Geaux Tigers! A Look At L.S.U. Football Fans

The people of South Louisiana and most of its neighboring states, are infamous for their love of college football, specifically the Southeastern Conference teams. Naturally, being a “I bleed purple and gold” LSU fan, I, too, enjoy some mean-spirited banter with friends who are fans of rival teams. The nastiest insults usually occur between LSU and Alabama fans. This notorious rivalry has led to some horrific hazing by drunk fans of both teams, but, for the most part, the taunts are all in good fun.

On any given Saturday, one is assured, with the mix of Tiger and Tide fans tailgating in close proximity, to hear exchanges of the most vile insults. And jeering is typically shouted across paved parking lots that have become temporary homes to grills, jambalaya pots, and beer coolers.

Here are a few examples of the ridicule you are likely to hear as you stroll to the football stadium:
 “Do you know what happens when all the blondes leave Mississippi to go over to Alabama? Both states increase their IQ!”
 “There’s no ice at the concession stands. The LSU senior with the recipe graduated!”
 “I heard they’re replacing the grass at the Bryant-Denny stadium with cardboard. Your team looks better on paper.”
 “Doing the same thing here in Death Valley! They’re tired of your cheerleaders grazing on the Bermuda grass during the game.”
 “Did you see that Tide fan with the beautiful woman on his arm? We call those tattoos!”

If the truth be known, fans on both sides tend to inflate the talents of their team. However, one thing that is not exaggerated: nothing can compare to a Saturday night in Tiger Stadium. The atmosphere is electric and utterly thrilling. It is not just the liveliness of the student section, it is the collective energy of the entire stadium. I remember reading an article where coaching legend, Bear Bryant, called Death Valley “the worst place in the world for a visiting team.”

If any doubt remains that LSU fans are some of the most loyal and committed in the entire SEC, let me share with you the infamous “earthquake game”. This game between LSU and another Alabama rival, Auburn, took place in October 1988 that renamed the stadium, at least among the students, to Deaf Valley.

LSU’s defense had held Auburn to only two field goals the entire game. Trailing 0-6, with less than two minutes left in the game, LSU quarterback, Tommy Hodson, led the purple and gold Tigers downfield culminating in an eleven-yard touchdown pass to Eddie Fuller on fourth down. LSU won the game 7 to 6. The celebration of the 79,000 LSU fans is said to have registered on a seismograph located on campus, some 1,000 feet away from the stadium.

Apparently, fan noise spawning from SEC football stadiums registering earthquakes on seismographs had happened before, even at the Bryant-Denny Stadium, home to the Crimson Tide. But, the earthquake measured at Death Valley on October 8, 1988 lasted a record-setting eighteen minutes.

Regardless of Alabama’s claims of superiority, nothing speaks more of the LSU fans and their passion than to create earthquake conditions in an area only prone to hurricanes.