The Southeastern Conference continues to dominate college football.
The BCS reaches its epic conclusion on Monday night, as the LSU Tigers take on the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2012 All State BCS National Championship Game. The regular season match-up was a great movie with a forgettable ending. Now that the much hyped sequel has arrived, it will be up to these two juggernauts to deliver in the Bowl Championship Series’ grand finale.
There is an interesting subplot developing for tonight’s all SEC West Championship showdown. Television ratings. Thebiglead.com reports that TV ratings for this year’s BCS games are noticeably down. If Monday night’s game continues that trend, it may put an end to any possibility of a no other conference allowed title game. Alabama and LSU are clearly the two best teams in college football this season, but there is no denying the polarizing nature of this contest around other parts of the country.
May the best team win
Regardless of how many people watch, the game should be fantastic. Nick Saban has had two months to stew over his defense having trouble with the option. On the other side, it would be quite a feather in the purple and gold cap of Les Miles to get two wins over tricky Nicky in one college football season. The focus of the night will be on the special teams for each squad, as well as the total amount of points scored during the game. Continue reading →
Bobby Petrino could do nothing but watch and shout obscenities as he witnessed his Razorbacks get decimated by a clearly superior LSU team. The #1 ranked Tigers proved that Arkansas’ number three ranking this past week was for national television hype only as they mauled the Razorbacks by a final score of 41-17. LSU now heads to the Georgia Dome for a match-up with the second hottest team in the country, as the Georgia Bulldogs look to spoil the Tigers’ undefeated season.
The 2011 regular season comes full circle for the Bulldogs.
The LSU Tigers have largely dominated the competition throughout their 2011 campaign. In fact, the Tigers have been in such control that some are speculating that LSU will play in the BCS National Championship Game even if the Dawgs pull off the upset in Atlanta on Saturday. Other than the clash with the #2 Alabama Crimson Tide, the Tigers have beaten every opponent this season by at least 13 points.
Georgia’s journey to the SEC championship was not without adversity. After starting 0-2, the Bulldogs have barked, bit, and pawed their way back to the top of the SEC East by winning ten straight games. Georgia reigned supreme in the yearly rivalry with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in week 13 by a final score of 31-17. Now, the Bulldogs must figure out how to catch the Tigers by the tail, and send shock-waves throughout college football.
The key component for Georgia to pull off an upset against LSU is by controlling the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. On offense, Georgia needs Isaiah Crowell to gain enough yardage to keep the Bayou Bengals honest. Carlton Thomas and Brandon Harton are likely to see action in the Dawg backfield, but Crowell is the key to success for Georgia’s rushing attack.
If LSU is able to stuff the run, and then pressure Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray with the front four on their defensive line it will be a long afternoon for Bulldog Nation. The Dawgs must block the Tigers and force LSU to blitz in order to get to Murray. Pressure from LSU will allow Georgia’s signal caller a chance to get the ball out quickly to the young Bulldog receivers which will give the Dawgs a chance at moving the football.
Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham has thrived this season bringing pressure. The Dawgs’ dominant defense needs to make LSU uncomfortable and force turnovers in order to make the Bulldogs’ job on offense easier. It is crucial that Georgia’s defense keep the Dawgs in the game early so that Mike Bobo and company can figure out how to beat the fast and furious Louisiana State Tiger defense.
LSU’s biggest asset on offense is versatility. The Tigers run a pro-style offense, but Georgia must be prepared for both Jordan Jefferson and Jarret Lee at quarterback. Jordan Jefferson has been the Tigers’ starter since November 12th, after he relieved Jarret Lee who was struggling against Alabama. With Jefferson as the starter LSU will spread the field at times to make their opponents defend the option. Georgia must also be ready for five different running backs, as the Tigers have five players with at least 27 rushing attempts in 2011.
The Bulldogs’ special teams need a banner outing this weekend. LSU is the most talented team in the country, and Georgia can not afford to give the Tigers any help. Georgia’s special teams has given opposing teams gifts throughout the season: including missed field goals, favorable field position, and kick returns for touchdowns
On the other hand, Georgia kick returner Brandon Boykin has been dangerous all season. However, he will be returning punts from LSU punter Brad Wing who has been a weapon in his own right for the Tigers. LSU head coach Les Miles is known as the “Mad Hatter,” so Georgia must be on the look-out for fakes in the kicking game.
Bulldog Nation should embrace the underdog role while bearing in mind that they have the talent to tame the LSU Tigers. In their first trip to the Georgia Dome in the 2011 opener, it was clear that the Georgia Bulldogs were not ready for prime time. The second time around the Bulldogs are confident, young, and hungry. UGA is eager to prove that they are once again a force in the Southeastern Conference. Georgia will have to play mistake free football, but there could very well be sugar falling from the sky onto the Georgia Bulldogs Saturday night.
