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Posted by on January 7th, 2012 in blog, Brady Baylor, CFF Features, Uncategorized | No Comments

As LSU prepares for their turn in this season’s home-and-home series versus rival Alabama, college football fans around the country are still trying to figure out what to make of the matchup itself.  Many will find the rematch and its glaring lack of offensive excitement, well, offensive, while others are foaming at the mouth at the thought of the two best defenses in the country guaranteeing hard-hitting action for an entire game.  We’ll all have an opinion on the matter, and this is my chance to offer mine, as well as some thoughts on the actual contest.

 

 

 

I, for one, have a love-hate relationship with the high-octane scoring machines that have mysteriously invaded the plains states over the past several years (and have long been a calling card of teams from points farther west), replacing battle-tested running games that accounted for decades worth of success on the national scene (see Oklahoma, Nebraska, Texas, et. al.).  These newer offenses will routinely rack up gaudy numbers, causing us fans in that part of the country (and again, points west) to incorrectly assume that scoring 65 points against a Texas Tech or Arizona means our team could at least hang 35 or 40 against an Alabama or LSU.  The past decade has proven that it just doesn’t pan out in that fashion.  While equally gaudy uniforms adorn the backs (and fronts and sides and so on) of players of these high-flying programs, it’s the time-honored plain uniforms, with the matching simplicity of the game itself, that has proven to be the winning recipe for what will now be the sixth straight year for the SEC.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sure, we can point to Florida and Auburn as recent examples of offensive prowess down there, but let’s not kid ourselves.  It’s the collection of grizzlies on the defensive fronts of the SEC frontrunners that mauls opponents into submission.  We always hear about defensive speed and, yes, they can run.  But so can Texas and Oklahoma and Oregon and USC and many more.  It doesn’t matter if your safeties and cornerbacks can even get themselves off the couch if opposing quarterbacks have no time to throw and running backs are having turf molds of themselves created by being slammed backwards repeatedly by the parade of freaks that adorn the defensive lines of these squads.   Yes, you can correctly point to a couple of All-America cornerbacks at LSU, and a certain linebacker at Alabama that I think weighs 350 and runs a 4.6 or something, but the action is with the man-eaters on the d-lines.

 

 

 

 

 

Aside from their first matchup this season, a 9-6 OT victory by LSU at Alabama, neither had another team get inside of 13 points of them (LSU beat both Oregon and Mississippi State by 13 and Alabama won at Penn State by 16).  Only Oregon and West Virginia managed to score at least 20 on LSU and only, huh(?), Georgia Southern could post as much as 15 against Alabama.  This tells me a couple of things: a) these defenses are stellar, to put it mildly, and b) there are probably 20 teams in the country that could have vied for the title of 3rd best in the SEC this season.  It was clearly LSU, Alabama, and then the rest of the pack.

 

Nevertheless, I truly think we have the two best teams in the country playing for it all, and for those of us who would like to see a little more offense than we likely will, at least the game will be over in about an hour and fifteen minutes.  Run-hit-tick-tock, run-hit-tick-tock.  Wait a minute, what’s this, the Honey Badger has just ripped the limbs from a Bama receiver and stripped the skin off another!  With that guy on the field, I don’t think the game will be without some measure of excitement, because the Honey Badger takes what he wants (if you haven’t seen the YouTube video, use keywords Honey Badger and Randall, and either wear your headphones or be sure the kids are not around).


My prediction for the game is that more people will accurately predict both the winner and the score than ever before.  Guess low-scoring, guess tight margin, and you’re likely on the right track.

 

Memo to rest of college football: if you do not build a deep, punishing defense to compliment your offense that routinely sustains drives for tens of seconds, you will continue to feast on humble pie on college football’s grandest stage each year, force-fed to you by Tigers, Gators, or even a really big wave (which was apparently caused by an elephant performing a cannonball).

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