First road trip was to the SEC Championship, and it didn't disappoint (regardless of the score)
See you next year, Atlanta by Doug Gann
What started out as a fill in for Tom Bouchie's wife Cindy (who was sick) on a trip to the LSU - Southern game, turned into an amazing weekend in Atlanta at the SEC Championship.
Sometime during the trip to Baton Rouge back in September, Tom mentioned adding coverage of LSU to 446Sports. Well, anyone that knows me knows that I was thinking why wait until next year? The approach we wanted to take was to show things behind the scenes to all LSU fans not just stats. Quite frankly you can get stats from Siri or Alexa or any other web search within seconds. So, I hopped online, sent the info request for Credentials to the folks at LSU (somewhat thinking we would get denied) for Miss State and New Mexico. Credential periods run through the season and are adjusted as the season goes along so requests are only taken during allotted periods for each game.
And then the email response came. I sat for a few minutes before opening the email as nervous as Charlie Brown checking his mailbox for Christmas Cards, and then I opened it. I still remember it in my mind as boldly as the day the email came in. Six little letters. D-E-N-I-E-D. We regret to inform you that your request for Mississippi State in denied, no room for the SEC game. I fully understood, after all we have covered more High School football that I can count but are just an upstart website and nowhere near the likes of our friends at 247Sports, Gridiron Football or numerous TV and Radio stations.
But then it happened, I went from Charlie Brown to Ralphie. I can only imagine I had the same feeling as Ralphie when his Little Orphan Annie secret decoder pin came in. And I didn't have to drink all that Ovaltine. There in my inbox was the response for the New Mexico game. Approved. So, for one game, we would be able to you, our readers, and inside look at the Tigers football season. But one game wasn't enough. We had to put out good enough content that we would earn our place among those covering the Tigers on a weekly basis. So, I put in for Ole Miss and Tennessee. Good luck with that, these were big time SEC games so we surely wouldn't get that opportunity, not this year, not this soon. Ole Miss. Approved. Tennessee. Approved. Alabama. Approved. UAB. Approved. And it has turned out to be a great move this season to add LSU coverage, from bringing you the games highlights, press conference coverage and just an all-around look at the Tigers from a fan's perspective. We visited a LOT of Tailgate parties. Each one has their specialty drink and go-to food item. Next year we are going to bring some live coverage to you from those events.
So now we can finally get to the heart of this article. The trip to Atlanta and the SEC Championship. 446Sports' trip on the first weekend in December is nearly as improbable as the Tigers making it. In our first year adding print coverage to our portfolio, here we were making the flight to Hotlanta, as folks like to call it.
It began with a late-night arrival into Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Airport around Midnight Eastern Thursday night/Friday morning; however you look at it. Staying in the heart of Downtown Atlanta was amazing. Downtown is where the Falcons play. It's home to the Atlanta Hawks. It houses the College Football Hall of Fame, check it out at cfbhall.com. And most interestingly, it houses Centennial Olympic Park where in 1996 the Garbage can explosion happened during the Olympics that year.
History is rich in Atlanta as is their loved for their Bulldogs. It seems like there should be a rotation of sites to keep it from being UGA home game, but that's a different soapbox. However, Mercedes Benz Stadium is AMAZING. Check out tout gallery for all of our photos.
We have included photos of around the town and the game from the pregame time on the field to Press row and around the stadium. There are also pics of our visit to the taping of the Paul Finebaum Show, meeting Roman Harper, Matt Stinchcomb, and Lolo Jones who was a celebrity judge at the Johnsonville Tongsman Cookoff. Congratulations to 2022 Tongsman Ricky Albright III.
It wasn't the game Tiger fans wanted. From the crazy blocked FG for a touchdown, the INT that bounced of the top of the helmet of Jack Bech, and 5 first half touchdowns, the Tigers were doomed. They fought hard to the very last moment and never once show a bit of quit. But, against defending Champion and number 1 ranked Georgia Bulldogs there was no room for errors. It was fun to watch the Purple and Gold confetti come down on Georgia players after the game. Not sure if it was a mistake or if it was SEC logo colored confetti, but it certainly looked like "Tigerfetti" to me.
The Tigers will be back, their Citrus Bowl game should be a good one as you can expect to see even more of the future Tigers seeing action.
Finally, I hit the road at 3:30 am (yes 2:30 here) for a 6 am flight back to Alexandria. Yes, you HAVE to be in line at Hartsfield-Jackson that early. TSA check in is a disaster with the amount of people being screened. It took one hour and ten minutes to get through screening. Compared to five minutes at AEX.
Proud to say I will be following the Tigers from the confines of my home for the Citrus Bowl, but will have updates leading up to and throughout the game.
Until next time, Thank you Atlanta. See you next year.
Contact Doug by email at email@example.com
By the Numbers
Total LSU passing yards. SEC Championship Record
Qbs to throw for over 200 yards on same team
Jayden Daniels 208
Garrett Nussmeier 294
Total yards by both teams
Second all-time to 2013