Often the question is asked, "Why do UL fans hate LSU?"
Well, actually, most don't (and vice versa), so the question applies only to a small contingent of the Ragin' Cajun community against a small cadre of vocal LSU fans — and even then, it usually applies only in specific circumstances. But it's still a valid question. Yesterday, one LSU student interviewed by the Advertiser crammed every answer into one compact, money quote:
"I think I speak for a majority of students at LSU," he said. "Even though we can't stand Ole Miss, we have come to hate UL-L even more. For starters, we can't stand jerseys saying 'Louisiana.' You are not Louisiana, you are Louisiana-Lafayette. Stop trying to be bigger than what you are. They have little man syndrome, and it's annoying to LSU students. So as of now, Hotty Toddy!" [Emphasis mine, probably]
This. This right here. This is what UL fans hate about LSU.
Everyone from both schools acknowledges and accepts that LSU is the top university in Louisiana. It's the biggest, the most prestigious, the most flagshippery, and it probably always will be. That hasn't kept some of LSU's faithful from being the vile yuppie who says, "It's not enough to succeed. All others must fail." Or from being the metaphorical runner who's a mile ahead of everyone else, but is still constantly looking over his shoulder lest anyone close in even slightly. Or from otherwise being the rich-camp/big-shot-overdog villain in every movie ever.
Apparently, LSU's undisputed spot at the top of the heap means that no other university in the state should ever try to upgrade itself. Because to do so, even to catch up to itself, is to mock LSU. There can be no other motivator.
These LSU fans are miffed — miffed, I tell ya! — that the UL community doesn't embrace the one part of its newer name that was legally obligated and does the least to promote the university. They are baffled that the state's second-largest student body doesn't collectively mope around like the second-class rejects they are, because that's a Ragin' Cajun's place in the pecking order.
And their heads hurt over the idea that a school would dare shorten its name for branding purposes. Only LSU A&M can do that, apparently.
UL's embracing of "Louisiana" in athletics serves one purpose — to promote the growing school and its surging sports teams. It has nothing to do with spiting LSU; the spite arises from the flagship's arrogant insistence that it has an authority and duty to stifle its neighbor. Far from being a case of "little man syndrome" on UL's part, it's a massive show of insecurity on LSU's part. A successful show of insecurity at that — UL might be the only college team in America not widely called what is on its officially sanctioned jerseys.
It remains to be seen whether the Ragin' Cajuns' successful sports run continues, and if that will eventually enter Louisiana into the lexicon. I hope so on both counts. But if it doesn't catch on, I hope it's because of UL's own actions and not because of LSU's boot.
Geaux Cajuns! We are Louisiana!