Sunday, November 27, 2011
With the 2011 season almost in the books, time to reflect on Saturday's games during a season that has absolutely flown by.
First, LSU turned the switch "on" midway through the second period and dismantled an Arkansas team that had some smooth sailing early in the contest. LSU's reward is a date in the SEC Championship game against resurgent Georgia, who is the only team from the SEC East that did not play the three headed monster of LSU, Alabama or Arkansas during the season. Although UGa has improved during the year, saving Mark Richt's job, I just don't see them matching up well with LSU. They aren't "man enough" to win this kind of game. A good offensive line might let them keep it close for awhile, but then again in this season of upsets, stranger things have happened then having a Georgia beat LSU next week.
As for #2 Alabama, they completely embarrassed their ugly red headed step child neighbors from West Georgia (that would be Auburn) 42-14. Quite frankly, if not for a pair of AJ McCarron and Trey DePriest brain farts, Auburn would not have scored. This is worst then the 36-0 2008 Beatdown in T-Town because this one took place on The Plains. Offensive Genius Gus Malzahn was trying to use 3rd grade, sandlot plays against the best defense in the country. Come on Gus, your better then that. Not even Gene Chizik's Dentist Mock Pullover could save the day. I get the feeling the Fambly will not be All In next year as probably Uncle Gus will bolt town and Ted the Roof is on Fire will probably be axed.
Now the debate centers around should their be a rematch for the BCS Title game. Hands down, Alabama and LSU are the two best teams in the country. Their is not even a close third, as both teams beat #3 Arkansas by 24 points. I've never seen two teams mirror each other quite like this. It may not be fair that LSU has to play another game and Alabama is already in the clubhouse, but that's the system we have, so to quote someone famous, "It is What It Is."
Other Observations....UCLA, the 6-6 Pac 12 South Champs, can just go ahead and fire Rick Nuehisal. Some football monopoly in LA, because that 50-0 nothing beat down was harsh.
Just wondering what all the Priests at Notre Dame think about when Brian Kelly is shown dropping F-Bombs on national TV on a weekly basis??? Next year, for Halloween, I'm going as Brian Kelly's Exploding head.
If you make a coaching mistake when hiring a head coach, it can set your program back light years, especially in a football conference like the SEC. At Tennessee and Florida, we present exhibit A & B. Tennessee, which celebrated like they won an SEC Title last week by squeaking by, with the help of officials, Vandy, went on the road and lost to Kentucky for the first time since 1984. And its not like UK is good and UT is down, this has to be one of the worst UK football teams over the course of those 20+ years, but yet they beat Tennessee. Derek Dooley is in way over his head and sadly it won't be a quick fix in Knoxville. Even when UT has been great, they've had to recruit nationally because the state of Tennessee does not produce the best D-1 talent in the country. Sad times for the Big Orange.
As for Florida, I don't care what kind of eyes Will Muschamp makes, it doesn't overcome the fact that this is a bad football team that is poorly coached. Maybe Urban Meyer didn't recruit the last few years, maybe they were only successful because of Tim Tebow, but whatever the reason, Florida lost 20 yards on a quarterback sneak last night. You can't even do that on a video game if you tried.
And with all the talent in the state of Florida, their is no reason for Miami, Florida State and Florida to be as bad as they are.
Congrats to the winningest senior class in the history of Temple Football for producing another 8 win season. Here is hoping they go bowling this year in North Philly.
As for the Heisman race, I'm bias somewhat but Trent Richardson is hands down the best player in the country. He plays the best competition week in and week out and is a man among boys on the football field. I really hope he wins its but I think their will be to much anti-Alabama/anti-SEC sentiment out their due to the jealousy of the teams/conference success and you have to throw in the Andrew Luck mancrush factor from ESPN that will hurt his chances. But he is one of the best football players I've ever seen in person.
Finally, all those Texas A&M changing the game commercials? What are they changing, moving Ole Miss from 6th to 7th place in the SEC West or are they actually gonna get rid of the motto "Best Team in the Country if the Game was Only 30 Minutes Long"???
Until next week....
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Who knew, really what was about to transform. If someone would have told me this past weekend all of this would have happened for my athletic teams, I'd have called you a fool.
