Tag:LSU
Posted on: January 10, 2012 3:47 pm
 

When getting it right goes wrong



Posted by Tom Fornelli


Given the debacle that was Monday night's BCS Championship Game, and the ratings that accompanied it, there are no doubt a lot of people outside the southeastern United States who woke up on Tuesday morning wishing they had been given the chance to watch any game but the one they were given in the Superdome. Personally, as a fan of great defensive football, I was looking forward to the game even after already seeing the first meeting.

"The offenses can't play as poorly again the second time around," I thought to myself.

Well, at least one couldn't. Then there was LSU and Jordan Jefferson. Around what was roughly Jordan Jefferson's 89th attempt at running the speed option to the right, only to be swallowed whole by Alabama linebackers, I began to feel as though I were the victim of Chinese Water Torture. One more attempt and I would start spilling my darkest secrets to whoever wanted to hear them just so that LSU would try something different. Anything different. Like maybe gaining four yards.

Instead what we saw was years of work and research by Ivan Pavlov and his classical conditioning theory thrown out the window. Turns out his dogs were smarter than anybody running the LSU offense.

It was also around this point that I began thinking to myself that I'd rather have seen someone like Oklahoma State getting a chance. And while I've done my fair share of trying to prove Oklahoma State's credentials during the regular season on this blog, even then I was always under the impression that Alabama and LSU were the two best teams in the country.

I would just like to have seen what an offense like Oklahoma State's could do against a defense like LSU's, a defense that wasn't exactly stellar on Monday night if you weren't paying attention.

Which is a view point that Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy also shared following last night's game.

"I will say this," Gundy told the USA Today. "I bet you there'll be a lot of people wish they'd given us a shot to see a different kind of game.

"We'd have thrown it 50 times. You like to think Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon could have put together some touchdowns. Get the ball thrown down the field and open some things up. Try to make it exciting, and see what happens."

Surely the Cowboys, with Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon, could have put just as many points on the board against LSU as Alabama did. Combine that with Oklahoma State's defense, which was never terrible as the numbers lead one to believe, and maybe even the Tigers could have dented the scoreboard as well.

Of course, this is where you start to hear the "we've already seen what an offense like Oklahoma State can do against LSU, just ask Oregon and West Virginia" response. A response that completely ignores the fact that, while high-scoring, Oregon's offense is entirely different from Oklahoma State's, and that West Virginia's is in its infancy.

It's also an argument that conveniently omits that we'd already seen what happens between LSU and Alabama going into last night's death march as well.

Instead what we get is an Alabama team that, despite how talented and dominating it was during the season, couldn't even win its own division being crowned national champion. An idea that even when it's correct -- and it is correct -- makes absolutely no sense in a sport where every game is supposed to count.

Sometimes getting it right can go wrong.

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Posted on: January 10, 2012 3:32 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2012 6:32 pm
 

2012 BCS Championship: Last thoughts from NOLA

Posted by Adam Jacobi

NEW ORLEANS -- Hey, folks. If you haven't read my feature on AJ McCarron, the first quarterback to win the BCS Championship as a sophomore or freshman, please do so here. Generally, when you think of the phrase "game manager" in relation to a quarterback, it sounds like a euphemism for "guy who can't throw more than 20 yards," but McCarron was phenomenal in his guidance of the Alabama offense against an insanely tough LSU defense, and a most deserving Offensive MVP for the Championship Game (see McCarron at right, accepting his award). So the fact that he's a redshirt sophomore playing like a four-year starter can't be celebrated enough. 

Here are a few more thoughts from New Orleans while I'm down here.

Honey badgers aren't cornerbacks: The "honey badger" nickname works for Tyrann Mathieu. It totally works. People complaining about Brent Musberger using it on television (I didn't watch the game on TV, but there were a lot of tweets grousing about it) (UPDATE: he did it 14 times) need to realize that this is a hipster's argument about music or a big-city homebuyer's argument amount gentrification, writ completely small. If something is enjoyable and underused, people will flock to it and you don't get to claim it to yourself anymore. Social nature abhors a fun vacuum.

