Viewpoint: November 2, 2011

We're just days away from the much anticipated showdown between LSU and Alabama. While soaring to No. 1 in the rankings, LSU has all too often been in the headlines off the field for all of the wrong reasons this season.

But, last week came some off the field news that we can all be proud of. The NCAA released this year's graduation success rates and the LSU football program had the second highest in the SEC at 77 percent, trailing only Vanderbilt.

That 77 percent graduation rate is not only second in the SEC, it's 10 points above the national average. It's also a tremendous improvement from when the rates were first calculated in 2006, when LSU's stood at only 51 percent.

So, while the spotlight will be on this weekend's epic showdown, we'd like to say hats off to everyone involved at LSU for an academic job well done off the field. We have an incredible passion for football here in south Louisiana, making it easy to forget that these are student-athletes and that priority number one should be a quality education and successful completion of a degree.

And, just in case you're wondering, Alabama's graduation rate is 69 percent. An 8-point victory sounds good for Saturday too, don't you think? To that we say, "Bring on Bama!"