But guess what, it did occur and now being the sports enthusiast I am, its almost unfathomable that this took place.
Let's recount the past 5 days...
Thursday night, my CCHS basketball team I coach, opened the season with a 19 point win. Kind of saw this coming but didn't expect to win by such a large number.
The Alabama and Temple basketball teams each won in resounding fashion potentially setting up championship match on Sunday (more in a second).
Friday-Only negative of the weekend happened when Temple fell to Purdue, but at some point Alabama or Temple had to lose a game if they were both playing in the same pre season tournament in Peurto Rico, so the negative turns into a positive because Temple and Alabama actually didn't face off.
While watching Alabama put away a pesky Wichita State team, who could have guessed that Iowa State would pull off their own shocker, no pun intended, thus bumping Oklahoma State, out from the #2 spot in the BCS Standings. So Alabama football had a win just moments after the basketball win.
Bonus pick-my alma mater Columbia High gets ta 42-0 win in the District Playoffs and heads to the District 3 Championship game.
Saturday- fun times as I get to take my middle two children to Tuscaloosa for the Alabama-Ga. Southern game. In the process of the 'Bama win, Temple rolls past Army to clinch a 3rd straight winning season in football. Unreal that has been accomplished in North Philadelphia.
The fun didn't stop there as Alabama football received two more wins on the day with USC's upset of Oregon and Baylor's upset of Oklahoma, pushing us closer and closer to a rematch with LSU. So the Tide gets 4 wins in the span of 24 hours... nice.
Sunday- The always lovable Detroit Lions start the day rallying from a 24-7 deficit to defeat Cameron Newton and the Carolina Panthers, giving them 7 wins and 10 games. Couple more wins and its playoffs for the Lions.
Temple gets a hard fought win over Wichita State for 3rd place in the the Peurto Rico Tournament followed by Alabama's dismantling of Purdue in the championship game. Led by the high flying MVP Tony Mitchell, Alabama looked impressive and could run the table in the pre-SEC season, even with games coming up vs VCU, Dayton, Georgetown, Kansas State and Oklahoma State.
Finally, we'll add in a Monday night hoops win in come from behind fashion for the CCHS Tigers, rallying from 11 down in the final 4:00, finishing the game on a 21-4 run.
Now if we could just bottle all of this magic, but at some point, the sports flu will hit and all of the things you want to happen, never will. But for now, still time to enjoy the spoils!
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Thanks for playing Oregon, Choklahoma, Clempson and Choklahoma State in the quest for the BCS Title Game. Their will be parting gifts at the door on the way out to second tier bowl purgatory.
Where do we begin... well let's start with Oregon, who dropped a game in stunning fashion to USC. Its not a surprise that USC manned up and beat Oregon but the fact that USC dominated Oregon for long stretches. Then Chip Kelly had a massive clock mis management taking two timeouts with him , I guess now to the Holiday Bowl. All those who said Oregon deserved a rematch with LSU look like fools. Time and time again, when these speed teams from the Pac 12 or Big 12 meet an SEC team, they struggle because the SEC has just as fast and way bigger players. USC comes close to being an SEC team because they can match the speed and size.
Clempson, although what looked like an outside shot for the title game, was dashed by NC State, who has their best player still playing quarterback at Wisconsin. How very Clempson of you to drop this type of game.
As for Okie State, what can you say. They had a 17 point cushion in Ames, Iowa and fell apart to a game Iowa State. The Cyclones, behind some timely turnovers, stayed in the game, forced overtime, and grinded the way to a massive celebration, not only in Ames but also throughout Tuscaloosa and the entire state of Alabama with the exception of Lee County. Odds are the Pokes will never come this close again to a national title game in football and it was all thrown away to a school that saw Gene Chizik produce a 5-19 record at. Its also coached by a former Auburn Def. Coordinator in Paul Rhodes so nice to see Auburn is helping out Alabama.
Choklahoma...another egg laying performance by medium game Bob Stoops as they fall to Baylor. So much for that bedlam series meaning the world in a few weeks in Stillwater.
Les Miles said he would be "onored" to play Alabama again, well outside of an Iron Bowl upset, that dream will come true.
As for the rankings, I'll just use the eyeball test.
