Sunday, November 6, 2011

Alabama and LSU: The Day After

Hard to believe that, just a year ago, a lot of fans in Louisiana were calling for Les Miles' head.  Admittedly, I thought he was a bit over his head as well.  However, another dominant season from the Tigers has changed my opinion.

Saturday night they took it to what I thought was the best team in the country, the Alabama Crimson Tide.  In the Tide's house.  A rivalry game, by the way, they've won three out of the last four years.  Saban years.

Makes you scratch your head, doesn't it? Saban is the guy who gets all the evil genius compliments, the coach of the year accolades.  However, Saban seemed to coach this game insecure.  Playing it safe.  Until he didn't, and the one trick play that could have worked backfired with an interception on the goal line.

He played it safe in calling for super-long field goals that his supposed stud kickers couldn't make.  Between Cade Foster and Jeremy Shelley, the Tide missed FGs of 52, 50, 49, and 44 yards.  Foster hadn't played much this year.  He has been only 1/3 in field goals so far this year, and his only make was a 46-yarder.  THIS is the game you're going to make him kick 50-yarders?

How about trying to pin the Tiger super deep with a punt? How about going for it on occasion on fourth down? How about a more risk-taking offensive game plan?

If I were Saban, I'd be kicking myself today.  The loss should be squarely on him, and no other person.

On the other side, Miles doesn't get enough credit.  He's consistently built a great defense at LSU that has endured for years.  He is 70-18 in the toughest conference in the country.  Granted, he has made some boneheaded decisions in the past in regards to clock management and decisions made in-game, but no one can deny that his teams are always ready to play.

There is still a chance that LSU-Alabama could be the national title game.  Stanford could lose to Oregon, Oklahoma State to Oklahoma, and do you really think Boise St will get a chance this year? If a one-loss team makes it to the national championship game, it will be Alabama.

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