I hope it was worth it!
Congrats to the Bama Tide for capturing their 2nd National Championship in the last 3 years. Was it the most exciting or electrifying BCS title game ever? Hecks no! Was it an SEC game at it's best? Not really? Then what exactly did we witness in Alabama's 21-0 woodshed beat down of the LSU Tigers? I honestly can say that we may have seen the best defense in college football history - EVER. Throw out the statistical facts of leading the country in the four major statistical categories. I don't want to hear about some 1950's Notre Dame team that played against wing-T teams. Maybe the Miami and Florida State teams of the 90's can compare, but this Bama D is on a whole different level with respects to speed and sheer desire to hit any fool carrying a football - or even a fool who looks like they want to carry the football. We witnessed what is termed a swarming defense - no inside runs, no outside runs, no bubble screens, no QB draws, no nothing. LSU couldn't manage jack. Holding the number one team to less than 100 yards of offense is just pure insane. No one except this Tide defense could do that. How do I know? Because LSU has laid, on average, 39 points a game during the year. And that includes the lowly 9 they scored against Bama in the first game. Take away that game and LSU was averaging almost 42 points a game. This from a power running offense. Ive told people this today and I truly believe it: if LSU played Oklahoma State in the title game, they would have won by a score of at least 42-14.
So what went wrong with the LSU offense?
Just plain SEC hard
The picture above is of Dont'a Hightower of Alabama. The photo isn't from last nights game, but it is meant to illustrate the relentlessness of the BCS title game defensive MVP. First of all, dude looks as though he has no desire to slow down and will, if necessary put his head right through the ball carrier without any care in the world. This is what LSU's offense had to deal with all night plus 10 more dudes who were flying to the ball with bad intentions.
Now as lets flip the script a little. As good as Bama was on defense, Jordan Jefferson was just as bad. Not just bad, but 'I got paid to lose this game' bad. Don't lie! You were thinking it also. This dude looked uninspired and drugged. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Not only that, every time they showed him on the sidelines he looked like he was on the synthetic marijuana that the Honey Badger was suspended for taking. You have to wonder if this dude even knew the plays he was running - which brings me to another point. LSU's had no offensive game plan - I'm sure they had plays which were on a sheet but there was nothing that showed they were setting up something, attempting to get in a rhythm or even trying to compete. It seems like they were trying to not to lose, or like they thought that at some time our defense or special teams will make a play and turn the tide. While Saban was dialing up the D, it looked as if they were playing against their own 'look squad'. These are the guys who run the other teams offense during the week leading up to a game. They are told by the coaches to not go hard and give the defense a good look so that they can get to their spots. In addition, the scout team QB is told to throw up a couple of passes so that the DB's can get some work at intercepting some balls. This is what Jordon Jefferson and LSU's offense looked like - A scout team. Every time they ran a play, it looked like Bama was there before they were.
This leads me to the main reason LSU loss. Preparation. One of the players remarked after the game that they won because of the Saban Factor. The player said that if you give Coach Saban 45 days to prepare, it's a done deal. Saban hit trumps early (if you don't play spades, forget about this reference) and went for the win. Les Miles looked as though they were uninspired and had no pop to them, and that's on the the Mad Hatter. I don't know what went on for the month leading up to the game but Les didn't do it right. It may have worked against any other team with lesser talent, but not Nick Saban and Alabama. I've been fortunate to be involved in championship games as a player and a coach and the one thing you need to do as a coach is to know that you need to be mentally peaking at game time so that the players can be physically unleashed when the ball is kicked off for the first time.
Miles didn't do it and it seemed that LSU, as a whole, was caught off guard in all facets of the game:
Offense - LSU never got in a rhythm of running the ball and seemed to just be out played and out smarted by Bama
Defense - Never got comfortable with the play action passes and the different formations of the Tide's offense
Special Teams - The LSU kick return team had 6 opportunities to make a momentum changing play before Bama put the game way away. Even after 5 field goals as well as the opening kick, LSU never had a return that gave them any good field position. In addition, the Honey Badger had no room to make a decent return. When your starting defense is playing special teams and covering kicks, then tells you how serious Saban and the team thought winning EVERY part of the game was.
From what I hear, Les Miles is getting it bad from the LSU fans via the airwaves. That is understandable. Once thing that the LSU faithful must realize is that, Miles was matching wits against possibly the best coach, motivator, recruiter and college football CFO EVER - yes ever. And not only that, Bama fielded, in my mind, the most athletically, and physically dominating defense ever. Could Les have had a better game plan? Yes. But in hindsight, neither he nor his players had a chance last night.
Looking good Bama! Looking good! ROLL TIDE
Monday, January 9, 2012
The picture above is an actual picture taken outside of my office in downtown Buffalo New York on January 9th, 2012. Let me shed light on a few interesting things about this photo. First, it is January and there is no snow on the ground - not even a drop. Usually we are dealing with a good amount of snow fall here in Western New York during the month of January. Actually, the weather here has been downright beautiful. Saturday, we saw a 50 degree day.Heck, that's shorts and wife-beater weather out here. Even today, it's in the mid-to-upper 30's. Now the kicker: THE SUN IS OUT!!!!!!! For those of you who do not know Buffalo, the sun is rarely out during these months. We usually don't see the sun around these parts till about April. A brother from Mississippi would turn pale here during winter. No Joke.