#4-#100...118,119 or however many D-1 teams there are- Doesn't matter because the best football outside of the AFC and NFC is played in the upper half of the SEC West. Add in a fourth team and have LSU take on #4 in Dallas and Alabama vs Arkansas rematch in Nashville and have the winners play in New Orleans. You can thank me for solving college football's post season woes later.
Other musings in the week that was....wait, in the words of Lee Corso, ohh F%*# It, Just kidding...
Congrats to the Penn State players on their win over THE Ohio State in the Horseshoe. Its a nice reprieve for the players who didn't ask for any of this and sets up a winner take all showdown for a spot in the Big 10 Title game vs Wisconsin. But it could lead to a situation where PSU collects a Big 10 Championship Trophy that used to have Joe Paterno's name on it.
Can we have SEC Contraction...please Mike Slive. Ole Miss is the worst team ever in the history of this conference. Les Miles took a knee from inside the 5 yard line just to stop from scoring again. That's embarrassing on so many levels but its the second time its happened as Alabama could have punched another TD in the final minutes and refused too. The Admiral Ackbars must go, somewhere, to C-USA or the Sun Belt, I don't care but get them out of here.
Nice win for Virgina over Florida State, setting up a winner take all contest against Va. Tech next week for the right to face Clemson in the ACC Title game. Only thing is, they had to win the game about 4 times in the last 20 seconds thanks to replay.
And thanks to replay, Tennessee eeked out its first SEC win of the year over Vanderbilt, at home, in overtime. Let that sink in for a second. Never mind you I haven't mentioned anything about the Vols celebrating like they won an SEC Title or something. I compared Derek Dooley to Mike Shula, let me apologize to Mike Shula. He was a way better coach then Son of Vince, who is more comparable to Ed Ogeron at Ole Miss.
Congrats to Benard Pierce and Trent Richardson on their record breaking touchdown seasons at Temple and Alabama. Both men are scoring machines. And as far as the Heisman Trophy goes, Trent Richardson has been the most consistent, so at this point he should the top choice then followed by Andrew Luck and take your pick,
Finally, you would think with the growth of soccer in our country that we could find more reliable field goal kickers across the country...just saying.
Until rivalry weekend...enjoy your Turkey Day.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
It was just a week ago, on a 5 minute ride on the bus shuttle from downtown Tuscaloosa to Bryant-Denny Stadium, that I read about the horror that was being uncovered in State College. Amazing things that technology can accomplish today, reading news articles from around the world any where at any time. Here it was the Game of the Century, LSU at Alabama, and it was being bumped off the front page due to a developing child abuse scandal at Penn State.
That ride through throngs of fans will not be forgotten as its the first I heard of this scandal. Likewise when the PSU Board of Trustees finally interrupted a live Temple Football broadcast on ESPN to announce they were firing Joe Paterno, those words sent chills down my spine, not once but several times later in even replay forms.
There are always events, that signify defining moments in our lives, many times they involve something that has been a constant in our lives. I'm sure the loss of JoePa for the Lion Fans will be something they can't fathom or comprehend, maybe ever.
Now that all of these developments have emerged in the past 10 days, here is how I see this ongoing tragedy because at the end of the day, thats what it is, a tragedy that hurt who knows haw many young people. And for the record, I'll apologize for rambling on in what ever direction.
1. Jerry Sandusky- Un Freaking Believable that this sicko is out on bond for such a small amount of $$$. And then he has the audacity to continue to wear Penn State garb out in public, shopping, all the while living in a residence 1,000 feet from an elementary school. How can you retire, which we now know he was forced out in 1998-99, and still keep an office key, all the while continuing to bring young prey with you to and from practice, games, etc.
2. Mike McQueary- I felt bad for Mike for a nanosecond, but how do you go into a building, see and hear a child rape going on and you don't stop, call the police, say something. Just look and run out and then comeback the next day to report it to your head coach only after you consulted your father. And its not like he was 18-22, he was a grown man at 28. Now he must be one of the key witnesses and made some sort of deal where he could not be fired for working for the prosecution.
