LSU Tigers

BATON ROUGE, LA - OCTOBER 06:  LSU mascot Mike VI, a Bengal/Siberian mixed tiger, is displayed on the field before the Florida Gators take on the LSU Tigers at Tiger Stadium on October 6, 2007 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
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PETA (again) calls on LSU to end live-mascot tradition

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Of course they did.

Monday, LSU announced that its live tiger mascot, Mike VI, has been diagnosed with an extremely rare form of cancer. According to the school, the cancer had nothing to do with the tiger’s captivity or mascot duties.

However, that didn’t stop a certain group from pushing its agenda on this front.

Tuesday, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) sent out a press release in which it served public notice of a letter sent to LSU calling for Mike VI to be the last live mascot utilized by the school. In the letter, PETA stated that “all captive big cats suffer psychologically when subjected to confinement, discomfort, and stress.”

“LSU further exposes them to bright lights and rowdy crowds at football games,” the release added.

“People today realize that orcas don’t belong in tanks, elephants don’t belong in circuses, and tigers don’t belong in cages in stadiums,” said PETA’s Rachel Mathews in a statement included in the release. “PETA is calling on LSU to honor Mike VI and spare future tigers a lifetime of misery by ending the live-mascot program for good.”

Below is the full text of the letter sent to the university:

I’m writing on behalf of PETA, which has more than 5 million members and supporters worldwide, including tens of thousands in Louisiana, to offer our sympathies about Mike the tiger’s cancer diagnosis. I would also like to request that you consider the following information about how tigers suffer in captivity and make Mike VI Louisiana State University’s (LSU) last live mascot.

Captive big cats (who naturally shun human contact) are deprived of everything that is natural and important to them. They live in perpetual states of confinement, discomfort, and stress and, at LSU games, are subjected to a constant barrage of disorienting lights and activity. They often become despondent and develop neurotic and self-destructive types of behavior, including pacing, bar-biting, and self-mutilation. Tigers are particularly unsuited to captivity because they require large areas to roam and opportunities to swim and climb. Even under the best of care, a tiger’s most basic instincts are thwarted in captivity, and continuing to use live animals as mascots perpetuates the cruel notion that sensitive, complex wild animals should be caged and put on display like championship trophies.

People go to LSU football games because they want to see top college athletes playing the best football in the country, not because there’s a caged tiger sitting on the sidelines. I hope you agree that it’s time to recognize society’s growing distaste for animal exhibition and bring a new tradition to LSU of using only willing, costumed human mascots. Orcas don’t belong in tanks, elephants don’t belong in the circus, and tigers do not belong in stadiums. In his sickly condition, Mike VI should not be wheeled out to games this coming season. Generations of tigers have given LSU everything they have—isn’t it time for LSU to give something back? We hope to hear from you soon. Thank you.

In a statement, an LSU spokesperson relayed that “our primary concern right now is caring for Mike VI and making sure he gets the best possible medical treatment for his condition.”

“This is not the time to discuss football season or a new tiger mascot. We are focused on Mike’s health and well-being at this time,” the statement concluded.

This is not LSU’s first brush with PETA as the group made a similar call back in 2007. That prompted the university’s then-chancellor, Sean O’Keefe, to release a statement that not only defended the tradition but compared the lifespan of a tiger in the wild to that of one in captivity.

LSU stands behind its treatment of its tigers. Their habitat and lifestyle are constantly monitored to ensure their well-being, and they receive state-of-the-art veterinary medical care from the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine, which can improve and extend the life of a big cat. This is evidenced by the fact that Mike V lived to be 17 years of age. Two of LSU’s tiger mascots, Mike I and Mike III, lived 19 years, and Mike IV lived 20 years 9 months and 18 days. The average lifespan for a tiger in the wild is about 8-10 years. A tiger in captivity, like Mike V, can live 14-18 years.

Interestingly, the university has “let” 11-year-old Mike VI “choose” which home games he attended the last two seasons. From the Baton Rouge Advocate:

LSU, however, lets Mike decide whether he will attend the football games, and he has received national attention for being less willing to do so than his predecessors. Mike ca decline to go to the games if he doesn’t enter his mobile carrier.

Mike attended one game in 2015 and none in 2014.

LSU’s live tiger mascot, Mike VI, diagnosed with ‘extremely rare’ cancer

BATON ROUGE, LA - OCTOBER 06:  LSU mascot Mike VI, a Bengal/Siberian mixed tiger, is displayed on the field before the Florida Gators take on the LSU Tigers at Tiger Stadium on October 6, 2007 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
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Things are not looking promising for one of the most recognizable — and fearsome — mascots in college football.

LSU announced Monday morning that Mike VI, the school’ live tiger mascot, diagnosed with a spindle cell sarcoma, a type of cancer. “Mike’s veterinarian, David Baker, DVM, Ph.D., and his veterinary student caretakers,” the school’s release stated, “previously noticed swelling on the right side of Mike’s face.”

A subsequent CT scan revealed a tumor on the tiger’s face near his nose, with a biopsy leading to the cancer diagnosis.

The school stated that this is “an extremely rare form of cancer,” and would lead to the animal’s death in a month or two if left untreated. Mike VI will be treated with “a new and highly sophisticated form of radiation therapy called ‘Stereotactic radiotherapy.'” While the “treatment is not curative[, it] should extend Mike’s life and allow him to live comfortably” — perhaps for another 1-2 years.

“Currently, Mike’s attitude and demeanor are unchanged, and he does not appear to be in pain,” the school said, adding, “Eventually, the radiation-resistant cells remaining in the tumor will resume growth.”

