The LSU fan base is the most entertaining in the SEC. They’re the craziest, drunkest, loudest group of partiers in an SEC that is filled with crazy, drunk, and loud fans. But by and large they also have the best senses of humor in the SEC. Lots of SEC fan bases are incredibly sensitive and insecure — Alabama football and Kentucky basketball fans are the leaders in the insecurity clubhouse — quick to jump to anger in the face of anything other than blatant homerism, nearly incapable of, as a whole, laughing about their team. (There are thousands of exceptions to the overall rule from both these fan bases so stop with those emails.). But after seven years of traveling to games, writing about teams on the Internet, and interacting with fans on a daily basis I have a pretty good sense for the collective fan atmosphere, and LSU fans are the most fun in the SEC.
That said, they are also the craziest.
And their craziness manifests itself in crazy Internet ways. Remember As the Plains Burn? That John Grisham-like story about the impending doom of Auburn athletics was everywhere last year. Of course none of it has been proven to have any basis in fact….yet. Where did it come from? LSU fans. Initially that story was posted on TigerDroppings.com — the most wildly entertaining message board in the SEC — and ultimately it found its way to email.
If you’re an SEC fan with an email address and a working computer, eventually you read this story.
Now we have a series of LSU emails that have gone viral and purport to explain why LSU played so poorly last week. LSU fans were so shocked by Alabama’s destruction of their team that there had to be something more than meets the eye. (In their defense Les Miles not playing Jarrett Lee also pushed several LSU fans to the point where they will believe anything).
The reason for the destruction according to these viral emails which have found their way to blog postings and rival team message boards — team disunity.
What’s most intriguing about the emails — there are several different versions circulating now — is that they’re all a bit different.
The first email appeared within two days of the title game. By this past weekend it had hit mass currency and was officially everywhere.
What does that email say:
(Note, no one named Lois actually works in the LSU football office).
“I spoke to my friend Lois who works in the football office last night. She was away from the office and could tell me more. Everyone associated with the program was told to stick to the same story…………”Strudawa & T-Bob Hebert” had words & that’s why Hebert didn’t play.
That’s not the story.
Game plan was for Lee to play. About 3-4 hours before the game after a team meeting the players knew the game plan and were discussing it. Jefferson made a comment that Lee didn’t have what it took to play in this type of game. Blackwell, Hebert & other white guys defended Lee in a big yelling match. Things cooled off cause Strudawa came in and told them to get ready to head to game & let it be. When they got to superdome Lee was one of the last getting off the bus. He was down & upset cause of the “ordeal” and felt bad that he had friends standing up for him. Strudawa told him to shake it off they were sticking to the game plan. In the meantime when they got to the locker room Jefferson & Shepherd said that Strudawa was going to make Jefferson look bad cause he didn’t want Jefferson to play he wanted Lee……..well Hebert nearly killed Jefferson. Strudawa had a meeting with Miles and Strudawa told him that Lee needed the chance to play and that Alabama was not ready for Lee to play. Miles said it was his call & he didn’t want Lee or Hebert on the field. When Strudawa said that they both were going to play Miles told him to start looking for another job. He said I will fire you tomorrow and you will have to find yourself another job. He told him the 5-10 plays he wanted to be played and it was not anything what the team had practiced. Strudawa said well your fellow Shepherd won’t play either but Miles overruled that too. Team was confused as to why the game plan had changed with no explanations. It got very heated between Strudawa & Miles. She said Miles does this with every offensive coordinator. He said Strudawa kept telling him we have won 13 games doing it our way (meaning he & Kragthorpe) and now you will change & lose everything over him. Said that it became a black & white issue with the players & Shepherd kept mouthing off saying they couldn’t do it without Jefferson & himself. Hebert & others said that’s what you think. Said that Strudawa didn’t want Shepherd in the game at all but Miles demanded that he be put in for 3 plays only. Said that the team was in shock and upset because what they have been working on & the plays they ran in practice were never used during the game & that all the plays that Strudawa called Miles overruled. He did what he wanted and so there were only a handful of plays that Miles used during that game. Tension was so tight between the players. She said with Jefferson & Shepherd gone the team will play together without the trouble makers.
