Alabama, Saban win BCS title and rule college football again

Nick Saban hugs quarterback A.J McCarron after Alabama's second BCS championship in the last three seasons. (AP photo)

Nick Saban hugs quarterback A.J McCarron after Alabama's second BCS championship in the last three seasons. (AP photo)

(UPDATED: 1 a.m.)

NEW ORLEANS – Far removed from probation, far removed from the cartoon that Alabama football had mutated into during the Mike DuBose-Dennis Franchione-Mike Price (“Roll Tide!” quoth he to the stripper)-Mike Shula eras, far removed from the humbling of Nick Saban’s first season in Tuscaloosa, the Crimson Tide rule college football once again.

It was painful for LSU Monday night. For the rest of us, it was just convincing.

Alabama smacked LSU 21-0 in the BCS championship game at the Superdome, the first shutout in 14 BCS title matches. This makes two national titles in three seasons for the Tide. It’s three BCS titles for Saban (the first coming at LSU in 2003).

That puts him halfway to Bear Bryant. If he doesn’t retire or decide to give the NFL another try, he may get there.

When somebody suggested to Saban the other day that this was a particularly emotional game for him, given that he was going against his former team, he quickly slapped that storyline away.

“This is not about me, OK?” he said. “It’s not about me.”

But it kind of is. College football powers tend to be identified by their coach — and not even the most deluded of cardinal-clad Alabama fans could have envisioned this kind of success so quickly.

Since going only 7-6 in his first season in Tuscaloosa – including a season-ending four-game losing streak and a demoralizing defeat to Louisiana-Monroe — Saban’s teams have posted records of 12-2, 14-0, 10-3 and 12-1. That’s a bottom line of 48-6, with two national championships.

Nobody can touch that.

“It’s certainly been a privilege to have the opportunity to coach this group of young men,” Saban said. “It’s sometimes easy to do the right thing some of the time.  But these guys, over the last year, have done things right almost all the time. The goal [Monday] was: Control your destiny, control what you do. The outcome of the game, as good as LSU was, will be determined by how we play and what we do.  And I think the players really responded well to that.”

The Alabama defense, celebrating here after recovering a second-half fumble by LSU, held the Tigers to 92 yards and posted the first shutout in BCS championship history.

Alabama's defense celebrated after recovering a second-half fumble by LSU. Alabama held the Tigers to 92 yards and posted a shutout.

Saban showed the movie, “Red Tails,” about the Tuskegee Airmen, a group of African American pilots during World War II.

“Those guys’ motto was the last plane, the last bullet, the last man, the last minute, we fight,” Saban said. “And we always stay with the mission.  And I think that kind of described the spirit of that group extremely well. But it also describes the spirit of the group of players that we have on our team this year. It takes a tremendous amount of resiliency to come back.”

LSU coach Les Miles had a different perspective: “I never saw that coming.”

It had been 44 days since Alabama played a game (a win over Auburn). It had been two months since the Tide had lost at home to LSU 9-6 in overtime.

Following that loss to the Tigers, Saban didn’t slam his players. To the contrary, he praised them for their effort and focus. He convinced them that if they keep winning, they might still have a chance to play for the BCS title. He was right. The narrow defeat combined with an unexpected series of losses around the nation left Alabama as the BCS’s No. 2 ranked team at season’s end, behind only the 13-0 Tigers.

Some folks didn’t want to see this rematch. They believed it devalued the regular season meeting. They thought two teams from the same conference shouldn’t be allowed in the final. But no rules prohibit that. More importantly, these clearly were the two best teams, and Alabama proved Monday it clearly was No. 1.

The Kirby Smart-led defense shut out a team that was averaging over 38 points per game. The Tigers were held to 92 yards in offense. The running game that had worn down every other opponent was limited to an anemic 39 yards on 27 attempts.

