BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - When LSU takes the field Saturday night against the University of Idaho, a very important "someone" may not be with them.
A fascination for Mike the Tiger starts at an early age for some LSU fans. Families and students often flock to his habitat to see the 460 pounder up close and personal.
"There's just a sense of pride that you have a huge, massive, live tiger on your campus every day," said Linsey Roach, an LSU freshman. "How many other campuses get to do that? Yeah, sure Texas A&M, sure you have a dog. We've got a tiger."
The Tiger faithful also look forward to Mike's game day appearances inside of Death Valley during football season
"Opposing players are scared to death, even though they're jocks and they don't want to admit it," said Todd Breland, an LSU alumni. "They know coming through the south tunnel, when they hear and see Mike...they may soil. I don't know maybe so."
This year LSU's intimidator may not be at every home game.
"Some days, Mike likes to choose to load into the trailer and go to the game, and other days he chooses to stay in the comfort and the relative quiet of his night house," said Dr. David Baker, the university's attending veterinarian.
Baker says Mike's unpredictable moods are typical of any animal. He says this year, he and his staff will play each game day by ear.
"We can't force him, and of course we wouldn't anyway if we could," said Baker. "And we never sedate him or give him any type of drugs to cause him to go to the games."
While fans would love to have Mike on the sidelines at every single home football game , they understand that you can lead a horse - well, tiger - to the water, but you cannot make it drink.
"It's showing our respect and admiration for the tiger itself and how much we love Mike," said Roach.
Dr. Baker does not believe Mike is bothered by the thousands of fans in and around the stadium on game days . He says Mike is actually a very confident tiger who just likes to do things on his own terms.