The Thrilla in Tuscaloosa

I cannot say that I told you so. Because I didn’t. I really didn’t know who would win tonight’s game. You all know that I’m a big Tigers fan, but the analyst in me had a hard time picking a winner in advance. I thought that the teams were too evenly matched and that Alabama would probably have an edge because they were playing at home. But a lot of surprising things happened. No touchdowns, big turnovers, LSU holding Bama to under 100 yards rushing, and three missed field goals by Alabama. All of that added up to a close win for the Tigers. And it was a sweet victory.

I had a chance to attend the game. A friend of mine had a ticket, and under normal circumstances I would not have missed such an opportunity. Having said that, I don’t regret having missed it. I spent this weekend with old friends at my 20-year high school reunion. We all decided that we would spend the evening watching the game together, and we had a wonderful time. I don’t get to watch LSU games very often with a room full of Tiger fans, much less with ones that are dear old friends. So we all ate jambalaya and cheered on the Tigers together. For me, it was just as good as being there.

I don’t think that there is any question that the two best teams in the country met tonight in Tuscaloosa. To be sure, LSU must remain number 1. But I also think that Alabama should remain number 2. There is not another team in the country that can beat Alabama. And I’m not so sure that LSU could beat them twice. That is why I will be pulling for Stanford and Oklahoma State to win out. That Bama team is unbelievably good, and I don’t want the Tigers to have to face them again.

Brian Payne, if you’re reading this: Geaux, Tigers!

13 Responses to The Thrilla in Tuscaloosa

  1. diogenes perhaps November 6, 2011 at 9:28 am #

    I’m sorry, due to all the hype I decided to watch this matchup and was disappointed how dull it was. Those were the two most ineffective offenses I’ve seen in years. The Alabama QB threw passes so soft, a turtle could have gotten under those floaters to defend. A field goal snooze-fest, it appears the SEC is way overrated.

    That was no interception either, it was stealing the ball while lying on the ground.

    The only saving grace, the Alabama baton-twirlers…

    • Denny Burk November 6, 2011 at 3:55 pm #

      Diogenes Whatever,

      You’re poking smot. Those were the two best teams in the country. In every other game they have played, both of these teams have put up big numbers on offense. The low score was due to the fact that LSU and Bama have insanely good defensive units.

      As for your claim that the SEC is weak and overrated: Have you watched what LSU and Bama have done to non-conference opponents? Bama demolished Penn State. LSU made #3 Oregon and #16 West Virginia look like high school teams. There’s not an analyst in the country who would agree with the idea that the SEC is weak this year. They’re as strong as ever.

  2. Rick November 6, 2011 at 3:10 pm #

    Alabama should not remain #2. They lost at home. They had their chance. OSU plays in a tough conference and has survived to this point. They deserve the #2 slot. Standford, while not playing a real tough schedule yet, still deserves the #3 slot.

    Perhaps the toughest team LSU would face unfortunately already blew its chance: the Sooners.

    • Denny Burk November 6, 2011 at 4:09 pm #

      I can hardly think of anyone who believes that the Big 12 is a tough conference. I wonder if OSU could even score a single touchdown against LSU or Bama. Stanford plays a bunch of cupcakes. They will be lucky to survive their upcoming contest against Oregon (who LSU demolished earlier this year).

      As for Oklahoma, they lost at home to an unranked Texas Tech team. That are not contenders.

      There is not a team in the top 25 that could beat Bama except for one. That’s why I think Bama deserves the slot.

      • Rick November 7, 2011 at 8:35 am #

        “I can hardly think of anyone who believes that the Big 12 is a tough conference.”

        Seriously? Your SEC bias is blinding you.

        http://espn.go.com/blog/acc/post/_/id/31842/latest-conference-power-rankings

        “There is not a team in the top 25 that could beat Bama except for one.”

        As many are beginning to point out since the game, the offense is not that great (same for LSU). People want to see a high powered offense go against those defenses.

        “That’s why I think Bama deserves the slot.” They had their chance.

  3. Caroline November 6, 2011 at 3:11 pm #

    The defense on both sides of the ball played an incredible game!!

  4. Greg November 6, 2011 at 4:58 pm #

    “They’re as strong as ever”

    Auburn: Needed a miracle to beat Utah State at home. Obliterated by LSU. Bama will kill them as well.

    Tennessee: Awful. Just awful.

    Kentucky: Scraped out a win against mighty Western Kentucky in the waning moments. Lost to Louisville.

    South Carolina (pre-season East favorite): Struggled to be both East Carolina and Navy at home. They are even worse now without Latimore.

