File this under: “But that’s not what the coach said” if the Knights earn another bowl victory over a top-10 power, and LSU fans and/or SEC apologists and/or UCF haters come out in droves to marginalize it.
Eat a couple of ‘member berries and flash back to about 11 months ago when many people wanted to rain on UCF’s championship parade by claiming that the Knights were able to defeat the Auburn only because the Tigers weren’t motivated to play in the Peach Bowl.
Well, LSU head coach Ed Orgeron was asked directly on Selection Sunday about his team’s motivation for this year’s Fiesta Bowl. Here is his response, word for word, to a question from ESPN’s Andrea Adelson:
Q. Last year when UCF beat Auburn, there were some out there who questioned how motivated Auburn was to be in that game. I was wondering if you could just talk about your team’s motivation of going into this one and this matchup.
COACH ORGERON: We’re highly motivated. This is where our team wanted to go. When the possibilities of coming up to certain bowls came up, in fact, our team wanted to go to Fiesta Bowl. And we have complete respect for UCF. We’re going to be highly motivated. We’re not happy the way the season ended the last game. Our guys are going to be ready to play.
So, that’s that.
And while we’re here, we might as well address a second stupid narrative ...
Orgeron said during that conference call cornerback Kristian Fulton will miss the bowl game due to an ankle injury. News then broke during the call that cornerback Greedy Williams, a Thorpe Award finalist as one of the best defensive backs in the nation, will enter the NFL Draft and skip the Fiesta Bowl. Williams is expected to be an early-first-round selection.
“I Have been blessed by God with a beautiful and supportive family. My blessings also include my LSU Tiger Family, both on and off the field. It is with those abundant blessings in mind that I have chosen to pursue to enter the 2019 NFL Draft” #BeGreedy pic.twitter.com/pAIq6T4vIN— Greedy Williams ™️ (@G_Will29) December 2, 2018
Thus, the Tigers will head to Arizona without their top two CBs. However, I seem to remember that UCF is down a significant player as well.
. @UCF_Football McKenzie Milton’s message to his fans and supporters...our thoughts and prayers are with you!! #10Ohana pic.twitter.com/QbeBKVB8Nw— Maria Taylor (@MariaTaylor) December 1, 2018
“LSU wasn’t motivated.”
“LSU was shorthanded.”
If the Knights do win another New Year’s Six bowl next month, stubborn detractors are going to have to scrounge up another way to not give them their full due. That’ll be a fun exercise to track.