3. Dumb and Dumber-PSU AD Time Curley and President Spanier. Both of these men are arrogant sons of bitches who thought they could hide this crap, cover it up, turn it over to the Keystone Cops or University Park PD and all would be done. Everybody knows the that the PSU PD was in JoePa's pocket, hiding arrests, not reporting incidents, etc. for football players. It goes on everywhere. Then Dumb and Dumber have always felt they were above everyone else and now they are paying for their stubbornness. And where do Corley and Spanier get off in asking Joe Paterno to resign in 2004 after a 4th losing season in 5 years and JoePa tells them he isn't ready to retire. Bullcrap, you fire him if he's not ready to go. Not firing JoePa has burned this university to a crisp. The last question, were dumb and dumber acting as a legend or a Leader?
4. Joe Paterno- here is a man who obviously has portrayed an image that is not pure as led to believe. JoePa did the right thing in reporting the rape incident to his superiors, but do you leave it there? A day or two later, you need to go back and ask what's going on? If its not turned over to the police, then you take measures into your own hands. Joe Pa didn't and paid dearly, a legend tarnished forever. And thats ashamed. This should have been a chance to go to the Rose Bowl, ride off into the sunset, instead its the defining moment of Joe's career. I think Joe could have finished the season, if, and I say if he did not be so stubborn and keep having press conference on his front lawn. There should have been one voice, through someone in the university on this matter, not JoePa having press conferences on his front lawn. He tried to cover his butt by telling the Board of Trustees not to waste a minute on him as he would retire at the end of the year and that in hindsight, he should have done more about the issue when he had the chance. First, JoePa didn't think he would get fired by mouthing off but basically incriminated himself by making these foolish statements. If he had kept his mouth shut, he could have finished off the season but he didn't leaving the BOT no choice but to can him.
5. Scott and Jay Paterno. Nepotism days are over so its about time you go and get a real job on your own. And how did Scott become family spokesman, arguing with the media on the front lawn then tweeting updates about JoePa. Great PR job by all involved. As I watched Scott on TV, I hoped someone would give him a hamburger just to shut him up.
6. PSU football staff hours. Well we now know JoePa apparently only goes to work at about 2 pm and comes home by 5 for practice thanks to the media on the front lawn. PSU staff members must not stay late either as Jay Paterno and McQueary were seen leaving the football building before 6. Meanwhile, Nick Saban works sun up to sun down as do most D-1 head coaches and the coordinators and assistants do the same. Just saying....
7. Penn State-the university- Public Relations colleges across the country will use this PSU fiasco as a way to not handle things. No press conference, a president with no leadership or backbone acting as if nothing would happen. You better get out and control the story before the story controls you which is what has happened at PSU. The powers that be and for that matter, have an arrogant stubbornness about them that PSU is better, that they were Ivy Leagesque. Hell no your not better, in fact you are the worst scum that's ever lived for allowing, enabling and covering up child rape. PSU leaders acted like the national media would never converge on quaint little, State College in the geographical center of PA, but it happened. With almost every national football writer in Tuscaloosa on Saturday, that meant it would be Monday, but more then likely Tuesday before any of them could get to PSU. PSU leaders could have been out in front of this and put up a united front, called a Sunday press conference, presented their side and gone from there. Instead they acted like we are still a newspaper society, but in fact new travels so fast via twitter that they live in the Dark Ages in State College. The leaders at PSU failed everyone, from the fans, alumni, students and most of all, those innocent children.
8. PSU-the fans and alumni- I feel really bad for the true PSU fans and alums, they don't deserve this. I don't feel bad for the fan who wears the PSU shirt, is a loud mouth about PSU, but has never come close to stepping foot on campus. They don't have a clue what it means to be part of a close knit, university community. But the true supporters of this school don't deserve this, they were blinded and failed by PSU leaders.
9. PSU-the students- why were they rioting and protesting on Wednesday? Only in the Big 10 can you get a PhD in rioting with a master's in dumpster fires or couch burnings. Absolutely ridiculous. If I was in school, and my dad saw me rioting, protesting someone getting fired that enabled child rape and he saw me on TV, forget it, it would be over. He's going to be at the dorm room the next day, your coming home and find another way to make a living cause your standing up for the wrong thing, a football program over abused children.
