OK. Done. The season is officially over, in the books. Everyone happy with the ending of this edition of the BCS-E-C wins?
On Monday night, the Alabama Crimson Tide- who did not win their conference or even division- embarrassed LSU in their own backyard to claim their 2nd BCS Championship in 3 years. Alabama used a ferocious flurry of field goal attempts, just enough offense, and a smothering defense in a dominating display in the SuperDome. They shut out an unbeaten Tigers team 21-0 that the SEC homers were a win away from writing off as among the best teams ever.
What is there to say after the “The Game of the Century Part 2”? Not a whole lot. This game was just another glaring example of annual end of the season discontent across college football. Will the backlash this year be enough alert the powers that be in college football to finally Bring Change Soon? Talks have surfaced that big changes may be on the way in the future, that the leaders of the conferences will be meeting for just this purpose. It is time for something new.
Now I wish the Alabama faithful well, I actually have some of their alum in my extended family and I know that they will gladly take this win in a minute. It is a well deserved victory for the people and city of Tuscaloosa, for the players and coaches and for their fans. However, the rest of the nation looking in is growing tired of this Broken Cartel System.
Don’t get me wrong, Alabama looks every bit like a championship team.
They committed only 1 penalty, took care of the ball, and their quarterback played a nice, efficient game. But who wouldn’t want to see them line up in 2 weeks against Oklahoma State, or better yet, how about the winner of Oregon and Oklahoma State?
Subtract the 12 penalties and 4 turnovers Oregon committed in the LSU game to start the season, and what I wouldn’t give to see the Ducks get a crack at any of these teams.
Critics and SEC apologists will say that defense is only played in the south, and that the games in other parts of the country- the ones that commonly feature touchdowns- are just a result of a lack of defense being played. Both Alabama and LSU boast special talent on defense, no doubt about it. Few teams, or conferences for that matter have NFL ready players like #30 Donte Hightower or #41 Courtney Upshaw for example. #49 Kiki Mingo on LSU is a great player to watch, and the line players for both teams are enormous and athletic.
While that might be the case when talking about the defensive players, one fact can not be overlooked: The offenses this season for both LSU, Alabama, and the rest of the SEC for that matter, were atrocious.
The Tide have a rare athlete in Heisman finalist RB Trent Richardson, but if you take away his 35 yard TD (with only 4:36 left) he is left with just 61 yards on 19 carries and a 3.2 per carry average. While statistically underwhelming, you could say the Alabama passing game was sufficient.
But how would you describe that LSU offense? Just a formality to set up the punter? Would you say it was Sloppy or clunky? Rusty? As a team, they finished with just 92 yards. Of Total offense. At the 13 minute mark, they had still not crossed the 50 yard line.
For those keeping track at home, their entire offense over 60 minutes was able to muster 1 more yard than De’Anthony Thomas’ record run right up the middle in the Rose Bowl on just one play in the 1st quarter. Georgia Southern was able to rack up more yards against Alabama in one game (341) than LSU was able to in two games (331).
I am not going to get into specifically what changes I think need to be made with the college football postseason (Jared Sawyer has some good ideas here), but it as clear as ever that something has to give. The most popular college sport deserves a true national champion that earns it on the field.
However, we should also give the BCS some credit. It has helped to raise college football’s prominence nationally. It is great at making money for certain people, and a boost for the communities that host the games. It is a TV ratings monster built with the idea of matching the best against the best. The problem is, the games rarely live up to expectations. More often than not, the leave most people clammoring for more, and also for the games to get going earlier in the bowl season.
We have heard the losing teams say the long layoffs are to blame for a team losing focus, or sometimes it is simply one team out playing another. Whatever the reasoning, the outcomes of. these games are rarely in doubt. Often times, what we as fans get is an over-hyped clunker like we were force fed last night. The results of the BCS Championship Games:
’98- #1 Tennessee 23 – #2 Florida State 16
’99- #1 Florida State 46 – #2 Virginia Tech 29
’00- #1 Oklahoma 13 – #2 Florida State 2
’01- #1 Miami 37 – #2 Nebraska 14
’02- #2 Ohio State 31 – #1 Miami 24
’03- #2 LSU 21 – #1 Oklahoma 14
’04- #1 USC 55 – #2 Oklahoma 19
’05- #2 Texas 41 – #1 USC 38
’06- #2 Florida 41 – #1 Ohio State 14
’07- #2 LSU 38 – #1 Ohio State 24
’08- #2 Florida 24 – #1 Oklahoma 14
’09- #1 Alabama 37 – #2 Texas 21
’10- #1 Auburn 22 – #2 Oregon 19
’11- #2 Alabama 21 – #1 LSU 0
The results of the game last night actually made me even a little more proud of the performance by the Ducks last year. Despite Oregon losing in that BCS title game, at least they scored touchdowns, kept it competitive, and certainly looked better than LSU did in defeat!
Before the game, LSU coach Les Miles guaranteed the nation that they would finally get to see some “big boy football”. If that is the case, then count me as a fan of a different brand of “big boy football” where they actually score more than 1 touchdown after 9 quarters of play. Let us all hope that the “meeting of the minds” in the off season might bring real systematic changes. The kind that may actually allow for a little more closure and less controversy when the season ends.