BATTLE OF THE BOOT: Trophy goes to winner of UA-LSU battle. Image is from a group assembled by David Bazzel, who inspired the trophy.

  • BATTLE OF THE BOOT: Trophy goes to winner of UA-LSU battle. Image is from a group assembled by David Bazzel, who inspired the trophy.

I’m guessing somebody has already lit up a smoker on the parking lots and golf courses surrounding War Memorial Stadium, where the Hogs and LSU will meet at mid-afternoon. High of 60 and sunny. It doesn’t get much better for tailgating.

I can’t tell a lie. My first 18 years, spent in the state down south, die hard. I see the purple and gold and I think of my dad, the LSU grad, sitting by the console radio in the living room of our little rent house in Lake Charles. He’s in an undershirt as we listen to the Bayou Bengal play-by-play. Fall could be sultry in Southwest Louisiana and air conditioning was a luxury we didn’t yet enjoy. My earliest football recall is of 1958, the glorious year in which the Lake Charles Wildcats won the state high school football championship in a 22-20 last-second miracle over Warren Easton in the Sugar Bowl stadium, thanks to a key assist on a touchdown pass by future Kentucky basketball great Cotton Nash. To cap the year, undefeated LSU won the national championship with Paul Dietzel’s platoon football. Chinese Bandits. Billy Cannon. Sitting in the Sugar Bowl (Tulane stadium) for the 62-0 thrashing of then-archrival Tulane. Being with my dad. Memories are made of this.