From Mulkey to Mondo to Wingo, Christmas wishes for the LSU sports crowd: Scott Rabalais

‘Twas the night (or two) before Christmas, and all through my house, not a creature was stirring … to help me write this Christmas wish column.

So, once again this year it’s up to me to wooden soldier on. To either be the yule log for your warming Christmas Eve fire — it’s going to be about 70 here in South Louisiana on Christmas day, so warm Christmas Eve fire plus air conditioning — or the ugly tie boxed up under your tree.

LSU fans have already opened more than their quota of pre-Christmas presents this year. National championships in baseball and women’s basketball. Heisman Trophy winner No. 3 in Jayden Daniels. Even a Jell-O shot record at Rocco’s Pizza in Omaha, Nebraska, during the College World Series (68,888), likely to stand as long as there’s a College World Series. And still some things to seriously gripe about: 1. A historically bad LSU defense, 2. A men’s basketball program that is struggling to find its footing under second-year coach Matt McMahon.

Talk about gifts that keep on giving.

Speaking of gifts, we’ve got a little something for folks across the LSU sports landscape. So without further ado, let’s start ripping that wrapping paper.

For LSU football coach Brian Kelly, a berth in 2024’s newly expanded 12-team College Football Playoff. From now on, it’s going to be a cold Christmas every time the Tigers don’t make it.

For LSU baseball coach Jay Johnson, realistic expectations after last season’s CWS championship. Oh, Jay, who am I kidding? Just win it all again and everyone will be happy.

For former LSU men’s basketball coach Will Wade, a black hat. Oh, already got one, I see, Will. Few programs and coaches have ever leaned into the anti-hero’s role like Wade and McNeese State. It will make the couple of years he’ll spend in Lake Charles a lot more saucy.

For current LSU men’s coach Matt McMahon, enough wins to make Tiger fans stop pining for Will Wade. Maybe they’d be happy if he got a couple of technical fouls and an ejection. If Matt has never been ejected, he can consult Kim Mulkey’s tossing on Sunday against Northwestern State as a master class lesson.

For Mulkey, some colorful outfits for a change. For the love of Elton John, coach, jazz it up a little.

For Daniels, who worked a shift at the Times Square Raising Cane’s the day before his Heisman win as a publicity stunt, his own Raising Cane’s franchise. Or three. Pretty soon, he’ll be able to afford just about anything he wants.

For Rocco’s in Omaha, 68,888 paper cups for the Jell-O shot challenge, just in case the Tigers make another CWS title run.

For former LSU track sprinter and women’s 100-meter dash world champion Sha’Carri Richardson, a gold medal in this Olympic year to fill the void left by her suspension from the U.S. Olympic team in 2021.

For former LSU pole vaulter and world record-holder Mondo Duplantis, an astronaut’s suit. He’ll need one if he vaults much higher in the Paris Olympics this summer. The air’s getting pretty thin up there.

For LSU gymnastics, that elusive team national championship. This talented team could be the one that does it.

For LSU defensive tackle Mekhi Wingo, a healthy 2024, whether he’s playing one more season for the Tigers or not. You wish this for every athlete, of course, but Wingo deserves special favor after what he said this week about returning for the ReliaQuest Bowl on Jan. 1 against Wisconsin after missing half the season with surgery to repair a torn abductor muscles. “I’m a captain of this team,” Wingo said, “I feel like I owe those guys to come back and play and help get that 10th win. It’s important to me to finish out the season with those guys.” A tip of the Will Wade hat to you, sir.

Well, that’s about all for me this Christmas season. Here’s hoping it’s filled with love and friendship. To borrow a line from the immortal “Ted Lasso” series, “To the family we’re born with … and the family we make along the way.”

Dang, I’m sure going to miss that show. I wonder if Gordon McKernan hooks up “Ted Lasso” creator Jason Sudeikis with a nice, juicy NIL deal he’d give us one more season?

There’s a sweet dream to send us off to sleep on Christmas eve. Happy holidays, everyone!