LIVE BLOG: LSU, Alabama meet for legit (yes, legit) BCS title

Nick Saban: Practicing his secret play?

Nick Saban: Practicing his secret play?

Les Miles: Something's up his sleeve.

Les Miles: Something's up his sleeve.

NEW ORLEANS — The Falcons need to fire everybody. (Not really. But I’ve felt left out in the last 24 hours of venting since I’m covering the BCS title game. I promise to weigh in on the Falcons later this week, which still will be long before the flames on Arthur Blank’s head are extinguished.)

Now,  back to the BCS. It’s LSU vs. Alabama. Please, no more whining. It SHOULD be LSU vs. Alabama. These aren’t just the two best teams in the SEC, they’re the two best teams in the country.

I’ve heard and read complaints from fans and media in every time zone. Some say  this match-up completely devalues the regular season and makes LSU’s win in Tuscaloosa back in November meaningless. OK. That’s a a legitimate argument.

tiger

Some say that two teams from the same conference shouldn’t be allowed into the title game. I get that viewpoint.

Some say only conference champions should be eligible for the BCS title game. Perfectly understandable.

Here’s the problem: The rules don’t stipulate any of that. If the BCS or conference presidents or college presidents or whomever it is that actually set up this stupid system wants to tweak the  set-up and attach those rules, cheersthat’s fine. Then we won’t have this problem.

But those rules aren’t in place and this is what you get — which are still the two best teams with the two best defenses. There’s no doubt about it in my mind. I covered that game in November and left Bryant-Denny Stadium still believing they were the two best (in fact, even after LSU won 9-6 in overtime, part of me still thought Alabama, after missing four goals, was the better team).

Some voters in the Associated Press

LSU mascot XXXx (notsomuch Alabama cheerleaders) wouldn't mind a repeat of Drew Alleman's game-winning field goal back in November.

LSU fans (not Alabama cheerleaders) wouldn't mind repeat of Drew Alleman's overtime field goal in November.

poll — which is not a part of the BCS’s formula – are leaving the door open to voting LSU No. 1 even if Alabama wins, based on the Tigers’ win in the last meeting and going through their regular season schedule unbeaten.

Sorry, but that’s just stupid. Apply that logic to any other sport. So, if Denver Broncos win the Super Bowl, do you vote the Green Bay Packers champions, just because all evidence says they’re a better team. This is a playoff game. What happened before wasn’t a playoff game. It shouldn’t matter if the the loser of tonight’s game has 450 yards in offense and lost 7-6 on a 99-yard fumble return with 12 seconds left. Tonight’s winner should be recognized as the champion.

Now, about my outlook: I have no idea. You know that cliche that goes, “If they played 100 times, they’d each win 50″? It applies here. But just because “black” should come up half the time on a roulette wheel doesn’t mean “red” doesn’t hit 12 times in a row. (I speak from experience. But we really don’t need to go any further.)

I don’t expect another 9-6 game (and neither do the coaches). I do expect expect another close, low-scoring game. I find it hard to believe LSU coach Les Miles – who went vanilla in the last meeting — will be able to go four quarters again without so much as one trick play. In championship games, it’s expected that you play and coach aggressively so my guess is Miles does something, and the biggest question is whether it works or backfires.

It’s hard not to be impressed with the toughness and resilience of both teams. LSU went 13-0, won five road games (plus “neutral” site wins over Oregon in Dallas and over Georgia in the SEC championship at the Georgia Dome), has beaten eight ranked teams and has overcome some off-field issues, including offensive coordinator Steve Kragthorpe stepping down in August after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. (He remained on Miles’ staff as quarterbacks’ coach.)

Alabama wasn’t really tested after the LSU game (wins over Mississippi State, Georgia Southern, Auburn). But the Tide is one overtime field goal away from being unbeaten and comes in with that knowledge that it could’ve one that game if their kicker didn’t miss four field goal attempts. I’m sure coach Nick Saban has used that as motivation.

That’s enough for now. I’ll check back here as we get closer to game time. Straw poll: LSU or Alabama?

By Jeff Schultz

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

965 comments Add your comment

Skillet

January 9th, 2012
5:50 pm

Is some form of football contest occurring this evening?

Dacula

January 9th, 2012
5:52 pm

I’ll be watching football. Northerns can spend the evening complaining here about how good the Big Ten was in the 1940s.

5150 UOAD

January 9th, 2012
5:57 pm

Are you Fat, Happy, and ready for the game JEFF SCHULTZ?

5150 UOAD

January 9th, 2012
6:03 pm

BAMA by 10! Bama24 v LSU14

Paul in NH

January 9th, 2012
6:08 pm

Jeff – If you are having difficulty chosing between LSU and Alabama then how the heck can you make a choice between gumbo or shrimp etouffee?
My advice (on the food) – go with both.