Mike VI is 11 years old and has been at LSU since he was two.

Ex-LSU WR Trey Quinn transfers to SMU

OXFORD, MS - NOVEMBER 21:  Trey Quinn #8 of the LSU Tigers is brought down by Mike Hilton #38 of the Mississippi Rebels during the first quarter of a game at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on November 21, 2015 in Oxford, Mississippi.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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Three months after leaving LSU, Trey Quinn has found himself a second college football home.

According to 247Sports.com. Quinn has decided to enroll at LSU and continue his collegiate playing career with the Mustangs. The wide receiver subsequently confirmed his decision to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Because of NCAA transfer rules, Quinn will be forced to sit out the 2016 season. He’ll then have two years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2017.

Quinn was a four-star member of LSU’s 2014 recruiting class, rated as the No. 10 receiver in the country; the No. 8 player at any position in the state of Louisiana; and the No. 78 player in 247Sports.com‘s composite rankings.

In mid-February, Quinn took to Twitter to announce his decision to transfer away from the Tigers. He also has taken to the same social media site to offer further hints at his impending move.

Report: SEC gives thumbs up to Travonte Valentine’s 2016 return to LSU

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 07:  Les Miles, head coach of the LSU Tigers, reacts during the first quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 7, 2015 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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It appears one obstacle in Travonte Valentine‘s journey back to Baton Rouge has been removed.

Citing an unidentified source, Ross Dellenger of the Baton Rouge Advocate has reported that LSU has “received assurances from the Southeastern Conference this week that Valentine would be eligible for the 2016 season if he did, in fact, rejoin the program.” The conference’s decision comes a couple of weeks after it was reported that Valentine’s return to the Tigers was a serious possibility.

Like one of his former teammates, Valentine will need to get his academic house in order — although that won’t be as stringent as it could be. From Dellenger:

Valentine still needs to complete 13 hours of course work over the summer to qualify, another source confirmed. The 6-foot-3, 345-pounder has spent the last year at two junior colleges – Arizona Western and, currently, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.

If he does return to LSU, the 6-foot-3, 345-pounder isn’t obligated to meet the normal requirements for junior college transfers. He can use an “exception” because he’s returning to his original school, according to NCAA rules.

Should Valentine ultimately return to Baton Rouge, it’d be the continuation of a lengthy — and bumpy — odyssey.

After signing with the Tigers in February of 2014, Valentine dealt with NCAA Clearinghouse issues — the player said another SEC program was the root cause — that forced him to miss the start of summer camp his true freshman season. While he was ultimately cleared to practice, he was not permitted to play in any games because of the lingering academic issues.

Then in April of last year, head coach Les Miles confirmed that Valentine had been suspended, with the specific reason being, again, academics.  At the time of his departure from the program, it was reported that Valentine, in addition to the academic issues, had failed multiple drug tests.

In January, Valentine expressed hope that Miles would give him another shot with his football team.

A four-star member of the Tigers’ 2014 recruiting class, Valentine was rated as the No. 3 defensive tackle in the country and the No. 7 player at any position in the state of Florida. He had been expected to be an immediate contributor to LSU’s line rotation.

2016 Las Vegas win totals think highly of Clemson, FSU, Sooners and Vols

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - DECEMBER 31:  Wayne Gallman #9 of the Clemson Tigers scores a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Oklahoma Sooners during the 2015 Capital One Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on December 31, 2015 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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The top two teams in the ACC, Clemson and Florida State, are widely expected to once again lead the way in the ACC and the first batch of season win totals from Las Vegas outlet The Golden Nugget back that up. The initial 2016 win totals for a handful of college football programs were released by The Golden Nugget this week, and it would appear the sportsbook expects a big season from the defending ACC champion and national runner-up Clemson.

As noted by The Sporting News, The Golden Nugget gave a regular season win total of 10 to Clemson and Oklahoma, both coming off an appearance in the College Football Playoff last season. Florida State also gets a double-digit win total, as does Tennessee. Defending national champion Alabama has a line of 9.5 for its win total.

Tennessee having a higher win total than Alabama? Well, consider the divisions each play in. The SEC West is still arguably a stronger division than the SEC East, suggesting Tennessee will have an easier path to hitting 10 wins during the regular season. Tennessee opens the season on a neutral field against Virginia Tech in Bristol, while Alabama hits the big stage in Arlington to take on USC. The Trojans have a win total of just 7.5. There was no number available for Virginia Tech.

Defending Big Ten champion Michigan State has a win total number of 8, which is half a game lower than the 8.5 given to Ohio State (take the over now while you can) and 1.5 games lower than in-state rival Michigan (9.5). Defending Pac-12 champion Stanford has to get to eight games to break even. The Golden Nugget set UCLA’s win total at nine, the highest among Pac-12 teams.

Clemson 10 (over -120)
Alabama 9.5
Florida State 10 (over -120)
Oklahoma 10 (under -130)
LSU 9.5 (over -140)
Michigan 9.5 (over -120)
Houston 9 (under -150)
Notre Dame 9 (under -125)
Ohio State 8.5 (over -115)
Tennessee 10
Baylor 9 (under -125)
Michigan State 8 (under -135)
Stanford 8 (under -130
Ole Miss 7.5 (under -115)
Georgia 8.5 (over -145)
Auburn 7 (over -120)
UCLA 9 (over -120)
USC 7.5 (over -120)
Oregon 8.5 (under -120)
Florida 8 (under -125)
Louisville 9
TCU 8.5 (under -125)
Oklahoma State (under -130)
UNLV 4.5