Typically, we wrap up the year in sports in our July magazine, but with the abrupt end of the Tiger baseball season, we will look back at the 2004-05 season of LSU athletics in June.
In this issue, we will flash back to the top moments of the year. However, at the same time, feature the lowlights as well. From Ross Neltner's tip-in against Alabama to Xavier Carter taking a knee on the one-yard line at Georgia, it is all here. A year in which LSU said goodbye to Nick Saban, Brandon Bass, Marcus Spears and Temeka Johnson, Tiger fans welcomed a new football coach, chanted "Big Baby" and watched as women's basketball became fashionable in Tigertown.
In this issue, we feature the Top 10 games you will want to relive again and again, while at the same time, 10 others you want to forget about. Maybe you already have?
Also, the postseason awards are handed out. After careful consideration, we unveil our picks for LSU's Male and Female Players of the Year as well as the top coach and newcomer of the 2004-05 season. Just for kicks, we toss in who else we considered for the seasonal awards.
Something new to our Tiger Rag Year in Review this summer, we spotlight the top 10 (actually its 11) individual performances of the sports season. There you will find Seimone Augustus' perfect game, Greg Smith's shutout streak and a freshman named Troutman earning his stripes as a freshman.
Due to issues with page space, we had to exclude one portion of our seasonal recap. However, the review is not complete without mentioning "LSU's Off-the Field Fiascos." Too often fans (and media alike) pay more attention to controversy that the happenings on the field are sometimes overshadowed. But those events are a component of athletics that makes the sports world go round.
Speaking of controversial topics in 2004-05, the most newsworthy fiasco is (without a doubt) the media circus surrounding the end of the Nick Saban era at LSU. From the speculation which began to swell near the end of the regular season, to Saban's announcement in mid December about his talks with the Dolphins. Then came the Christmas Eve vigil, Saban's escape on the next day and his low key press conference for the Miami media in Orlando on Christmas day. Then, to cap it off appropriately, the CapitalOne Bowl debacle.
In the wake of Saban's departure, the media blitz concerning the hiring of LSU's 32nd football coach Les Miles. Lured away from Oklahoma State, Miles was announced on Jan. 4, one year to the day after the Tigers won the BCS National Title. Soon to follow was the discussion of which assistants would stay or go. Will Muschamp, Derek Dooley and Bobby Williams followed Saban to South Beach, while Jimbo Fisher and Stacey Searles hung around to join Miles. Karl Dunbar rejoined the LSU family and Bo Pelini was hired as the new defensive coordinator from Oklahoma.
Moving on to other football fiascos, there was the Melvin Oliver situation last summer concerning an alleged fight between the Tiger defensive end and his girlfriend. Also, just recently, the Shawn Jordan incident where the LSU fullback was caught smuggling steroids across the border from Juarez, Mexico.
Also on the football side of things, Tiger fans have watched in awe for the last nine months the demolition and reconstruction of Tiger Stadium's west upper deck. The question now lingers, "will it be finished on time?"
Speaking of construction, the LSU campus looks like a disaster area as several projects are currently underway. Along with Death Valley's renovations, Mike the Tiger's cage, the football operations center as well as major internal renovations to the Maravich Center are currently being completed.
A couple of coaches were issued pink slips this season. Georgia and Danielle Fotopolous were fired as the Tigers' soccer co-head coaches. LSU golf coach Greg Jones resigned at the end of the season and Tiger baseball volunteer assistant coach Jody Autery decided to leave the coaching ranks.
On the recruiting trail, the biggest soap opera in LSU recruiting history unfolded on signing day when East St. John quarterback Ryan Perrilloux, the nation's top signal calling prospect, spouted off about his fellow teammates. Perrilloux was reported as saying how he planned to be the LSU quarterback next fall and how he is much better than the current Tiger field generals. Things could get dicey come August.
Finally, the old timers got up in arms about LSU renewing its storied football series with hated Tulane. It wasn't that the Tigers will begin playing its arch rival again, for the first time since 1996, but that LSU agreed to a 10-year, home and home contract with the Green Wave. It wasn't the first scheduling controversy of the season. LSU fans were far from happy when it was announced the Tigers filled their final home date for the 2005 season with I-AA Appalachian State.
So sit back and enjoy a comprehensive look at the 2004-05 sports season. It is well worth the read.
In our next issue, Tiger Rag explores the issue of growing expectations for LSU's athletic teams. An article titled "How high is too high?" will focus in on the ever-rising expectations and pressure placed on the Tigers coaches and administrators. We will get their view on this topic as well as add our opinion of where we see LSU athletic heading.
Also in our July edition, Sonny Shipp will update you on the hottest recruiting prospects and we visit with former Tiger gymnastic coach and ex-Olympian Armando Vega.
DON'T FORGET – Tiger Rag's 2005 LSU Football Preview is just around the corner. The preview edition will hit newsstands everywhere Aug. 2.
Matt Deville is the editor of Tiger Rag Magazine. He can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.