Bayou Bengals should be contenders in SEC West

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 2, 2001

There’s no college football like Ole Miss, Mississippi State or LSU football. And I’m a fan of all three but don’t live or die with any of them. Yes, I admit that Ole Miss and State stretch me out a mite more than LSU, but I still don’t lose sleep over any of them.

It’s high time I discussed the 2001 LSU Tigers, though. Coach Nick Saban’s Tigers will tie up with old foe Tulane Sept. 1, less then a month from now. Then Utah State before hitting the hard spots in the road three straight weeks, if not seven straight. That would be Auburn starting Sept. 15, then Tennessee, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Alabama in succession.

Quarterback is all-important, of course, but in some quarters it’s not set in stone that QB Rohan Davey will fill that important bill. Essentially, Davey’s not the most durable signal caller around, and with gaping holes in the offensive line, there is genuine worry in Tigertown. Still, Davey is, potentially, a star.

Actually, 20 starters return to lead the Tigers this fall. Now that’s not bad no matter how you cut it. Remember, too, that the Tigers began to romp late last year, climaxed by a great victory against heavily-favored Georgia Tech in the Peach Bowl. Now, you know &uot;them T(a)ger fans,&uot; they immediately started thinking Ole Miss and State and &uot;them crucified!&uot;

But look; when you have 19 starters (10 defense and 7 offense, plus your kicker and punter) back, you can’t blame your supporters if they roll their eyes a little. And think SEC West title. I’ll be honest. I believe the ’01 Bayou Bengals will be legitimate contenders in the SEC West.

Having key returnees at every position, including quarterback, tailback, wide receiver(s), linebacking and safety, bodes well for the Tigers. As they say on TV, &uot;facts are facts.&uot;

And don’t ever forget that the SEC is the SEC – no other major college football conference in the entire nation is better all around.

HURRIED HASH: Charlie Mascagni, Cathedral High School graduate (’76) and an old buddy, tells me from his now-hometown of Baton Rouge that he enjoys coaching his son against two other former Natchez CHS athletes Jo Jo Eidt and Jerry David, both also coaching sons’ baseball teams … Charlie’s team was in Panama City last weekend with his team of 14-year-olds called the BR Trojans and tottin’ a 69-4 record going into the Dizzy Dean World Series. I’m sure it was interesting to see how the Mascagni team fared down in the Florida Panhandle … And did I mention ole Charlie’s team won the Dizzy Dean State tournament?! He also said that the Natchez threesome are always sharing old Natchez stories.

… Big golf doin’s locally – Rett Crowder of Jackson cranked things up with a sparkling performance in Farm Bureau Invitational at Beau Pr\u00E9 Country Club recently with three solid rounds. It was steady as you go for the Jackson CC amateur.

… Then there was Pete Powell’s day in the sun at Duncan Park, where the steady links hand smooth-stroked his way to the coveted Bill McKinney Memorial Natchez Golf Championship last Saturday and Sunday. Hats off to the 11-time city champ.

Glenvall Estes is a longtime sports columnist for The Democrat.