5150 UOAD

January 9th, 2012
6:13 pm

Paul in NH Jeff had to start his diet. All these trips to Nola since Thanksgiving has caused him to look like Rosie O’Donnel. Jeff is having a Salad and Water. LOL

5150 UOAD

January 9th, 2012
6:13 pm

Sorry not Rosie but Chaz Bono

Bigdsel

January 9th, 2012
6:17 pm

This must be a replay. Jk. I don’t care which team wins. But it should be a good game to watch

Roll Tigers!

January 9th, 2012
6:22 pm

I can almost smell the stinky jungle bunnies from here!

5150 UOAD

January 9th, 2012
6:25 pm

Roll Tigers that is the leftovers from Katrina living in downtown Atlanta you smell.

They will have to Score more than the last time these two teems met right?

Couch Tater

January 9th, 2012
6:26 pm

Bama wins, but beware. Holly Rowe is listening to techno, swilling chicory coffee and lifting weights to get ready for the post-game scrum. If it were me, I’d wear a cup. Good luck!

5150 UOAD

January 9th, 2012
6:27 pm

Jeff I hope you do some more photos of your meals and the Fans entering the game.

Jeff Schultz

January 9th, 2012
6:28 pm

5150 — yes, thanks for asking.

Jeff Schultz

January 9th, 2012
6:28 pm

Paul in NH — “Jeff – If you are having difficulty chosing between LSU and Alabama then how the heck can you make a choice between gumbo or shrimp etouffee?”
<< That’s the beauty. I can have both.

5150 UOAD

January 9th, 2012
6:29 pm

HOLLY ROWE? Didn’t she play Linebacker at Notre Dame?

North ave. faithful

January 9th, 2012
6:30 pm

20-17 Bama, Split MNC…………Go to play-off system.

Steve

January 9th, 2012
6:36 pm

Jeff, how close of a game do you think it would had been if Oklahoma State were playing LSU tonight? Close or just a typical blowout by the SEC?

Beast from the East

January 9th, 2012
6:36 pm

LSU 16
Bama 13

Special teams (Honey badger) is the difference.

5150 UOAD

January 9th, 2012
6:36 pm

HOW do you pick a team to cheer for between the Twin Sons of Satan as the Head Coaches?

wins-by-a-link

January 9th, 2012
6:38 pm

I’m picking LSU over Bama, I just don’t think Bama has the QB to beat the Tigers, I know he has pretty good numbers, But I don’t think he can overcome the LSU defense. LSU by 10.

Couch Tater

January 9th, 2012
6:38 pm

Didn’t she play Linebacker at Notre Dame?

Nah, she blocked for Erin Andrews at ESPNU. Linepersons get no respect.

5150 UOAD

January 9th, 2012
6:43 pm

North Ave Faithful…NO PLAYOFF.
What play 10 regular season games and 5 playoff games?
Can’t play 12 games + a Championship game and Playoffs too.
It is about EDUCATION not football. the season would be too lang and a major risk for injury. The Largest and deepest teams would ALWAYS win in a longer season. The NCAA cant have a 16 game season.

Roll Tigers!

January 9th, 2012
6:44 pm

One thing for sure – either team could beat the Falcons!

5150 UOAD

January 9th, 2012
6:44 pm

She wasn’t Blocking for Erin she was trying to keep the boys away so she could get a Date. LOL

Legit, my eye...

January 9th, 2012
6:46 pm

…’Bama should not be playing, period; end of story and article…

whats a three point shot worth ?

January 9th, 2012
6:46 pm

with things the way they are let the SEC have a Title game all to their self and the rest of the NCAA have theirs….matter of a fact , the sec should only play Sec schools. they can be totally separate from the rest of college football. take no classes and forgo any drug testing ever.

MountainMan

January 9th, 2012
6:48 pm

Hey Jeff,

I saw where your buddy Harvey Updyke was spotted in NOLA on Bourbon Street. Have you interviewed him yet?

Well then, 5150...

January 9th, 2012
6:48 pm

…how come the season is not too long for the FCS guys, who just played their championship game last Saturday after going through 3 rounds of playoffs (remember GA. Southern was in the semi-finals a month ago) can have a playoff that is sanctioned by the NCAA…..

Jeff, jeff, jeff...

January 9th, 2012
6:52 pm

…”But the Tide is one overtime field goal away from being unbeaten and comes in with that knowledge that it could’ve one that game if their kicker didn’t miss four field goal attempts” – well, by that logic, the Falcons could have won both the NO and the game yesterday IF they had just played better…

That is why IF is the biggest little word in the dictionary…

Sonny Clusters

January 9th, 2012
6:52 pm

Jeff, Helping you prepare for the column on the Falcons . . . what happened to the photo of Arthur Blank and his horse, Trinity? We believe you may be the only one who knows.

