NCAA Baseball Championships:
DandyDon is proud to recognize David Toms as a great ambassador of the Tiger Nation.
An Interview with Mac Engel on the LSU-TCU Season Opener
Mac Engel is a long-time sports writer and columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. With his perspective from TCUâ€™s backyard, just what would he have to say about the LSU-TCU football game? We had to ask. Here are some of Macâ€™s thoughts on the game. We invite you to follow the Big Mac Blog at star-telegram.com/sports or via Twitter.
DandyDon.com: Hey Mac. We really appreciate you taking time to give your insight into the background and matchups of this game. With the LSU - TCU game being played at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, do you sense that this is much like a bowl game?
Mac: Yes. Any time you get two Top 25 teams at a neutral site it has the feel of a bowl game. LSUâ€™s fan base will make up the vast majority of those in attendance. The goal when the Dallas Cowboys opened this building was to create a â€śpreseason bowlâ€ť game (to kick off the collegiate season), which this is.
DandyDon.com: Agree about the bowl feel - along with the Georgia-Clemson game, this is one of the earliest matchups of top teams. Looking back for a moment, TCU agreed to this matchup back when they were in the Mountain West. It was done partly to add strength to their schedule. Now that they are in the Big 12, do you think they would agree to the matchup if the negotiations were happening now? Or, do you see this as possibly a new, long-term series?
Mac: No way, no way and no way. Gary Patterson wanted out of this series the moment TCU went into the Big 12. This was to be a home-and-home series that the two sides then agreed to cut in half and play this one game at Cowboys Stadium. Thatâ€™s the end of it. Both teams have brutal conference schedules and donâ€™t want to intentionally add a pre-conference (schedule) game it could lose. This is a one and done.
DandyDon.com: Both teams are coached by classy guys. In fact, they share the same agent. A good bit has been made of supposed comments by Patterson and the handling of LSU running back Jeremy Hillâ€™s suspension/non-suspension. Were those comments taken out of context? Set the record straight for us.
Mac: Gary stuck his foot in his mouth and it blew up in his face, even if most people think he was right. He tried to spin it by using the "here is the transcript â€“ I never said their names" line but it was too late. He was talking about Les Miles, LSU and running back Jeremy Hill. The irony is Patterson goes to the nth degree from preventing any type of bulletin board material to be used as motivation or a competitive edge to the other team, which is exactly what he did in this case. His comments were accurate, if not slightly hypocritical.
Do not be surprised if TCU loses that someone will write how Les Miles taught TCU and Patterson a â€ślife lesson.â€ť
DandyDon.com: Interesting. I donâ€™t think motivation will be an issue for either team. Letâ€™s talk match ups at positions in the trenches. How do you see the Frogsâ€™ DL matching up to the LSU OL? And, vice versa, Tigersâ€™ DL versus TCU's OL?
Mac: This is the biggest problem area for TCU. LSU is better in these areas. TCU was young and weaker on the offensive line, and it already has lost two tackles who quit. And Big 12 defensive player of the year, defensive end Devonte Fields, is suspended for the first two games of the season for a violation of team rules. Defensively, TCUâ€™s defensive line should be OK against what is an experienced and decent LSU offensive line. The problem is TCUâ€™s offensive line is going to get overpowered.
DandyDon.com: Any other key match ups or players to focus on in this game?
Mac: This is about TCU QB Casey Pachall. This is his first game since he returned. Heâ€™s an accurate passer, and historically has played well in big games. This is a big game. If heâ€™s good, which I think he will be, TCU will be in this game.
DandyDon.com: Sounds like this ought to be a great game. Care to be among the first prognosticators to make a prediction on the LSU - TCU game?
Mac: LSU 24, TCU 17
DandyDon.com: One more sports question. As you know both schools have solid baseball programs. Think the two schools would be open to extending this competition to a series on the baseball field?
Mac: Would love to see it, but I would be surprised.
DandyDon.com: We expect a few LSU fans to make it to DFW for the game. Do you have a favorite BBQ joint or Tex-Mex place to recommend?
Mac: This is my favorite question. For BBQ, Iâ€™m a fan of The Railhead in Fort Worth as well as Angeloâ€™s. Neither is a bad pick. DO NOT GO TO Joe T. Garcias; itâ€™s overrated, and the place will be a zoo that weekend. El Asadero is much better, with killer guacamole. Mi Cocina is a solid, safe pick.
DandyDon.com: Thanks Mac. We appreciate the insight and help with dining plans - I suspect those restaurants will be seeing some purple and gold soon.
This web site is not officially affiliated with Louisiana State University. Opinions expressed herein are the property of Donald Long, Scott Long and friends, not Louisiana State University.