It’s a fair bet that many SEC football fans do not know who LSU is playing tonight. Their Texas Bowl opponent is the 7-5 Kansas State Wildcats. Under normal circumstances, the game would not much matter to those other than the fervent fans of both teams. But tonight’s game is far from normal circumstances.
As of Tuesday afternoon, LSU will play the game without a scholarship quarterback. Max Johnson has transferred to Texas A&M and though Myles Brennan has returned from the Transfer Portal, he is not available to play. Garrett Nussmeier is available, but playing in a fifth game this season would mean burning a redshirt opportunity.
Instead, interim head coach, Brad Davis is expected to go with one of a pair of walk-ons or possibly a converted wide receiver.
The LSU disadvantage at quarterback is matched by reports the Bengal Tigers will play the game with only 39 scholarship players. There will be no Derek Stingley Jr.; no Kayshon Boutte; no Damone Clark and no Tyrion Davis-Price. And those are just a few of the key players who will not suit up for LSU Tuesday night. Another one, Eli Ricks is already an Alabama Crimson Tide player.
It would be easy for opposing fans to chirp about the disarray in Baton Rouge. Most of it is the result of the program’s lack of coherent leadership and the residual effect of buying into the delusion that Ed Orgeron was a competent head coach.
Texas Bowl Kudos to LSU
But in this case, LSU is to be applauded. The Bengal Tigers could have easily taken the Jimbo Fisher ‘no-mas’ position and falsely claim they were not able to field a team. Just as Texas A&M was and LSU is, there are more than enough players for a game. Guys who may otherwise have never played in an LSU game, including many walk-ons will have a unique opportunity to battle in purple and gold.
The college football world did not miss the irony of A&M skipping out of their bowl game. Evidently, the 12th man concept in College Station is nothing more than a historical relic.
The Bengal Tigers will play. However they play, and whatever the score, they will win tonight. A sincere ‘hat tip’ to the LSU program is in order.
Does Brian Kelly deserve any credit for the program’s bowl decision? Maybe not, but he will get a boost from it.