5150 UOAD

January 9th, 2012
6:55 pm

Well then, 5150…They(FCS) play a total of 15 games. 11 regular season games. Do you want the SEC to play 10 regular season games a Championsgip Game? 5 home games with 2 Ga State type teams and still paying the same price to see that crap? College Football should be FINISHED on Jan. 1.

Gumby

January 9th, 2012
6:56 pm

Bama by 10. Trent has a monster game and a Les Miles trick play blows up.

kral

January 9th, 2012
7:01 pm

I agree 5150..a couple of teams would play possibly to many games…but you still cannot have a true championship without a play-off…NCAA has no control over beauty contest system..do not blame them

Sonny Clusters

January 9th, 2012
7:04 pm

blogs.ajc.com/jeff-schultz-blog/?p=2990&cp=2

That photo has just disappeared! Where could it be?

Falcons4Eva

January 9th, 2012
7:05 pm

Gee —the long delay before the championship game looses its flava….

Remember the time when on new years day when around 8 pm there was so much drama and suspense? A time when all the bowls where claiming “their” game could decide the national championship. Yikes.

GTBob

January 9th, 2012
7:05 pm

Please, no more whining. It SHOULD be LSU vs. Alabama.

Spoken like the true SEC homer that you are Jeff. You would probably be in favor of just crowning the SEC champion the National Champion wouldn’t you? Why have this charade of a fake championship that only exists to make a few guys rich?

ARdawg

January 9th, 2012
7:05 pm

Schweet! Thanks for the blog Jeff!

However, either cut back on UOAD’s alcohol consumption or just go ahead and ban him? ;D

Falcons4Eva

January 9th, 2012
7:06 pm

Cant stand to hear Desmond Howard talk. Sounds like he has a mouth full of trash…is his tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth or what? geez

ARdawg

January 9th, 2012
7:07 pm

I like Saban. He is the hardest working coach in the game. I hope he loses this game though. The Bama homers are just out of touch

Uh, 5150...

January 9th, 2012
7:07 pm

…Ga Southern played 11 regular season games, then 3 playoff games – they are scheduled for 11 regular season games for next year – your argument does not add up….

Falcons4Eva

January 9th, 2012
7:08 pm

As much as I hate all things New Orleans (Saints, and their fans), I find myself rooting for LSU in the game. I HATE with a passion Nick “I’m not going to be the coach of Alabama” Saban.

Douche bag scum is Saban.

Falcons4Eva

January 9th, 2012
7:10 pm

OH…its Desmond Howard nazzle condition….like his Nose is always stopped up. uuughh!

lanier

January 9th, 2012
7:10 pm

BVG is just a nomad

My bad, 5150...

January 9th, 2012
7:11 pm

…I misread yiour previous post about the 11 games FCS schools played – the FBS can still play an 11 games, plus the conference championship games, and then have the playoffs and be done before Jan. 9th…And, I agree, they should be done by Jan 1…

5150 UOAD

January 9th, 2012
7:12 pm

kral WHO really cares about a BCS Champ? We know it is flawed. It is pretty to advertise it but it is just OK. The Championship that should matter is the Conference IMO. The bowls never got it right and the BCS does better. The Playoff for DIV 1 I think will have the SEC and Big 10 winning the most because of SIZE. I fear too many players will be injured stopping NFL careers or most kids will leave after 3 yr to avoid injury. If a season goes to 16 or so games the CRIES will become SCREAMS to play football players and that just can’t happen because of Title IX. If players start getting paid you will see Only Football, Baseball, Softball, Men & Womens Basketball and Gymnastics will be left because of having to pay men and Women. Many sports will not have scholarships if Pay happens. My Opinion on how it will unfold IF a Football Playoff happens.

Baseball Project

January 9th, 2012
7:13 pm

JS – Preparing to watch the game with Steve, Linda and Scott here in beautiful Todos Santos, Baja, Mexico. If you had listened you could be covering it from Shut Up Frank’s.

Is the VanGorder move an upward or even lateral one?

Jeff Schultz

January 9th, 2012
7:13 pm

Steve — ‘I’m convinced LSU would blow out any other opponent. Also convinced Alabama would beat any other opponent, though not blow out them all.

Jeff Schultz

January 9th, 2012
7:14 pm

MountainMan — Haha. Really? Hadn’t heard that.

Jeff Schultz

January 9th, 2012
7:16 pm

Sonny Clusters — Good question. Got deleted for some reason, maybe when we changed “platforms”

Not legit

January 9th, 2012
7:16 pm

If Bama wins do they play again, best two of three. Bama got an undeserved mulligan . . . Doesn’t deserve to be there. This is NOT a legitimate championship game. LSU deserves to be there. So does OKlahoma State. Congrats to LSU. Many won’t watch the Bama mulligan bowl, they LOST at HOME. Missing field goals are part of the game. many, including myself, won’t be watching . . .