I'm mentioning this to make the point that today is the day that even The Lord Himself is smiling on Buffalo, and the whole world, as a matter a fact. WHY? BCS CHAMPIONSHIP NIGHT. God is extremely pleased with mankind for finally getting a match up correct: An all-SEC BCS title game. It should always be like this right? When you look back at the past 5 championship games which an SEC team won, you can argue that another SEC team could have snuck in the mix and played for the title also:
2006 - a 10-2 LSU team could have joined Florida in the big game. Their two loses came at the hands of an 11th ranked Auburn team and to eventual BCS Champion Florida
2007 - a 11-2 Georgia team who demolished Hawaii in the Sugar joke game could have made a better game than Ohio State. For that matter, anyone except thee Ohio State could have stepped in and shown more heart. The best part about an LSU vs Georgia championship game was that they hadn't played each other that year so at least it wouldn't have been rematch.
2008 - Though USC, Texas and Oklahoma were powerful teams, Alabama was definitely the second best team in the NCAA.That Tide team got Tebowed in the SEC Championship 31-20, but easily could have been given the rematch. Florida was a juggernaut and Nick Saban had Alabama on the rise. Both teams were undefeated during the regular season and ranked 1 & 2. Oklahoma pulled the votes for the championship and got slapped again. I think Alabama would have easily given the Gators a better game.
2009 - This was a reversal of fortune year as the undefeated Tide met the undefeated Gators in the SEC Championship game. This time, the Bama came out on top and the Gators got left out of the title game. This was Tebow's senior year and many thought he would and should have a chance to repeat. Texas, who also came in undefeated ( but from the Little 12), was the recipient of the SEC beat down this time. I know that Texas fans will note that once Colt McCoy got hurt it wasn't a real game. My rebuttal: Don't get hurt! That easy.
2010 - This year marked the beginning of the current run which LSU is on. Auburn, Led by Cam Newton, was phenomenal in 2010 and they rode that stallion all the way to the BCS championship game against Oregon. I like watching Oregon. They are entertaining with that offense and all of that speed. But lets be serious. They are in the PAC 12 (PAC 10 at the time). LSU, though losing two games (one to Auburn 24-17 and the other to Arkansas), would have easily been a better game. Yes, I know Oregon played the Tigers to the wire but...........it's Oregon. LSU, on the other hand demolished Texas A&M in the Cotton bowl 41-24. Do you know who the MVP of the game was? Tyrann Mathieu the Honey Badger. Nine months later LSU would show the NCAA world why they should have been in the BCS Championship by demolishing the Ducks, in the Jerry Dome, 40-27. And it wasn't that close.
That brings us to the clash of the titans in my home town of New Orleans tonight. The BCS has finally realized that by sticking in another conference champion to battle the SEC is useless. Who wants to see another Big 10 team, all slow of foot and overly matched athletically go in to the ring against a bunch of Men. Or a PAC 12 team with all that speed and lack of heart to tackle, get trounced by a real team made up of real players. Or even worse, a Big 12 team......nuff said.
It will be a great game to those of us who understand football. I enjoyed the first one. No player left that game without being hit. People remark about the lack of offenses in the first game. Next time they show ground level views of the game, watch the speed of the defenders. This is why the SEC is the best conference. A running lane doesn't stay open for long in that conference and all that Oregon spread stuff will get your QB and RB's broke. When LSU and Bama played anyone else in 2011, they were laying up 30-40 points. That's because they aren't playing each other. Oregon put up 27 points and West Virginia laid up 21 points against the Tigers. LSU put up 40 in each of those games. In fact LSU rung up 40 points NINE times this year. You want offense, then deal with that.
Another LSU Score
On the flip side, Bama gave up 21 points against Georgia Southern and that was about as good as it got against the #1 defense in the land. Auburn and Arkansas laid 14 on the Tide defense, but in both of those games, the Tide dominated and won by over 20 points.
So if you don't think these teams will ring up the points, well, you are stupid. The difference with the scoring of these two teams versus, lets say, Oregon, is that at some point they break the will of the opponent. They physically wear you out and then you just get tired of their o-line pushing on you and those big, greasy, nasty, hard, backs running through your d-line, up to your secondary. At some point, those DB's get tired of tackling those brothers. The issue from the first game is that neither defense backed-the-F down. The DB's were just as fierce as the linebackers. That's what separates these two teams from everyone else. Arkansas is one of the better teams in the country, but they just got their will taken from them by both LSU and Alabama.
It's all good between these two until Monday night
With all this said, I believe it will be a great game tonight, IF, you understand football and IF you are not an SEC hater. This will be football at it's best AND GOD IS SMILING because of it.