    Florida: See Tennessee

    Georgia: Taken to the wood shed by Boise in their own back yard. Will likely win the abysmal east.

    Arkansas: 3rd best team in the league. Struggled to beat juggernaut Ole Miss (who was beaten by BYU) and was literally given a win by the ever-so-dominant Vanderbilt. Went down to the wire with the 6th or 7th best team in the Big12 (A&M).

    I could go on.

    All this to say, yes Bama and LSU are great teams. But don’t kid yourself, there is no way the SEC is “as strong as ever”. Bama and LSU may very well be the 2 best teams in the nation. There is a HUGE drop off after that though…

    • Denny Burk November 7, 2011 at 1:30 am #

      Greg,

      Granted. The SEC isn’t “as strong as ever” from top to bottom. But they are as strong as ever at the top. And many of their middling teams (Arkansas, Auburn) could beat the top teams from conferences like the Big 12 or the Big 10. That’s my point.

      Thanks,
      Denny

  5. Kevin C November 7, 2011 at 10:24 am #

    I wondered after the games if fans of Big 12 teams would say that neither team has an offense. Granted, I think that is one of the dumbest things a “football” fan can say. OSU and Oklahoma put up tons of points against Big 12 schools for a very good reason. They both have good offenses. I don’t think that is a question. There is no defense in the Big 12 though. EVER. I don’t think the SEC is tremendously strong…and that coming from a die hard SEC fan. I would still put Arkansas against any team in the country. At times, they look very, very good. I don’t think there is a question that Bama and LSU are the best teams in the country. Those defenses are as nasty as you will ever see in college ball. I don’t see OSU beating Oklahoma. And once they lose, there will be a rematch. Like it or not, the 2 best teams in the country would be playing for the trophy.

  6. Kevin C November 7, 2011 at 10:26 am #

    Oh, and another thing. That was a dreadful call at the one yard line. That call always goes to the offense and even the replay made it hard to argue that when they hit the ground, the tight end had the ball. But, it was a stupid play call so Bama deserved to lose possesseion.

    • Denny Burk November 7, 2011 at 10:31 am #

      I disagree. The ball was clearly out of the receiver’s control before he hit the ground. The call either had to be and interception or a strip. But it was not possible to call it a clean reception based on the replay.

  7. Greg November 7, 2011 at 3:45 pm #

    Denny

    “And many of their middling teams (Arkansas, Auburn) could beat the top teams from conferences like the Big 12 or the Big 10”

    Your two examples disprove your point. Auburn was beat by Clemson, one of the top 3 teams in the ACC. Again, Arkansas went down to the wire with Texas A&M, a team that may finish 5th-7th in the Big12. Georgia may be the next best team, and again, they were beat by Boise. So I just don’t understand how you can make the statement that the middle of the pack SEC teams would beat the top teams in other conferences. They have lost to the best teams from other conferences already this year.

    And to Kevin
    “There is no defense in the Big 12 though. EVER.”

    Did you watch Oklahoma play Texas, Texas A&M, or FSU? There is a steep drop off after Oklahoma in Big12 defenses, but to say that there is no defense EVER is a bit hyperbolic. Oklahoma would have the 3rd best D if they played in the SEC.

    The way I see it, defenses in the Big12 and offenses in the SEC are about equal. Take Oklahoma and LSU for instance. Oklahoma has 3-4 guys on D that will be drafted in the first 2-3 rounds of the NFL draft. LSU probably has the same on offense. Oklahoma’s offense will have (including Broyles who’s injured) 6-7 NFL players on offense. LSU probably has the same on D.

    Oklahoma will probably face one starting DB all season in the Big12 that is of the caliber of LSU’s DBs. But, the 3rd best WR at OU is better than the 1st WR at most (if not all) SEC schools (Ruben Randle is the exception).

    I wouldn’t argue that the Big12 is better than the SEC. But I challenge the claims that the discrepancy between the SEC and all others is so vast that it isn’t even debatable. This simply isn’t true, especially this year. Look at computer rankings, they haven’t forgotten August/September…

  8. Jordan Newberry November 18, 2011 at 1:16 pm #

    This was a great game. Hated to see Tyrann Mathieu throw Dre Kirikpatrick down for no reason whatsoever. The catch and/or interception at the goal line could have gone either way, and the other school should not complain about it. Someone in this post said that South Carolina was preseason favorites in the SEC East, but they were not. Georgia was. The SEC is way more powerful than the Big 12. Even though I am an Alabama fan I would almost rather Oklahoma State get the chance to play LSU so that LSU can dismantle them. When a team wins the Big 12 it’s cute.

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