10. The media-where the hell was ESPN on Wednesday night??? They interrupt Temple Football to show us a press conference with no live video??? What is this, 1940 WWII coverage?? meanwhile, some British chick named Isha, who speaks King's English was owning this story with live coverage, video of the presser and rioting, while informing us with a ticker on the bottom of the screen that "college football was a big money maker for universities." I guess it was the international hour. ESPN failed miserably at their coverage, almost completely ignoring the story on Sunday and Monday and then couldn't get any of their reporters on the air live, despite the fact they were covering the game Saturday. Was everybody out getting drunk on Beaver Canyon or enjoying Peachy Paterno ice cream during this time? Epic Fail by the Worldwide Leader.
11. The Future- Where does PSU go from here. Obviously they must clean house, anybody who knew must go. There are no secrets on coaching staffs, you spend more time with them then you do your own family, you know who has problems about anything so PSU must clean house. If it took Maryland almost 20 years to recovers from Len Bias' death and SMU almost 25 to recover from the Death Penalty, it might take PSU longer to recover from this stigma, especially if more and more victims come clean. Right now, we're back to 1995 and its possible these allegations could stretch back to the 1970's when Sandusky became the Def. Coordinator. At a minimum, we are looking at 20 but I think it could be a 30 year fix or longer.
Its ashamed that no one at this university put their foot down to stop this charade, hurting the proud fans and alumni of this school, but most of all its ashamed of what happened to these children. I hope Jerry Sandusky burns for all he's done.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Halfway through November and we are inching closer to a possible rematch for the national championship, whether that is LSU vs Oregon or LSU vs Alabama, both possibilities became striking closer with Oregon's dismantling of Stanford and Boise State yanking another late season game with poor field goal kicking.
Stanford fans, you can now stop worrying about Alabama staying ahead of you in the BCS poll. Andrew Luck may be a great player, but too bad he doesn't play defense because Oregon shredded the Cardinal at will. Oregon jumped on Stanford early, went for 2 on the first PAT, set a tone where Stanford was playing from behind all night. So even though Brent Mussberger and Kirk Herbstriet had their man crush on Luck busted, he'll probably still win the Heisman because he patted his receiver on the head after his second Pick 6 of the night.
As for LSU and Alabama, both seemed to sleep walk in their respective contests as LSU finally pulled away in their Homecoming win while Alabama gave up a touchdown for the first time in 14 quarters in a 24-7 win at Mississippi State. I also hear Auburn fans rolled Toomer's Corner because Alabama's defense finally gave up a touchdown. We are inching closer to a rematch in the Superdome on Jan 9th. Of course, 9-1 Arkansas still has something to say about this and isn't out of either the SEC or National Title picture yet.
Oklahoma State, on the other hand, dominated Texas Tech and Tommy Tubberville 66-6. And it wasn't even that close. The Pokes, 10-0 for the first time in school history, will have their season defined against Oklahoma on December 3rd. They can score and finally showed they can stop a team that historically has been able to put points on the board.
And to all the Boise State lovers, sorry but they aren't that good and thank goodness for TCU and Gary Patterson for choosing to go for and converting on the 2 point conversion. Boise is a good team and would give any top 10 team fits, but they are not good enough to compete week in and week out against high quality competition. Its not a bad thing, its just a fact. They are a very good program that will always be a notch or two behind the the top 10 teams, but always capable of winning a one game scenario.
Other observations from Saturday...
I saw where Notre Dame calls there we play the worst team that a big time conference has to offer in somewhat of a neutral site so it looks like we're beating a quality team "The Shamrock Series." No this is what its called. Beating Washington State in San Antonio in 2009, Army in Yankee Stadium in 2010 and Maryland in Washington DC in 2011 is an absolute joke. They should be ashamed of playing these games.
Gene Chizik should send Mark Richt a Christmas Card because Georgia could have scored 70 on Auburn but they didn't. Now the Dawgs control their own destiny for a Sugar Bowl Bid if they win out, which includes the SEC Title Game.
Dan Mullen and Gus Malzahn should send Christmas Cards to Tim Tebow and Cameron Newton because both men owe their current and future head coaching positions to these men. These offensive, gurus, geniuses or whatever you want to call them can't score points against good competition without their super star QB's. Both men are frauds.
