man, I'm glad I don't live in Minneapolis right about now. Don't you? It's a pretty miserable place to be for more than reason. The frigid city is buried in snow; the Metrodome roof collapsed because of the heavy white stuff, and the Minnesota Vikings' playoff hopes are likewise in the deep freeze. The city's college football team will also suffer through a long and hard winter…as the Golden Gophers of Minnesota won't be playing in any of college football's 35 bowl games. The holidays won't be so happy for the Gophers after a miserable 3-9 season.
Things are much happier in Louisiana.
For only the third time ever, the LSU Tigers and New Orleans Saints have both won 10 games or more in the same season. The previous two seasons occurred in 1987 (Tommy Hodson and the Tigers finished 10-1-1 and #5 in the land, while Jim Mora's Saints enjoyed their first winning season and first ever playoff appearance with a final 12-4 mark) and 2006 (Les Miles Bayou Bengals posted an 11-2 mark, with a #3 final ranking after blasting Notre Dame 41-14 in the Sugar Bowl, while the Saints became one of the sports stories of the year in Sean Payton's debut season a year after Hurricane Katrina).
Things have been much worse.
I can certainly remember years when the postseason hopes of the Tigers and Saints seemed to die simultaneously with the falling leaves from autumn trees. For example…do any of you remember the misery of 1999? Mike Ditka's final year in New Orleans was on par with his entire stint with the Saints….a disaster. The team finished a horrific 3-13 and Ditka was soon launched without a "Super Bowl Shuffle" or even one winning season during his three years on the job. LSU on the other hand was celebrating their 100-year anniversary of football with a pitiful 3-8 debacle that, likewise, led to the firing of the head coach. After a promising three-start, Gerry Dinardo was canned after a five-year stint in Baton Rouge.
We have no such problems this year. The 10-3 Saints are on fire, winning six straight games after a Superdome stinker against the Cleveland Browns. Drew Brees and the boys haven't clinched a playoff berth yet, but it only appears to be a matter of time. LSU wobbled through their share of shaky wins, but beating Nick Saban's Alabama Crimson Tide paved the way for a 10-2 regular season finish. Fans should be excited about the January 7th Cotton Bowl matchup against Texas A&M. It's the first meeting between the two rivals in 15 years and the atmosphere at the new Cowboy's stadium (Jerry World or The Jones-Mahal if you prefer) should be absolutely electric.
So life is good on the Bayou. We get enough cold weather to keep the holidays cozy and romantic …yet we can still leave our homes and travel without snow wrecking our lives.
And we have exciting postseason football to look forward to. LSU is in an historic bowl game, and the Saints are making a strong run towards a "Two Dat."