Finally, mercifully this long, arduous journey is nearly over. And I'm just talking about my writing. It’s the Allstate BCS National Championship Game, the ultimate contest to decide the best college football team in the land. Is it me, or does this game seemingly creep closer and closer to being played in February every year? Nevertheless, Alabama and LSU finally get their rematch; the SEC wins another National Champion to the chagrin of the other 11 conferences (as of this writing) and 108 non-SEC schools in Division I College Football, and Paul Finebaum, no matter the outcome, becomes the most listened to man in the history of spoken word.
This game will be a sequel, and 98.7% of the time, these things don't turn out so well.
I've never been so miffed after leaving a theater than I was at the conclusion of this turkey...
Will Bama vs. LSU II live up to the original? Yes. And here's why:
I thought Nick Saban was out-coached in the first game, and he just failed miserably in the brief overtime period. Despite Alabama's ability to move the ball between the "20s" for the bulk of the contest, Saban's conservatism eventually forced them into field goal situations and we all know how this turned out. Overtime was especially unkind to Saban and the endgame was decided when A.J. McCarron took a 3rd down sack forcing an impossible 52-yard field goal attempt which, as expected, fell far short. This game was about defenses. The rematch might be a bit different because Saban will be more aggressive on both sides of the ball. I believe this will make for more offense, and more scoring. If Saban gambles and wins, he'll force LSU's hand, which just adds to the intrigue. On the other hand, LSU is good enough to turn any gamble into a painful lesson. Hopefully, it'll turn into a high-stakes chess match that doesn't disappoint. Both teams don't mind playing the field position game. They're confident enough (rightly so) in their respective ability to stop the other guy. But you've got to score points to win, and I just don't see either coach going into an offensive shell like we saw in round one.
One of these guys doesn't have time for "have a nice day."
LSU certainly showed us, as Bulldog fans, how great they truly are...but we exposed some vulnerabilities as well, if creative play calling is actually consummated by execution (you know...like actually catching a touchdown pass or two). I don't know if Georgia stays with LSU if we build up the kind of lead we left on the table, but this is what I took away from our match up with the Tigers: You can get to them, but you'd better do it early. Alabama needs to get a lead on LSU if they want a shot. LSU has only played from behind a few times this season, but has carved up all-comers with ease after the half. If LSU builds any kind of lead on Alabama, this game could get ugly. As great as Trent Richardson is, I believe Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron is a liability. Bama has got to be able to run the ball. They did rush for nearly 200 yards in Round 1. It's the red zone that became the issue. Bama has to be able to throw the ball. Good luck with that.
Is there any reason to think that this game will feature any more offensive (and scoring) than the first game? Alabama still leads the nation in total defense through 12 games. LSU is second, having played one more game. Is this an advantage for the Tigers, having played a game more recently than their opponent? There is a tremendous amount of rust on both of these teams, and I'd speculate that Alabama is the rustier of the two. Alabama might be harder pressed to score because of this.
No matter the odds and the lay-off time between games for either team, I believe this will be a very, very good game; perhaps a classic. Rarely do sequels result in what is expected, but defense wins championships which is something that LSU and Alabama possess more than anyone in the country. There may be more scoring, and considering the faster track of the Louisiana Superdome carpet, some scoring might result from special teams (decided advantage LSU).
Expect more dominating defensive performances by both squads, but this game won't end 9-6. I believe the Honey Badger makes at least one significant play, and LSU gains an early lead that 'Bama will be hard-pressed to catch up to. Jarrett Lee took most of the snaps in the first meeting. He'll never see the field unless Jordan Jefferson gets hurt of is simply ineffective. LSU has played an incredible schedule, perhaps the toughest ever. They don't walk a mile for a Camel down in Baton Rouge for nuttin', folks. It reminds me a little bit of Andy DuFresne's letter to Red in The Shawshank Redemption.
LesRed, If you're reading this, you've gotten out. And if you've come this far, maybe you're willing to come a little further.
LSU has walked a long, hard road to get to where they are. Just one more hurdle, this time basically in their own backyard. Bottom line: We'll see the same stellar defensive play from both sides, with a bit more scoring but another close game down the stretch.
Don't Bet On It Prediction: LSU 20 Alabama 13
If I'm correct, Finebaum is gonna be a blast this week...