As we near the end of 2017, it seems fair to go over the best and worst things that happened in 2017. For the sake of this article not being a mile long, we’ll keep it largely to the teams we cover and one best and worst when it comes to the national perspective.
Without further ado, let’s get into it!
Louisiana Ragin Cajuns:
Best: (TIE) The Hiring of Billy Napier/Hiring of Bryan Maggard
How can you not love the hiring of Billy Napier? Sure his personality isn’t rah-rah, but that was the last head coach’s personality and that only got us so far. He’s lived up to his promises at this point, adding to his coaching staff with recruiting the state of Louisiana in mind.
That being said, the hiring of Napier couldn’t have happened without Dr. Bryan Maggard being hired on back in February as the Director of Athletics. There have been a lot of changes when it comes to the program’s image and brand with him at the helm, the biggest of which has to be the transparency he has had not only with the media, but with the fans. With Dr. Maggard aboard, expect to see bigger things on the horizon for this program.
Worst: The Attendance at Cajun Field
The attendance this season for Cajuns football was abysmal. The average attendance numbers fell below what the attendance was at the end of the Bustle era. You can pin it on a number of things: the inconsistent play, off-the-field issues turning off the fanbase, whatever it was it wound up being the final nail in the Hudspeth era.
Best: A New Energy in the PMAC
As LSU hoops gets ready to take center stage, there seems to be a brand new energy at the PMAC with Will Wade at the helm. Look back at the Maui Invitational after a big dunk from LSU against Michigan and tell me you’d see that Johnny Jones.
It’ll still take another two years or so, but this program seems poised to get back into relevance when it comes to the NCAA Tournament.
Worst: The Matt Canada-Ed Orgeron Saga
This has been a mess and will undoubtedly bleed into 2018 (the Notre Dame game is on January 1st). Look back at what Orgeron said about letting his coaches do their job. It’s obvious that he’s meddled with the offense and doesn’t care about the bad PR at this point.
Has the offense improved under Canada? It’s a mixed bag to say the least. If Canada leaves at the end of the year and Steve Ensminger becomes the offensive coordinator, it won’t be a good situation for the 2018 season.
New Orleans Saints:
Best: Eight in a Reaux
After an 0-2 start, nobody expected to see this team put together eight straight wins to help get this team on the cusp of their first NFC South title since 2011. That win streak was amazing. The offense was dominant in almost every matchup and the defense showed that they can be one of the best in the league.
Worst: Adrian Peterson
We all looked at the signing of Adrian Peterson with a lot of anticipation to see a return to a dominant run game. We saw that run game return, but it was thanks to Alvin Kamara, not “All Day” Adrian Peterson.
The splash signing was another in a long line of failures in recent years in terms of free agency (see: Byrd, Jairus, Browner, Brandon, et. Al)
New Orleans Pelicans:
Best: Trading for Boogie
This was a pleasant surprise for a team that seemed to be headed nowhere at the All-Star Break. Getting this trade done under the wire didn’t change their fate in the 2016-17 season, but it seems like DeMarcus Cousins has started to change the team culture alongside an offseason signing in Rajon Rondo.
Worst: Up and Down Start to Season
The Pelicans have hovered around .500 for much of the month of December and for a while, we were just waiting for the bottom to fall out and see them drop out of playoff contention. However, their schedule looks to be pretty favorable with several matchups against sub-.500 teams and that could turn into some serious momentum into 2018 and a higher seed than some expected after the first few games of the season.
Best: World Series Champs
It seems way too obvious that this is the best moment of 2017 for the Astros. After everything that happened back in late August-early September, it was a moment that the city of Houston needed.
Worst: Rangers Series in Tampa Bay
Stay classy Texas Rangers. After Hurricane Harvey impacted the Houston area, they were slated to return to the Lone Star State to take on their division and in-state rival Texas Rangers.
The right thing to do would’ve been to offer up their ballpark in Arlington, but it was moved over to Tampa Bay. It was a messed up situation all around and it didn’t have to be that way.
Best: College Football National Championship
What a great national title game back in January between Alabama and Clemson. The battle between these two juggernauts was another reason why the College Football Playoff was one of the best ideas for the sport.
With the rubber match on Monday, it seemed appropriate to bring this up.
Worst: Lavar Ball
Seriously, it’s Lavar Ball. You can’t get away from this clown. I could’ve gone a number of different directions, but every time I see this goof on my TV, I have to change the channel.