ENGSTER: The intertwining fates of Les Miles and Donald Trump

President, Tiger Rag Magazine

When LSU and Alabama renew their annual hate-fest on Nov. 5, the eyes of the nation will be watching for several reasons. The game will possibly determine the SEC championship, the SEC West  winner, the Heisman Trophy recipient, the national champion, and oh yes, the presidential victor.

The last eight times that LSU and Alabama have met in a presidential election year (1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012), the winner of the presidential election is a Republican when LSU prevails (1984, 1988, 2000, 2004) and a Democrat when Alabama wins (1992, 1996, 2008, 2012).

LSU is listed as a slight favorite to top the Tide at Tiger Stadium three days before the presidential election. If the Bengals beat Bama, look for the next president to be Donald John Trump. If Alabama beats LSU for the sixth consecutive time, the election should belong to Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Records from the Secretary of State’s office in Louisiana show both Saban and Miles registered to vote as Independents when they became residents of the state. Saban has been less open about supporting candidates than has Miles, who has spoken effusively about former President George W. Bush and backed the ill-fated presidential quest of former Gov. Bobby Jindal.

It is fascinating how LSU-Bama streak has lasted through the terms of five U.S presidents, seven LSU head coaches and seven Alabama grid leaders. The presidential election outcome and the LSU-Alabama scoreboard have been consistent since Bear Bryant died on Jan. 26, 1983.

The Curse of the Bear?

A look at the past eight elections for the White House and the LSU-Alabama football game.


Year, Score,Winner,Winning Coach,President,Site of Game

1984, 16-14,LSU,Arnsparger,Reagan,Birmingham

1988,19-18,LSU,Archer,G.H.W. Bush,Tuscaloosa

1992,31-11,Alabama,Perkins,Clinton,Baton Rouge

1996,26-0,Alabama,Curry,Clinton,Baton Rouge

2000,30-28,LSU,Saban,G.W. Bush,Baton Rouge

2004,26-10,LSU,Saban,G.W. Bush,Baton Rouge

2008,27-21,Alabama,Saban,Obama,Baton Rouge

2012 ,21-17,Alabama,Saban,Obama,Baton Rouge


Six of the meetings during the last eight presidential years were in Baton Rouge. The road team has won six of the past eight meetings in these seasons, and Nick Saban has reigned as the winning coach the last four presidential years, twice at LSU and twice Alabama.

Trump and Clinton can relax about what happens in their three debates and on the campaign trail the next 13 weeks. The true barometer of the next White House occupant will occur on Nov. 5th. Look for Hillary to convert the Democratic color from blue to red and for Trump to ditch his red caps in favor of a purple and gold look. The road to Pennsylvania Avenue runs through Death Valley.

Honey Badger signs contract to rival his teammate

Tyrann Mathieu reached agreement last week with the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals on a new deal worth $62.5 million with $40 million guaranteed. Not bad for a defensive back who has had two ACL ruptures in different knees during his three years in the league.

Two years ago, the Cardinals made fellow LSU great Patrick Peterson the highest paid defensive back in the game with a five-year agreement for $70 million with $48 million guaranteed.

Mathieu, who had two stormy years at TigerTown where he captivated the masses with his talent and charisma, has overcome more than a few obstacles in his life.

Timothy Rapp profiled the Honey Badger in this week’s Men’s Journal.

He walks me through the liturgy of his dead. The first cross is for his grandpa Lorenzo, who took in Mathieu when his mom abandoned him at birth. “The heroin got him, though he died of heart failure.”

Beside Grandpa is Uncle Donnell, dead of AIDS, from “dirty needles.” Beside Donnell is Uncle Keith, “murdered in the street while holding his baby son in his hands.” Next to him is Aunt Trina who “died on Thanksgiving, when some jackass ran a red light.” Next to Trina is Uncle Andre, murdered late at night over a projects squabble. The names run together in a blur of urban carnage, their blood tide turned to cruciform squibs of ink. “How?” I ask him. “How are you still here when all these people are gone?”

Mathieu’s dismissal from the team in 2012 at LSU came after a life of hellish dimensions in New Orleans. His mother deserted him and four siblings at age 22. Tyrann’s biological father, Darrin Hayes, killed a man when Tyrann was two. He grew up with his grandparents in a home that included cousins and assorted people from the neighborhood.

Although he was a four-star recruit from St. Aug, Mathieu is smaller and slower than many other college and professional standouts. Reggie Bush, the erstwhile Heisman winner from USC entered the NFL Draft  with his speed and strength numbers that wowed scouts. Bush blitzed 40 yards in 4.3 seconds and bench pressed 225 pound 24 times. Mathieu, by comparison ran the 40 in 4.5 seconds and benched 225  four times.

Yet, Tyrann has proved to be the better professional player. He has that “it” quality and adapts on the field like few men who have played on either side of the ball. At 24, he has a remarkable five or ten years at the highest level if he can stay healthy.

With Leonard Fournette on the brink of a handsome contract from an NFL employer, wearing No. 7 at LSU is akin to winning the lottery.  Fournette, Peterson and Mathieu should be prominent and highly paid players for at the next decade.

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