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Sunset Vette

28 Nov

LSU Heads To Atlanta, Eyes BCS Championship

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I spent Friday telling everyone I met not to talk to me about the LSU game as I had recorded it to watch later. I stayed off of the Internet, didn’t read email, and never watched anything on TV that wasn’t targeted to the under 10 crowd. (Think Disney channel.) On the drive home I did not go into any of the gas stations because I did not want to run the risk of seeing any newspaper headlines. The good news is that it worked. I got home without knowing anything about the game, and was able to sit down and enjoy watching it.

I will admit that I feared for the worst. One of my neighbors usually flies his LSU flag after the game, and he did not have it out. I was afraid that meant that the Tigers had lost. That was reinforced when Arkansas jumped out to a 14-0 lead after an early fumble by LSU was returned for a touchdown. However, the Tigers outscored the Hogs 41-3 for the rest of the game. Mathieu made two huge plays – a punt return for a touchdown and yet another forced fumble. One article I read said that he already has 11 forced fumbles (an LSU school record) for his career and he’s only a sophomore. More importantly to me, he played under control. I felt like Arkansas might try to get into his head because he plays with such emotion but he played well.

Jordan Jefferson suffered his first interception of the season but he also played well. He’s no Andrew Luck or Matt Barkley but he played well enough to win. LSU has won two titles in the last ten years, and neither team had a true star playing quarterback. Overall LSU won with – no surprise – a great defense, great rushing offense, and excellent play on special teams. As Jimmy Johnson was frequently quoted as saying (during his time as Dallas Cowboys coach) there are three aspects to any football game. If you can win two of them, you have a good shot at winning the game. LSU won defense and special teams for this game. One of the quotes made during the broadcast was that LSU’s opponents are averaging 21 inches per punt return! 😯 LSU had three different running backs score touchdowns in this game, and for the season the Tigers have four running backs with at least six touchdowns.

As an interesting footnote: LSU has passed Arkansas as the top scoring offense in the conference.

Next up: Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC title game. I have read more than one article that suggests that LSU could even lose this game and still play for the national championship, but I hope they don’t go that route. If they beat Georgia they will have won the SEC outright, they will have defeated the (presumed) PAC-12 champion Oregon, and defeated the (potential) Big East champion West Virginia.

Next we start the “rematch” talk, and I have to say I am not in favor of playing Alabama again. I think we should play the top team from either the Big 12 or Big 10, which would be Oklahoma/Oklahoma State winner or the Wisconsin / Michigan State winner. However, I doubt that will happen. It seems that most writers are accepting that the perceived two best teams in the country are LSU and Alabama, and that those two teams should be playing in the title game. One announcer suggested that LSU should get awarded at the very least a split championship because they have finished the regular season undefeated, would would mean that the AP voters would have to leave LSU #1 no matter what they did in their bowl game.

Any way you look at it, LSU had one of the best seasons that I think I have ever seen as far as who they played, when they played, and how they played in those games. Seven of the teams they defeated this year were ranked at the time we played them. We played three top five teams (Oregon #3, Alabama #2, Arkansas #3). We won one of those on a neutral field, one at home, and one away. If we complete the sweep we will have defeated another top team (Georgia) on a neutral field (or at least as neutral as Atlanta can be for a Georgia Bulldogs game) followed by another top ranked team on another neutral field (as far as New Orleans can be considered neutral for LSU). That’s a heck of a resume.

And not to get ahead of myself, but LSU retains a lot of their starting team other than quarterback. What might next year look like?

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