THE END OF THE ROAD IS NOT REALLY THE END
In the end he stayed.
With his alma mater calling, offering the opportunity to transfer from leader of a new money team with almost no tradition to lead of one of college football's greatest families, Les Miles chose to stay. Was it really a hard decision? It shouldn't have been.
By choosing to remain at LSU, Les Miles wasn't choosing the Tigers over the Wolverines, or Death Valley over the Big House, or Baton Rouge over Ann Arbor. He was choosing the SEC over the Big Ten. Once you've drunk the good stuff, it's hard to go back.
This fall Nate and I drank the good stuff. We ate the good stuff. We watched, smelled and basically submerged ourselves in a vat of the good stuff. In the end we developed a taste for it, and to be honest, it's not going to be easy to wean ourselves off it.
Our final happy hour at Sonic.
The final tally: 14 games, 6 overtimes, 96 days, 14,982 miles, five Heisman trophies, and one unfortunate night in New Orleans when Nate found me passed out on the hotel room floor, unable to right myself after a losing battle with an over-aged gumbo.
The passion, Verne Lunquist explained to us on Friday, is what separates the football in the SEC from all other conferences. It's a passion as thick as the molasses they put on the table at Dick's Catfish Shack in Red Bay, Alabama. This particular strain of fanaticism, spawned across many generations, appears immune to outside influences. A spring game in Tuscaloosa draws over 92,000. That was just a sign of things to come.
The Going South mobile will get a tuneup before heading back on the road.
In the opening week of conference play, unranked South Carolina beat Georgia. In the final week of the regular season, unranked Arkansas beat LSU. Each week in between the conference's teams beat the living crap out of each other, and when the dust settled it was still unclear if any team remained in the national title hunt.
Our whirlwind tour of the SEC is over but where does this leave the two of us? With something left in the tank and games still on the docket, Nate and I have signed on for more football. That's right, Going South is going national. Along with our fellow roadtrippers at Going Big and Going West, we'll blanket all 26 bowl games, culminating in the National Championship in New Orleans. The name of the trip? You guessed it, Going Bowling.
Having survived this SEC endurance test, why head back on the road so quickly for more college football, you may ask? It's really not safe to quit this stuff cold turkey.