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AMERICA’S NEXT TOP TIGER

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INSIDE THE SECRET COMPETITION

LSU announced on Tuesday that they had identified a potential candidate to take on the yet-to-be-conferred title of Mike VII, becoming the next in the school’s venerated line of live-tiger mascots.

David Baker, DVM, Ph.D., LSU’s Attending Veterinarian, has identified a tiger at a rescue facility that could become Mike VII. This juvenile, male rescue tiger is currently 9 months old and weighs approximately 160 pounds. The tiger has both Siberian and Bengal characteristics.

[puts on NFL joke hat]

The Siberian characteristics include a lighter-orange coat, and the Bengal characteristics include losing in the first round of the playoffs.

[takes off NFL joke hat]

Anyways, we’re happy for LSU. The Mikes represent one of the best traditions in college sports, and one that especially suits its host school: an animal that could easily kill you but is not required to show up if it doesn’t feel like it.

We are curious, however, about the selection process that led to this particular candidate tiger. Fortunately, however, we have an active imagination and 800ish words to fill [wiggly wipe into scene]

RYAN SEACREST: ... welcome back to America’s Next Top Tiger! We’ve received applications from all over the world to take over this prestigious role. To help us narrow things down, we’ve brought together a panel of some of LSU’s most famous figures.

SHAQ: [chuckling] Hey.

JAMES CARVILLE: [looks up from deer carcass he’s been feeding on] HOWDY

BETTER THAN EZRA, just the whole band: Ahh-whooaooh-ohh-ohh

SEACREST, addressing camera: Ha, ha. That’s great. They had that song, and they all went to LSU. Terrific.

LES MILES: [calls timeout]

SEACREST: Wait, why are you on the panel? You got fired last year, remember?

MILES: No.

SEACREST: You didn’t get fired, or you don’t remember?

MILES: ...

SEACREST: Terrific. Well, let’s bring on the Mikes!

[a whole lineup of contestants enter the stage]

SEACREST: Okay, great, first thing, I thought we’d been clear about this, but we do require that the Mikes do in fact be actual tigers. I’m sorry, we’re going to have to send some of you home right off the bat.

MIKE LUPICA: This is what’s wrong with sports today, and, if you ask me-

CARVILLE: Sonny ain’t no one ever asked you, now git on

MIKE MYERS: [walks off pretending to be a tiger, but with like, a Scottish accent? It’s not really clear]

MIKE PENCE: [dimly chuckling at Myers, following him off] I loved The Love Guru. Scary stuff.

MIKE ROWE: I’ve pretended to be a blue-collar hero for years despite being a professionally trained opera singer, I think I can pretend to be a tiger.

SEACREST: I’m afraid the school is quite strict on this.

[the remaining human Mikes file off]

SEACREST: Great, great, oh, and also: the Tigers do need to be of the Panthera genus, I should’ve specified that.

TIGER WOODS: [is shirtless]

SEACREST: Please leave, Mr. Woods.

SHAQ: [indecipherable chuckling]

SEACREST: Great, well, now that that’s done, we’ve narrowed the field to four finalists. Aren’t they great? What do you think, judges, isn’t this a great final four?

BETTER THAN EZRA: It’s goooood,

SEACREST: Ha! Terrific. That’s the only reason we brought you into this. There will be no follow-up jokes. You’re free to go.

BETTER THAN EZRA: [is not revisited for remainder of post]

SEACREST: Now, let’s meet our four finalists!

TIGER #1: [is a tiger]

TIGER #2: [is a tiger]

TIGER #3: [is Tiger Woods, now wearing a fake mustache and a Viking helmet, but still shirtless]

SEACREST: Please, Mr. Woods, we’ve asked nicely.

TIGER #4: [is a tiger]

SEACREST: Great, just great. Now we’re going to simulate the pressures of a gameday environment.

FAN IN ALABAMA GEAR: Y’ALL SUCK, Y’ALL AIN’T NEVER GONNA BEAT BAMA, ROLL TIDE

TIGERS: [do not react]

FAN IN FLORIDA GEAR: WE BEAT YOUR ASS LAST YEAR AND WE’LL DO IT AGAIN

TIGERS: [do not react]

FAN IN OLE MISS GEAR: Actually, the gameday experience in the Grove is the best, and our food is bett-

TIGER #2: [eats him]

SEACREST: Great, uh, that’ll do, I think we’ve got our winner.

SHAQ: What are we doing with these other two tigers?

CARVILLE: Lemme take ‘em, fellas, I got a little prank war goin’ with Steppinopoulus, gonna sneak these kitties into the green room at GMA.

LES MILES: [calls timeout]

SEACREST: okay, buddy, hey, let’s get you into an Uber, okay