Athletic Director Alleva sheds light on LSU's day football games
Associated PressNo more night games at Tiger Stadium this season.
Conference night home games are considered good luck at LSU, and the lack of night games on the schedule, brought about as games were selected for prominent daytime TV slots, has been met with consternation.
Fans can back up their dismay by pointing out statistics. LSU's all-time night record is 220-60-4, and its record under Coach Les Miles under the lights is 30-2.
"Saturday Night in Tiger Stadium is a tradition for our fans, a staple in college football, and one of the unique experiences in all of sports," Alleva said in the statement. "It is the hallmark of LSU football, a brand for our athletics program. It is revered by football pundits and feared by Tigers opponents."
Alleva said the afternoon schedule is a result of LSU's success, and told fans they can't enjoy LSU's level of achievement without some sacrifice. The network chooses which conference game it wants to air, and at what time it wants to air the game, as per its contract with the SEC.
"With success comes a price, and in this case the price is afternoon kickoffs instead of night football," Alleva said. "CBS will always take the game it deems to be the most interesting, and that will often involve teams that are playing at the highest level. LSU is ranked No. 1 in the BCS standings at this moment, and that puts Tiger Stadium in the crosshairs of any TV network."
Alleva reminded fans that LSU can't refuse to play an afternoon game, and LSU does not receive additional money for playing home games in the afternoon.
LSU will kick off at 2:30 p.m. Saturday against Auburn, and its final conference home game of the season — against Arkansas on Nov. 25 — has been scheduled for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff.
POINT OF NO RETURN: One issue for top-ranked LSU remains unsolved. The Tigers haven't found a consistent punt returner.
Four players have returned punts this season, none successly. Junior Rueben Randle (two returns, lost 5 yards), sophomore Tyrann Mathieu (15, 119) and freshmen Odell Beckham (two, 10) and Jarvis Landry (one, 31) have totaled 155 yards on 20 returns, only 7.8 yards per return.
Landry's return came against Northwestern State, when he dropped back with Mathieu for the return just before the snap, but he has not been a regular punt returner this season.
The Tigers have forced 44 punts and rank second in the SEC in punt returns with 20, but their 7.8 average is seventh in the conference.
Former LSU defensive back Patrick Peterson averaged 16.1 yards on 26 returns last season, and scored two touchdowns. One of Peterson's return touchdowns, a 60-yarder against West Virginia, proved to be the difference in LSU's 20-14 win.
Miles said, in Beckham, he may have found the man to fill Peterson's shoes.
"I like Beckham in the return game," Miles said. "I felt like he is a deceptive and shifty runner who has good speed. I think you will continue to see him get his snaps back there in the return game."
Beckham had one return for 10 yards in LSU's 38-7 win against Tennessee.