Note: LEE did graduate on time & it wasn’t him that cost us the recruit leaving (Patrick Miller) it is Jefferson that didn’t mean his deadline……… She said Miles argues all the time with all offensive coordinators to do things his way. She said Strudawa stood up to him but yet Miles pulls ranks and threatens to fire him…………She said he thinks he knows more about the offensive side of the ball than the coordinators he hires. Said Miles won’t tell Chavis anything cause he knows better.
She was going to talk to Miles private secretary today while Miles would be out of the office a few hours this morning. Said they were all walking on egg shells in the office. This was also “tweeted” or put on a blog so it’s a matter of time before everyone finds out what happened. No matter what he tells the staff & players to say it will come out. She is afraid if Miles keeps doing this we are going to lose our coaches……………..that’s one reason Gonzales left…..he saw that Miles will continue to run the ball therefore the wide receivers and all will never get a chance. Besides Gonzales wanted to be an offensive coordinator again & knew he was never going to get the chance here especially with Miles pulling rank with play calling.
Will keep you updated……
Okay, that’s one version, but then there is also this version, it wasn’t a race thing at all, LSU just wanted to throw the ball more and a team mutiny ensued.
Instead of being firmly in the Jefferson camp, LSU’s Russell Shepard has now switched sides in this story. He really wanted Jarrett Lee to play!
“The following comes from an unnamed source……..
About 3 hours before the game T-Bob Hebert, Russell Shepard, 2 other receivers and a hand full of linemen got into a heated argument with Les Miles and the Offensive Coordinator about Lee getting more playing time and possibly starting the BCS Championship game. It got so heated that Miles benched T-Bob, RS, and 3 other players. He called Lee into his office and told Lee that he would not be playing in the game. The Offensive CO told Miles that he thought that Lee gave the team the best chance to win the game. Miles told the OC to start looking for a new job after the game and Miles will be calling the plays for the championship game. Apparently the O Line sided with T-Bob and Lee. They did not give their all in the game to prove to Miles that the players are more important than the coach. Now I know that this is hard to believe but when you look at some things it kind of explains a few things:
I will list some:
There are at least two other versions of viral emails with similar storylines — Les Miles taking control of all offensive playcalling at the last moment based upon a perceived slight since the media liked Nick Saban more and another version that simply says Jefferson spent too much time gambling at Harrah’s and may have been attempting to cover his gambling losses by shaving points, seriously. (Since LSU was a two-point underdog presumably Jefferson added the additional 19 points to cover his trail).
He also had a 40-1 odds on throw an interception to a Bama player and make the solo tackle himself.
These are clearly ridiculous rumors, right?
Especially since all the stories are different. It’s like someone decided to play Internet telephone and along the way stories were subtly altered as they made their way from inbox to inbox.
Miles, who has steadfastly stayed behind Jefferson since mid-November, was not going to replace Jefferson with Lee for this game.
Has any undefeated team ever abruptly switched quarterbacks for a title game? Especially after Jefferson led LSU to a road victory over Alabama already?
Yet one of the strong premises of these viral emails is that players confronted their coach demanding this decision.
So what is it about LSU fans that makes them so quick to believe conspiracy theories and forward them along to friends, family, and fellow fans?
Is it simply the entertainment value? I honestly don’t know.
After all, which is the easier story to believe, that an undefeated team suddenly had a massive disagreement over who should play quarterback and chose to lose on purpose, or that the best coach of his generation with better players on his team simply beat LSU soundly after preparing for them for 44 days?
For me and most other rational SEC fans, Nick Saban’s team just whipped Les Miles’s team.
But for many wacky LSU fans out there, it’s easier for them to believe that the offense chose not play hard to send their coach a message than it is to believe that Alabama was simply the better team. Because clearly most LSU players would rather lose a national title and their place in history as one of the greatest teams of all time while losing to a bitter rival to prove a point to their coach, right?
I mean that’s just crazy, infinitely crazier than LSU simply getting whipped in a football game. Now to be fair, Les Miles not playing Jarrett Lee at all was the crazy decision that launched a thousand conspiracy ships. Which is why I’ve been arguing for a while that Les Miles is the perfect muse to head up the LSU Tiger fan base.
When it comes to LSU football, lots of good comes with a sprinkling of bad. Massive viral emails like these are, for whatever reason, a staple of Tiger culture.
In the meantime, here’s a viral email for you that explains exactly why LSU lost to Alabama.
You ready? It’s crazy too! And even simpler than all the others linked above.
Okay, here goes.