That all said, Tyrann Mathieu is fantastic at injecting himself into plays that he's not supposed to be involved in and forcing turnovers and touchdowns. He is also 5'9" and LSU's third-best cover corner. So Alabama decided to run and throw right at this small defender, and surprise! He wasn't nearly as good on an island, without an opportunity to wreak havoc in the backfield.

When Alabama wasn't gearing its offensive attack toward Mathieu, it was using timing and blocking to ensure that he couldn't provide much value to LSU unless he was in coverage, and even then, he was routinely targeted to great success. Alabama basically didn't let him play Honey Badger, they made him play cornerback, and Mathieu is not a good cornerback yet. If Mathieu is running away from the line of scrimmage, he's probably not about to accomplish much. Lots of teams never figured that out this year. Alabama and Nick Saban did.

The peanut butter burger at Yo Mama's is a life-changer: I had several recommendations to go to Yo Mama's right off of Bourbon Street and try a burger that featured a combination of toppings I had never even thought to mix together by themselves, much less on top of a hamburger: peanut butter and bacon.



People. You can't even imagine. Why is the inventor of that sandwich not President of Foodworld? Foodworld is a country I just imagined in my head right now but it needs to be a real thing and this hamburger is why.

Oh, they're all really just friends in the SEC!: Speaking of Bourbon Street, I spent a few hours there over the course of the week (as pretty much the only person between 12 and 55 practicing moderation) and it's akin to being a blood cell in a clogged artery. To be surrounded by people who by and large don't share your mental state is a disorienting feeling, and if someone had a phobia about being accidentally jostled by a drunk frat boy who doesn't know where he's walking, Bourbon Street would probably set off a life-altering panic attack within a matter of seconds.

And yet, even for the tens of thousands of people I walked by, I never saw anybody lose their temper at an opposing fan. Oh, there were plenty of "ROLL TIDE"s and "TIGAH BAIT"s and "BAMA NUMBER ONE"s and "GEAUX LSU"s, but generally that was the full extent of communication between the two fanbases: one catchphrase at a high volume directed at an opposing fan's face with a smile, the other fan returning with his own catchphrase, and off the two go -- usually without so much as breaking stride.

It's not terribly intellectually stimulating conversation -- heck, "conversation" is a stretch to describe it at all -- but to give so many people from these two fanbases the drunkest nights of their lives and cram them all together into one crowded quarter ought to be a recipe for testosterone-fueled disaster, and that just didn't happen. Clearly, New Orleans is magical.

The AJ McCarron effigy idea didn't really work out too well: If you missed it on the Eye on College Football Twitter feed or the Eye on College Football Facebook page, here's a photo from Monday's tailgate of an AJ McCarron effigy, laid out on a stretcher with a pair of crutches, giving that poor, lonesome Bama fan a sad:


(Right click, open picture in a new tab for bigger version. Photo via US Presswire)

Now, I'm having a hard time deciding if I don't like this. Rooting for injuries is something that's pretty uniformly against the code of football fandom (exception that proves the rule: Oakland Raiders fans). As gallows humor goes, though, it's pretty well-executed, while being cartoonish and inattentive to detail enough that it doesn't come across like a warning from a serial killer. Plus, there are crutches there, so clearly this was a lower-body injury they foreboded for McCarron and not something life-threatening.

Now, "you're still not supposed to cheer for someone to mess up their leg, either" is still a perfectly valid argument, but it should also be noted that someone for Alabama did in fact have a nasty leg injury during the game: C.J. Mosely, who suffered a dislocated hip as he was tackled after making an interception in the second half. LSU fans didn't stand up and applaud Mosely's agony at that point, so it's not as if the McCarron injury proves that LSU fans are all bloodthirsty morons. They're not. This was just a dark taunt by one particularly resourceful tailgate, and while it's not particularly tasteful, the notion of SEC football fans never expressing any enmity for an opponent, not even in jest, also seems antithetical to the sport. This isn't the Pac-12!

(Quick aside: I only heard this idea advanced in passing conversations a couple times, but let's put it to bed right now: the notion that Jordan Jefferson intentionally injured Mosely is preposterous. Bas Rutten himself can't tackle someone who's running and wreck the person's hip on command, and to suggest a quarterback could do so just beggars belief. We all on the same page there? Good.)

