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College Football Schedule Week 7: LSU, Tennessee and Ryan Theriot

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I know I’ve told this story before, but I don’t remember if I’ve written it here before. So if you’ve heard it before, please indulge me because I don’t really want to write about the possibility of Boise State playing in the Big East Conference or dismissed South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia being hinted at being part of a point-shaving scandal or the potential Conference USA-Mountain West Conference football merger.

The Dodgers traded for infielder and LSU alumnus Ryan Theriot at the trading deadline in 2010. One Saturday afternoon in the clubhouse he was watching the Tennessee-LSU game. The Vols led the Tigers 14-10 late in the fourth quarter in Death Valley.

Theriot was nervous sitting at his locker right in the middle of the clubhouse that was a prime television viewing spot. On the other hand, it was right next to one of two trashcans in the room where players tended to spit their chew as they walked by. You win some, you lose some.

But LSU had the ball in the waning minutes of the game, and Theriot wearing his LSU tank top (actually it was a t-shirt with the sleeves ripped out) was alternately sitting down staring at the game and jumping up excitedly whenever a positive play happened. All of us reporters in the room were just watching him laughing.

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It was second-and-goal with the ball at Tennessee’s two-yard line and 32 seconds left. Quarterback Jordan Jefferson took the direct snap from the shotgun and ran right. The Vols defense reacted quickly and stopped Jefferson at the one-yard line with the clock ticking with 24 seconds left.

Instead of spiking the ball to make it fourth down, LSU decided to change offensive personnel as the clock kept running. Theriot was going out of his mind, his chair half way to the end of the clubhouse where Rafael Furcal held court.

With three seconds left, LSU snapped the ball with Theriot aghast. The ball sailed past Jefferson, and a hurl of expletives came out of Theriot’s mouth. Jefferson fell on the ball at the 20-yard line, the game was over with undefeated LSU losing to Tennessee.

Theriot’s expletives continued as he took of his tank top and threw it into the trash can filled with the nicotine-laced saliva. He put on a Dodger blue workout shirt and looked to go about his day as the television showed the Tennessee players rushing the field in celebration.

He was heading to the bathroom when the referee put on the headset connected to the replay official. Someone called Theriot back, for some reason I’m remembering Russell Martin doing this. But Theriot came back and saw that Tennessee had too many men on the field. LSU got one more untimed down.

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Then Theriot did perhaps the most disgusting thing I have ever seen. He reached back into the trash can and fished out his discarded tank top. Martin saw this, grabbed it away from Theriot and threw it down the other end of the clubhouse. Theriot, unfazed, retrieved it and put it back on.

Running back Stevan Ridley took the ball and ran it in for a touchdown giving the 12th-ranked Tigers the win. Theriot did a victory lap around the clubhouse while all of us made sure to avoid him for fear of touching the shirt that made contact with chew-spit.

I bring this up because both teams will face each other Saturday in Knoxville. I don’t expect the same scenario to happen. And thankfully Theriot will have a day off from the NLCS and be able to watch the game without the prying eyes of reporters (that is unless his killjoy manager Tony La Russa schedules a workout or batting practice during the game.)

There really is no point in telling this story except to show how invested people are in the college football teams. It hasn’t been tainted by the fantasy geeks, stat nerds or any other force that threaten to squeeze the fun and narrative out of sports.

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So here’s the schedule:

South Carolina at Mississippi State. 9:00 a.m. KDOC.
Baylor at Texas A&M. 9:00 a.m. FX.
Michigan at Michigan State. 9:00 a.m. ESPN.
Indiana at Wisconsin. 9:00 a.m. ESPN2.
Miami at North Carolina. 9:30 a.m. KCOP.

UNLV at Wyoming. 11:00 a.m. CBS Sports Net.
Florida State at Duke. 12:00 noon, FSWest.
LSU at Tennessee. 12:30 p.m. CBS.
Oklahoma State at Texas. 12:30 p.m. ABC.
Central Florida at SMU. 12:30 p.m. FS Prime Ticket.
Ohio State at Illinois. 12:30 p.m. ESPN.
UTEP at Tulane. 12:30 p.m. Fox College Sports Central.
Colorado at Washington. 12:30 p.m. Fox College Sports Atlantic.
Pennsylvania at Columbia. 12:30 p.m. Versus.

Alabama at Mississippi. 3:00 p.m. ESPN2.
Kansas State at Texas Tech. 4:00 p.m. FS Prime Ticket.
Florida at Auburn. 4:00 p.m. ESPN.
Stanford at Washington State. 4:30 p.m. Versus.
UAB at Tulsa. 5:00 p.m. CBS Sports Net.

Oklahoma at Kansas. 6:15 p.m. ESPN2.
Arizona State at Oregon. 7:15 p.m. ESPN.