It was total domination of a team that had won 13 straight games, including eight wins over ranked teams, the last two by scores of 42-10 (over Georgia in the SEC championship) and 41-17 (over then-No. 3 Arkansas). Credit to Saban, and credit to Smart, the former Georgia safety, who has evolved into one of the college game’s top coordinators and figures to land a head coaching job before long. The score was only as close as it was because the Tide had to settle for five field goals.

When the teams met in November, the Tigers won a battle of field goals in overtime 9-6 (Alabama converting only two of its six attempts.) And there we were again Monday night, with a game only Lou Groza and lovers of 8-millimeter game film could love. While Alabama’s defense was dominating, the Tide was bucking for the Golden Toe Award again. This time, they had more success. Saban’s slight consolation prize for four productive but fizzled drives: field goals of 23, 34 and 41 yards by kicker Jeremy Shelley – compensating for a blocked 42-yard attempt – to take a 9-0 lead in the first half.

LSU would’ve been thrilled with even a field goal attempt. Its first eight possessions netted seven punts, an interception and net yardage of 6, 0, 17, 3, 7, 23, minus-1 and minus-6 yards. It had to be pretty humbling for Miles, whose team entered the game ranked 12th in the nation in scoring at 38.5 points per game.

Even Smart didn’t seem to expect this. He said, the other day, “I certainly don’t expect the same kind of game [as the last meeting]. I don’t think [LSU] will be as conservative this time.”

Conservative or wide open, LSU just couldn’t do anything.

Saban has taken Alabama to a level it hasn’t been to since the 1960s and ’70s. Both are on top again.

By Jeff Schultz

Follow me on Twitter (@JeffSchultzAJC). Friend me on Facebook (Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC).

641 comments Add your comment

Dear Louisiana,

January 9th, 2012
11:47 pm

YOU SUCK!!!!!

Dear Louisiana,

January 9th, 2012
11:48 pm

Where’s all the sAINTS and lsuosers fans who said they ran the Football world… We are laughing at you biotches!!!!!!!!!! sAINTS… you are next!!!!!!

Troof

January 9th, 2012
11:49 pm

Hey Dawg fans. If you want to see what a BCS crystal trophy looks like we’ll be glad to loan you one! We’ve got two!

31 YEARS AND COUNTING DAWG FANS! AND IT ISN’T GOING TO END ANY TIME SOON! RTR!

sdb92

January 9th, 2012
11:49 pm

DAMON

January 9th, 2012
11:50 pm

The Fakecons would have laid a goose egg on that DEFENSE

01HAWK

January 9th, 2012
11:52 pm

COME OUT, COME OUT, WHEREVER YOU ARE,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,HATERS

ROLL TIDE ROLL

Hairy Dawg

January 9th, 2012
11:52 pm

For all you morons taking shots at the Dawgs, let’s just say ROLL TIDE and give Bama the credit they are due. They would have won the first game if they hadn’t been using their feet for target practice. Tonight, they dominated and got it done. Congrats, Bama. You earned this one. Go get drunk(er) tonight.

Dawgboy

January 9th, 2012
11:54 pm

Too late now. Kirby Smart is gone. We missed him. Dawgs have more years ahead of being pretenders to the throne.

Falclone

January 9th, 2012
11:55 pm

Looked like the Tide came to play ball whilst’ the boys from Baton-Rouge came to party down and was nursing a severe 3rd degree hangover. Way to go Bama!!!
I would hate to be the defensive lineman that went off-side and spoiled the zero penalty game Nama had going.. Pity.

rc35

January 9th, 2012
11:55 pm

Alabama showed a lot of class as a well-coached team tonight. They avoided penalties. Every time a Crimson Tide player started to show out or lose his cool, a coach or player pulled or pointed him away from the site of potential trouble. In situations in which I’ve seen numerous NFL players carelessly go out of bounds, the Bama runners would keep the ball on the right side of the sideline to keep the clock moving. Although my favorite SEC team is a different one, I congratulate the true National Champion University of Alabama.

Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane

January 9th, 2012
11:55 pm

Congrats to UGA on another 10 Win National Championship

Troof

January 9th, 2012
11:56 pm

Dawgboy, it’s still not to late to do the right thing and FIRE RICHT! Bring Kirby home!

Crickets..........

January 9th, 2012
11:57 pm

The sound I hear from my porch as all the LA trolls have crawled back into their holes…….go back to the Times-Picayune and we’ll see you next year when you want a media outlet for your bloviation.

RTR

Jen

January 9th, 2012
11:58 pm

ROLL TIDE!!!!!
CONGRATS TO THE WHOLE TEAM
AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME

DAMON

January 9th, 2012
11:59 pm

I think all the LSU players should pee in a cup, somebody gave them boys something……….no life at all!!

Howard

January 10th, 2012
12:00 am

Great game for the Tide…folks may not like Saban but have you noticed his players basically stay outta trouble?? Know why?/ If you were a teenage football player at Bama and you just got in a bar fight or hit your girlfriend or tweeted for her to die, etc., would you wanna face Saban in his office??? His teams are disciplined and well-coached and of course other worldly talented. Small wonder they win titles.

ROLL TIDE !

January 10th, 2012
12:01 am

Nick Saban’s TIDE could beat Mike “Go for it on 4th Down!” Smith’s Falcons.

ROLL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

TIDE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cmon man

January 10th, 2012
12:01 am

congrats to bama and the fans and even the ga tech fans who try and dress up like bama fans. I take my hat off to cns 2 titles in 3 yrs no matter how hard you try you cant hate on that!!

Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane

January 10th, 2012
12:01 am

I hope UGA fans had a chance to watch how champions play, how champions look and how champions coach…

Tide Roll??????

January 10th, 2012
12:02 am

Where are all the Georgia Fans saying that LSWHO was going to stomp Bama???

Oh wait, you were getting beat by Michigan State. Go ahead and send the SEC Office for dropping Bama for next year.

But wait, you will say BAMA was scared for the dream team.

GO DAWGS, WOOF WOOF!!!!!!

Oh WAIT, SUX IT you big harry Dog.

ROLL TIDE !

January 10th, 2012
12:02 am

CRIMSON TIDE > Your Team

ROLL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

TIDE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BigOrange

January 10th, 2012
12:03 am

So the series is even at 1-1. Does LSU not get a share of the title? Or does the first game not count? Why’d they play it?

Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane

January 10th, 2012
12:03 am

Did anyone see any players walk away from Saban this season like players do to their coach at UGA

ROLL TIDE !

January 10th, 2012
12:04 am

Tonight, Alabama did to LSU what the Department of Homeland “Security” has done to the United States Constitution (& your rights as an American Citizen under it) for the past 11 years.

ROLL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

TIDE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane

January 10th, 2012
12:05 am

UGA really looked good against Michigan St.

They represented the SEC well just like they do every year with player arrests

Who cares!!

January 10th, 2012
12:05 am

Boycotted this at my house, didn’t miss it a bit. So, Bama get a mulligan, and LSU has to beat the same team twice to be the Champ. A big, stincky, steamy mess!

What a joke CFB is! I’m a UGA fan since childhood, I know my dawgs are talented quitters who couldn’t beat a Big 10 team, it’s true. But CFB, BCS et al, has absolutely no crediblity as far as I’m concerned.

While I’m complaining, the officialting in both CFB & NFL is worthless. How did the zebras do tonight? Please comment anybody??

RTR!!!

January 10th, 2012
12:05 am

Thats right! Lets here it now delusionals! RTR!

Cmon man

January 10th, 2012
12:06 am

here we go now EVERYBODY is all of a sudden alabama fans. You folks are to funny!!!

Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane

January 10th, 2012
12:06 am

Does anyone no when the 10 Win Champions of Honor; Ring Ceremony will be at Sanford Stadium

Life is Good

January 10th, 2012
12:06 am

Roll Tide, ya’ll !! SEC rules, and Bama be da’ King

01HAWK

January 10th, 2012
12:07 am

Rece Davis of ESPN grew up in Muscle Shoals, Alabama and graduated in 1988 from the University of Alabama, earning bachelor of arts degrees in both Broadcast News and Public Affairs

ROLL TIDE EOLL

Life is Good

January 10th, 2012
12:07 am

Bama Rules, again. Shine my shoes, Aubies

Troof

January 10th, 2012
12:08 am

Will UGA give out rings for winning the SEC East? Will they be as big and shiny as Bama’s new BCS title rings? LOL!

Knutt Sack

January 10th, 2012
12:08 am

Jeff Schultz,

Just saw you walk past the ESPN set with Rece, Lou and Mark…twice…a little television time….

01HAWK

January 10th, 2012
12:09 am

No share of title in this game……………………………..Sorry to spoil your party UGA FANS

Wright

January 10th, 2012
12:09 am

DID YOU SEE ALL THE COACHES FIRED BY A SCHOOL THAT REFUSES TO BE MEDIOCRE.

FIRE RICHT, FIRE RICHT, FIRE RICHT, FIRE RICHT, FIRE RICHT, FIRE RICHT, FIRE RICHT, FIRE

RICHT, FIRE RICHT, FIRE RICHT, FIRE RICHT, FIRE RICHT, FIRE RICHT, FIRE RICHT, NOW

Jimmie smit

January 10th, 2012
12:10 am

Roll Tide Roll!!!!!! Where was that “Honey Badger”???? Too much self adulation going on. @LSU and fans and Media coming into this game!!! Saban out coached Miles by a mile!!!

Mr. Tide

January 10th, 2012
12:10 am

Oh, Hell Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BigOrange

January 10th, 2012
12:10 am

Go a head and put up your millions of dollars to play the 3rd game,

Oh wait, you can only make 5.50 an hour @ Walmart.

Also, bama lost by 3 not 21.

Take your UGA education and go clean the floors at Southern Knights Video.

GO BAMA and GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO TECH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Don't get it

January 10th, 2012
12:11 am

Oversigning bowl.

01HAWK

January 10th, 2012
12:11 am

1992,,,,,,,,,,,,,,2009……………………..2011

ROLL TIDE TOLL

ROLL TIDE !

January 10th, 2012
12:12 am

Tonight, Alabama did to LSU what my cheating, lying, piece-of-trash ex-girlfriend did to my heart.

ROLL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

TIDE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mr. Tide

January 10th, 2012
12:12 am

As Brent said during the 4th quarter….. ” This is a mauling folks,………a mauling” Perfect quote!

Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane

January 10th, 2012
12:12 am

UGA got a moral victory against Michigan St

What that was I have no clue

I just know thats what fans say when UGA looks bad

GTBob

January 10th, 2012
12:12 am

I just wanted to congratulate Bama. It took a couple of tries but they finally beat LSU. They even scored a touchdown this time. Think about that, an actual touchdown. It took 8 quarters but they got one. I also wanted to congratulate LSU for having one of the worst offenses I have ever seen.

Joe Bob Thibodaux

January 10th, 2012
12:13 am

The worst I ever saw LSU play football.
Lithargic and uninspired.
Miles must have had some reason not to play Lee.
Horrible.

JBT

01HAWK

January 10th, 2012
12:13 am

Don’t get it ……………………………………….And you never will…………………….LOL

ROLL TIDE ROLL

5150 UOAD

January 10th, 2012
12:13 am

Those TIDE players are just counting their blessings that they don’t have to face 3/4 Murray next year until maybe the SEC CG in the DOME.

big time stuff

January 10th, 2012
12:14 am

UGA fans…… your dogs still want a piece of Bama ? …… still think Bama backed into the championship ? …… Please hang on to Mark Richt, cause we think he is great !!! Roll Tide

@Don't Get it

January 10th, 2012
12:14 am

Get a clue jerk off.

You and your team SUX!!!!