Tennesse under Derek Dooley looks eerily similar to Alabama under Mike Shula. Just saying...
Finally, as for Penn State, I thought the whole week was sad and disgusting for college football, but more importantly, for those poor children. I will discuss this entire situation in the future when I get more time to express my thoughts about this sick time.
Until Next week....
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Saturday saw the center of the college football universe staring directly at the oncoming slugfest between #1 LSU and #2 Alabama. If someone had said there will be a breaking college football story that would out trend this game, one would have to really think hard about what story could push a Game of the Century to the side.
I don't think anyone could have fathomed what news was coming out of State College surrounding the Penn State Athletic Department and football program. The details surrounding retired defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky alleged extra curricular activities with young male children and the possible cover up is just sick.
Personally, I never have been a fan of Penn State despite growing up in the heart of south central PA, but just because I never liked PSU doesn't mean I didn't respect them. Joe Paterno and Jerry Sandusky have been two of the iconic figures of this program, Sandusky particularly for building Linebacker U. They were the face of so many great Lion victories, people who you knew did it the right way, someone who was always respected. But now, thats gone for good, no matter what the outcome is for Sandusky. It will be really sad if Paterno takes the stand against Sandusky, as its being reported will happen.
But what is worst is the innocence that those young people lost within Sandusky's presence. I know these are allegations, but there is no way they would bring a case without the evidence in place. No one respected those young people enough to put there foot down and stop this from happening, from the coaches in the know to Paterno, the AD and all the way up to the president. If it was one of my 4 beloved children that this happened too, you can bet the police and the powers that be would have been summoned much sooner instead of waiting for several years for justice to begin it process.
Its people like Jerry Sandusky and other bad apples that give people like me who are passionate about teaching and coaching for a living a bad reputation. For every one Jerry Sandusky there hundreds and thousands of other educators/coaches that take a parents most prized possession, there child, into their respective arena each day and attempt to make them a better person, unlike the Sandusky's or other bad people in these professions we have to hear about.
This story is terrible on so many fronts, that now it seems that several members of the coaching staff all the way up to the PSU president have knowledge of what was happening at some point over a 15 year period. It also seems as if Penn State has dropped the ball on holding press conferences, getting some damage control done or getting out ahead of the story. Now you can bet at the weekly PSU football press conference, the national media outlets will all have a presence in University Park and begin questioning Joe Paterno and his knowledge, despite what statements he's already made through media releases or lawyers. Its like they're living in the dark ages in State College, unaware that more and more people get news from sources on Twitter, ESPN.com or facebook.
Outside of completely cleaning house, and I mean all around at PSU from anyone on the entire coaching staff who had knowledge from Paterno, the AD and President as to what was going on, they need to be gone. This scandal is worst then any point shaving, tattoo parlor, Scam Newton pay for play or any other conceivable case in NCAA History. Its become a court case, not some petty NCAA thing that who knows how they'll investigate. Success with Honor, not anymore at Penn State. No matter how it plays out it will be a sad ending whether a Joe Paterno can survive this or not, the damage is already done for a man, program and university that spent years building what once was a great reputation.
Quick synopsis of the only game that mattered yesterday and one that I had the privilege to attend, LSu at Alabama.
First, the amount of people and atmosphere yesterday was unreal in Tuscaloosa. People were just everywhere and not many tickets were for sale on the street. The crowd was at a fever pitch even during pre game warm ups.
Secondly, I'm sure some pundits in this spread era will say it was dull or boring, but quite the contrary. The tension in Bryant-Denny Stadium last night was unreal as this was just an old school game played between two dominating defenses, that basically prevented the offenses from ever making a game breaking play. It was also one of the most physical football games you'll ever see, not some video game/two hand touch edition of Big 12/Pac 12 football.
Obviously LSU has the inside track to the title game, but Alabama has to feel they let this game get away. Time and again the Tide moved the ball inside the LSU 30 only to have a pentaly, sack, negative play on first down lead to a stalled drive and then setting up the barrage of long field goal misses.