And finally, I will miss you, NOLA. I've never been down here before. The motive has been there for years and years, but I never had the means and opportunity until now. The city did not disappoint. Case in point: on the first night I came down here, I sat in a bar full of gregarious men, beautiful women, and dogs. Literally, there were at least five dogs on leashes, right there in the open-air bar, watching the Saints game with the rest of us. A room in back held a $7 buffet, and the food was terrific. Of course it was. It's that night -- the locals, their bar, their dogs, their team, their food, their joie de vivre, their everything that I'll miss about this city when it's time to head back north.

I could never live down here, of course. The summers are sweltering enough in Iowa, and one resident's protestation to me that "you get used to it in no time" sounds like textbook Stockholm Syndrome. But the next time it's -10 and my eyes are frozen like Audrey Griswold's -- knowing Iowa, that'll be in about two or three weeks -- there's going to be one happy place my mind goes from now on: New Orleans.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview. Like us? Tell our Facebook page. 
Posted on: January 10, 2012 2:34 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2012 6:30 pm
 

Alabama won 'the game that counted'

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The one thing that the BCS has made sure to cram down our throats every chance it gets when it comes to defending the BCS and the bowl system is that "every game counts" during college football's regular season. A stance that was proven wrong on Monday night when Alabama beat LSU in New Orleans to become the national champion and therefore confirm that LSU's win over Alabama during the regular season didn't count at all.

There's no word if the BCS plans to change its mantra to "every game counts except for the ones that sometimes don't."

Either way, Alabama fans are happy with how things turned out, and to commemorate their joy over another national championship for the Crimson Tide, they now have a shirt to remind them and everyone else which game actually counts.



Now we just it around and wait for the Oklahoma States and Boise States of the world to release a shirt that says "we won 12 games that didn't count and lost one that did." 

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Posted on: January 10, 2012 1:23 pm
 

Television ratings not kind to BCS title game

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Did you watch Alabama beat LSU 21-0 to win the BCS Championship last night? If not, you weren't alone in finding your television entertainment elsewhere.

The overnight ratings for the BCS National Championship Game show that last night's rematch between Alabama and LSU was the lowest-rated title game in the 14-year history of the BCS, bringing in a 13.8 overnight rating, a 14% drop from last year's game between Auburn and Oregon. The previous low had been set in 2002 when Miami played Nebraska for the title and the game brought a 14.3 rating.

There are a few factors that were no doubt in play here. First of all, it seems many college football fans were serious when they said they didn't want to watch a rematch of a game they'd already seen, particularly one that ended 9-6 the first time and didn't exactly provide a lot of excitement. Another factor to consider is that the game was broadcast on ESPN, which is available on cable packages and previous BCS games had always been broadcast on national networks.

The low ratings for the title game followed the trend of the other four BCS bowls as well, as the average rating of all BCS games dropped 10% from the 2010 season and 21% from the 2009 season. Again, this is likely a combination of the games now being broadcast on cable and college football fans who are tiring of the bowl system.

The good news is that with all the momentum that already seems to be in place for the BCS to add a plus-one system in the coming years, the drop in ratings may provide an additional kick in the pants. 

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview. Like us? Tell our Facebook page.  
Posted on: January 10, 2012 3:04 am
Edited on: January 10, 2012 1:05 pm
 

Jefferson switch backfires on Miles as Lee sits

Posted by Jerry Hinnen



Bringing Jordan Jefferson off the bench on Nov. 5 might have won Les Miles his first meeting with Alabama this season. But that same decision might also have lost him the meeting that mattered.

Jefferson's mobility and the option looks he opened up help rescue what had been a flailing offense in Tuscaloosa, with his final option pitch of the night -- a 15-yard gain by Michael Ford -- clinching the win in overtime. It was after that first Alabama game that Miles and the LSU staff went away from 9-0 starter Jarrett Lee and towards Jefferson for good, with Lee attempting just five passes total over the Tigers' final four games. And Jefferson appeared to have repaid that leap of faith, putting together effective showings against Ole Miss and Arkansas.