The "Mad Hatter" looks to stay on top Saturday night.
With the World Series wrapping up last week, and the National Basketball Association embroiled in a lockout, the eyes of the sports world are firmly fixed on the gridiron for the first weekend of November. College football is expecting an epic tidal wave when LSU and Alabama clash in Tuscaloosa on Saturday night. As for Georgia, the Dawgs have a proverbial cheap date for homecoming, as they host the Aggies between the hedges.
In the pros, the Falcons are coming off of a bye-week as they travel to Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts have not won a game as they have been unable to strike it rich at home, or anywhere else, without franchise quarterback Peyton Manning. Indianapolis would gladly settle for hunting the Dirty Birds, but the Falcons get Julio Jones back this week as they prepare to make a playoff push. It should be an easy weekend for both Dawgs and Falcons alike.
The most important game of the weekend for Georgia football fans will not directly involve the Dawgs or the Falcons. As painful as it is to cheer for Bobby Petrino, it has never been more appropriate. Bob-O and his Razorbacks host the South Carolina Gamecocks in that other Saturday night top ten match-up. If Arkansas can win, Georgia will be in first place atop the SEC East all by themselves with just two conference games to play. No matter which team is victorious, I hope there is a camera man constantly trained on Petrino and Steve Spurrier to catch all the red faced, yelling, and visor throwing goodness that is sure to ensue in this pivotal match-up.
Now for the Saturday Night Main Event–LSU and Alabama finally meet in a #1 vs #2 showdown that the college football world has been waiting for. Both of these teams have been destroying the competition thus far this season. LSU’s closest game was a 13 point win over Oregon. The margin was 20 until the Ducks scored a touchdown with 13 seconds left. The tide has also been rolling as well. with their slimmest margin of victory coming in week two with a 16 point victory against Penn State.
While Trent Richardson is the best offensive player on the field, the Tigers will be up to the task of keeping the Alabama tailback in check. Jarret Lee has made Tiger fans forget his early struggles at LSU, as he has thrown just one interception this year. However, that stat could be a jinx if the senior quarterback is not careful on Saturday night.
Still, I’m going with the visiting Tigers to pull off the upset. LSU currently sits as a five point underdog, but they are a little more well balanced on offense than Alabama. Jordan Jefferson can provide a good duel threat option under center if the Tide swallows Jarret Lee. Alabama and LSU seem to be a notch above everyone else at this point. It is a shame for college football fans that these two juggernauts only get one shot at each other.
Georgia will be without any of their usual options at running back for Homecoming against New Mexico State. Even so, The Dawgs will smoke the Aggies. (pun intended). Georgia 42, New Mexico State 13
Vanderbilt heads to the Swamp where the Gators are desperately looking for something to eat. Jordan Rodgers is fun to watch at quarterback, and no amount of Florida suffering is enough. Poor Will Muschamp– I wonder if he is beginning to long to be back with the Longhorns? Sadly, the Gators will get a much needed win. Florida 24, Vanderbilt 17
The #3 Oklahoma State Cowboys host the #14 Kansas State Wildcats. Oklahoma skinned the Cats last week. The Cowboys will pick up where the Sooners left off. Oklahoma State 48, Kansas State 27
The Razorbacks host the Gamecocks in a contest that is potentially as important to the Georgia Bulldogs as it is to either team playing in the game. Arkansas wins, somewhat soothing the Dawgs’ wound from the four plays of doom. Arkansas 28, South Carolina 24
The “Game of the Century” emanates live from Tuscaloosa, Alabama on Saturday night. The time for talk is over. The Tigers win in a battle that is likely to be remembered as the college football game of the year even after the bowls are over. LSU 24, Alabama 21
NFL quick picks
Falcons win on the road at Indianapolis. Atlanta 31, Colts 10
The Giants and Patriots get it on in a Superbowl XLII rematch. Behold– David Tyree’s catch from that game.
New England 28, New York 17
Denver got a glimpse of how far Tim Tebow has to go in his development as a quarterback against Detroit last week. Tebow is very likeable but that won’t help him bounce back against the Bengals. Oakland 34, Denver 14
The Sunday night game is the best NFL game of the week on paper as the Ravens play on the road at Pittsburgh. The game caps off two great nights of football. Pittsburgh 24, Baltimore 20
Finally, Philadelphia hosts the Monday night game. The Eagles beat the Bears to even their record on the year. Philadelphia 31, Chicago 21