Then when given the opportunity, LSU made the plays in order to force overtime, picking off an AJ McCarron and Marquise Maze pass to set up then preserve the 6-6 tie. Even when Alabama made big plays, it was coupled with mistakes, a block in the back on a Mark Barron INT return that prevented a first and goal situation, not fielding a punt that essentially flipped field position and forced overtime in the middle of the 4th quarter, etc.
So now LSU is in prime position to win the west and head to Atlanta and then New Orleans. Alabama is staring down the barrel of an 11-1 season with no hardware to show for it and a Sugar Bowl berth. It looks as if Alabama will be # 3 in the BCS standings this afternoon but needs help for a rematch or needs Arkansas to beat LSU. Time will let all of this play out, but for now LSU is in the driver's seat to win its 3rd national title in 9 years....
Thursday, November 3, 2011
The moment is finally here, by far the biggest game of this young century is upon us as # 1 LSU visits Tuscaloosa to take on # 2 Alabama.
The build up for this regular season game is unparalleled in the history of college football. College Gameday starts its broadcasts from outside Bryant-Denny Stadium today, in anticipation of this contest. Both teams have been equally impressive steam rolling opponents, winning in hostile environments, dominating teams to the point of submission.
Add in that both teams have an off week, coupled with an already intense rivalry between LSU and Alabama, along with an ex coach leading one team, and a switch to primetime television. Also, both teams have dominated leaders from the Pac 10, Big 10 & Big East on the road or neutral sites to the point that those teams don't even belong on the same field. Tie it all together and football amrmagedden is upon us!
Quarterbacks: Alabama's unsung hero AJ McCarron has continued to grow in this spot, but still seems to hold onto the ball to long and tends to overthrow his receivers. Jarret Lee and Jordan Jefferson bring a different dynamic into the fold, with Lee reinventing himself while Jefferson has returned from his summer transgressions.
Running Back: The Beast Trent Richardson, he seems to carry 11 men in a single bound against LSU's 5 headed machine. There is strength in numbers, especially having fresh legs in a hard hitting contest, but its hard to go against the Heisman Trophy Candidate.
Wide Receivers: LSU seems to have more big play capability, especially after seeing them vs Auburn, but Alabama has a consistent bunch led by Maze and Hanks. The big difference maker, Julio Jones, is gone for 'Bama which is enough to sway this southward.
Offensive Line: Alabama has a mostly experienced bunch as does LSU. 'Bama's biggest problem has been holding penalties on William Valachos and LSU has impressed with their physical style.
Defensive Line: LSU has a dominating pass rush, something that is lacking from Alabama, although they get very consistent play from Nick Gentry and the bunch. The difference is LSU has game changers at this position.
Linebackers: Defninently the weak point of the LSU defense and Alabama has a physically punishing group. Hands down, a win here in a huge way for the Tide.
Secondary: experienced bunch for Alabama that will physically beat you down has a bad habit of getting beat against new offensive looks. Expect LSU to try something crazy to exploit that tendency. LSU has some major talent here too and isn't as prone to the big play.
Special Teams: Alabama has been superb in punt returns and pulling off fake punts/field goals vs Penn State/Arkansas. But they lack in the kick-off in that they can't kick it out of the end zone. LSU's return teams are just a s good.
Coaching: Les Miles has won more respect the further we get from the Saban era from LSU. Popular belief was that LSU would eventually fall apart once Saban's players left the program. That has not happened, despite Mile's penchant for questionable decisions and time management. But he is 2-2 vs Saban, although the first win was more just based on better talent, last year Miles gambled and thoroughly outcoached Saban. Saban is still looking to regain some lost mojo from the meltdown vs Auburn in Bryant-Denny last year, Alabama's only home loss in 4 years. With that in mind, shockingly we'll call this area a push.
Intangibles: Alabama is tough to beat in front of 102,000 people, 1 home loss in 4 years now. The crowds at BDS have caused havoc for many teams. 'Bama has also never beaten a #1 team in Bryant-Denny, although thats a skewed stat because many of the Tide's biggest games used to be played at Legion Field. Saban also has a remarkable record when playing a team he lost to in a previous season.
As much as it pains me to say it, I think the wrong team is favored in this game. Both teams are evenly matched and the differences between the two are ever so small. My pick and I hope its wrong... LSU 23 Alabama 20