But Monday in New Orleans, it appeared Jefferson's earlier success against the Tide had been nothing more than purple-and-fool's gold. The same option plays went nowhere when they didn't go backwards. Jefferson was hopeless as a passer anywhere beyond the line-of-scrimmage, completing 11-of-his-17 passes but for a useless 3.1 yards an attempt. His legs rarely helped him against the vicious Tide pass rush, as he finished with 14 carries for 15 yards. And Jefferson capped his night with the game's only interception, a mind-bending on-the-run chest pass to a running back -- Spencer Ware -- who had already turned to block for him. 

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It got so bad that Jefferson was booed by his own fans, in a national title game, in New Orleans. But still, even with the LSU offense looking more likely to put points on the board for the Tide than for their own team, Lee never entered the game. His final game as a collegian ended without his having taken a snap.

"I did feel like I'd get opportunity tonight," Lee said, "and I didn't."

Neither Lee nor the Tiger faithful were the only ones wondering if Miles had Jefferson a longer leash in the Superdome than he'd earned.

"Jarrett didn't get a shot. I felt like maybe he should have," said senior offensive lineman Will Blackwell. "He didn't, but that's not the reason we lost. Jarrett Lee not playing is not the reason we lost.

"Jarrett won nine games for us and we did very well in those nine games. He throws the ball a little bit better than Jordan, but Jordan runs it a little better. It's kind of a pick-your-poison kind of deal. Unfortunately, tonight we picked the wrong one."

Even Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart admitted he's expected to see Lee, saying he was "real shocked" Miles had never gone to the bullpen, before politely adding "They kind of rode the horse that brought them." 

In his postgame press conference, Miles was asked multiple times about his decision to stick with Jefferson -- once by former New Orleans Saints quarterback and current radio host Bobby Hebert, father of LSU lineman T-Bob Hebert, in a rambling and confrontational "question" that has to be read to be believed -- and stated (in his own Milesian style) that he felt Jefferson was better-suite to handle the Tide pass rush.

"We did consider Jarrett Lee," Miles said. " But we felt like with the pass rush that we were getting that we needed a guy that could move the seat and not sustain that pass rush ... As much as I would have liked to have put Jarrett Lee in because the program owes him a lot, he really did a great job for us in the beginning of the year and really throughout his career, I felt like it would be unfair to him with the pass rush ... That was my call."

Certainly the threat of the Tide sack artists was a factor to consider. And Blackwell is right that the Crimson Tide would have won that game if Tom Brady was at the LSU controls. But between LSU's stubborn determination to make the option "work," Miles's refusal to bench Jefferson (even if only to get his head on straight) and the phasing out of Lee over the season's final weeks, it seems fair to ask if the much larger factor was simply that LSU's staff was convinced that Jefferson gave them the best chance to win--no matter the evidence mounting in front of their eyes.

Why would they be so certain? The only logical explanation is because that's how things had worked out for them the first time around, and after weeks of preparation, LSU simply wasn't prepared for them to not work out a second time. In switching to Jefferson in the Game of the Century, Miles won a huge battle. But after Monday, that same choice seems to have helped cost him the national championship war.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview. Like us? Tell our Facebook page.

Posted on: January 10, 2012 1:43 am
Edited on: January 10, 2012 10:44 am
 

No split title, Alabama No. 1 in AP Poll



Posted by Tom Fornelli

If you had been wondering whether or not the AP Poll would recognize Alabama as this year's national champion or make a statement by keeping LSU ranked at No. 1, well, the answer is right up there for you. 

Alabama is on top with LSU right behind them with Oklahoma State, Oregon and Arkansas rounding out the top five.

Also, what's really interesting about the poll aside from Alabama being on top is that Alabama got every first place vote but five. Of those five ballots that didn't put Alabama at the top, only one listed LSU. The other four had Oklahoma State.

The one voter who kept LSU at the top spot was Erik Gee, from KNML in Albuquerque, N.M.. Gee told CBSSports.com's Dennis Dodd in December that it would take "like a 63-0 pasting" by Alabama for the 39-year old radio host to change his vote after the BCS National Championship Game. He believes LSU won the right to the top spot with their performance prior to Monday's 21-0 loss to Alabama, and his final AP Poll vote reflected his firm stance on the issue.

Check out the final AP Poll of the 2011 season below:

1. Alabama (55)
2. LSU (1)
3. Oklahoma State (4)
4. Oregon
5. Arkansas
6. USC
7. Stanford
8. Boise State
9. South Carolina
10. Wisconsin
11. Michigan State
12. Michigan
13. Baylor
14. TCU
15. Kansas State
16. Oklahoma
17. West Virginia
18. Houston
19. Georgia
20. Southern Miss
21. Virginia Tech
22. Clemson
23. Florida State
24. Nebraska
25. Cincinnati


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Posted on: January 10, 2012 1:14 am
 

PODCAST: National Championship recap

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The confetti has hardly finished falling in the Superdome down in New Orleans, and the Alabama Crimson Tide aren't quite done celebrating just yet, but it's never too early to break down what we saw on Monday night. So in the latest episode of the CBSSports.com College Football Podcast, the Eye On College Football blog's Jerry Hinnen joins Adam Aizer to talk about Alabama's 21-0 victory.

Adam and Jerry talk about which team is better, and whether or not LSU should still be ranked #1 in the AP Poll after this one. They also discuss Oklahoma State's place in all of this, along with whether or not Les Miles and LSU were outcoached in this game. And, of course, we couldn't get through the podcast without talking about one of the greatest defenses we've ever seen in college football: the 2011 Alabama Crimson Tide.

Remember, all of the CBSSports.com College Football Podcasts can be downloaded for FREE from the iTunes Store.


You can listen to the podcast in the player below, pop out a player to keep browsing, or download the MP3 right to your computer.

Posted on: January 10, 2012 12:20 am
Edited on: January 10, 2012 1:00 am
 

BCS National Championship Game stats of note

Posted by Bryan Fischer

A few stats of note and records from Alabama's 21-0 win over LSU to capture the BCS National Championship.

- First shutout in BCS title game history.

- Alabama had 384 total yards to LSU's 92.

- LSU crossed the 50 yard line just once, late in the 4th quarter.

- Ohio State's Ted Ginn Jr.'s opening kick return vs. Florida gained more yards and points than LSU did this entire game.

- It wasn't until A.J. McCarron's 13 yard scramble with 6:10 left in the 4th quarter that Alabama, as a team, passed Auburn quarterback Cam Newton's total yardage from last year's championship game. The Crimson Tide finished the game with just 55 yards more than Newton had last year and just 27 more than what Oregon's Darron Thomas had in 2011.

- LSU still wound up gaining 10 more yards than Ohio State did against Florida in 2007.

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- Jordan Jefferson's 29 yards passing was the fewest in the BCS National Championship game and second fewest out of all BCS games played.

- This was the first ever shutout in a BCS game, the previous fewest points scored was Florida State's two versus Oklahoma in 2001.

- Georgia Southern gained more yards against Alabama in one game (341) than LSU did in two (331).

- Every recruiting class Nick Saban has had since coming to LSU in 2000 has experienced a national championship.

- LSU will have beaten the Pac-12 and Big East champions as well as the National Champions during the regular season.

- The Tigers will drop to 4-1 in BCS bowls. West Virginia will take over top spot for wins without a loss at 3-0 after their Orange Bowl victory.

- Marquis Maze's 49 yard punt return is the longest against LSU since Javier Arenas' 61yd TD return on Nov. 3, 2007. On Maze's punt return alone, LSU allowed eight times the number of yards they've given up total all season on punt returns.

- The SEC is now 8-1 in the championship game, with the lone loss coming to... the SEC.

- Alabama's defense finished the season by allowing just 106 points. They only gave up nine touchdowns all year, three on the ground and six through the air.

- 2001 Miami allowed 103 points and 2000 TCU allowed 106 in 11 games. Alabama allowed 106 with one extra game and finished the season giving up just 7.57 points per game.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com