Monday, January 09, 2012

Game of the Eon Redux (AKA BCS National Championship Game)

I am looking forward to the second go around of LSU and Alabama in the second game of the Eon. I will be sad that football season will be over for too many months, but at least we have this one tonight to hold us over until our Spring Games.

EDIT: Replace LSU with Alabama and Jefferson with McCarron and the following will make more sense. 

I believe LSU will win tonight 24-14. Here are my reasons:

LSU has 8 men on the defensive line and no matter how much Bama batters them with their great howitzer-like  running game, LSU can keep sending up fresh bodies from the Repple Depple. Where Bama has been able to wear down every other team with the O-line and big backs, they did not and cannot wear down this LSU bunch. So, unless A.J. McCarron can complete some big passes and avoid interceptions, Bama will again find it difficult to score enough to win. And when they do throw, the have to contend with a defensive secondary that is more talented than their own and that means there won't be much room to squeeze the ball into the receivers and one critical interception can be the difference in this game.

On the other side of the ball, it is almost the identical story in which LSU will try to pound and grind with their four-headed 1000 pound running back and throw only when necessary to keep the defense honest and to take a few cracks down the field when they see a favorable matchup. However, a defense as good as Bama's doesn't offer many favorable matchups. The difference is that unlike McCarron, Jordan Jefferson can hurt you with his feet. And not just by kicking you in the head. That one added threat of the QB running intentionally or when in trouble will make the difference between the two offenses. That will be worth one touchdown's difference in scoring offense. (Not necessarily because Jefferson will score a TD, per se, but he will keep plays/drives alive.)

The other difference in scoring will be set up by special teams. LSU has the edge in special teams, which made all the difference in the first match up. I expect another big play from LSU's special teams to either core or set up short field to account for a score at some point.

Lastly, while I am not certain what the constitution of the crowd will be, I expect it will lean towards 60% LSU people. Like the Saints do not lose in the Superdome, neither do the LSU Tigers.

Sit back, open a beer or six, and enjoy the final game of a fantastic college football season.

EDIT: I absolutely whiffed on this one because I did not expect McCarron to be so Joe Montana-like in his accuracy and so Steve Young-like in his escapability. He truly made the difference by keeping drives going and keeping the LSU defense on the field the whole game. The Bama receivers also were huge in making every catch despite very tight coverage in most instances. The entire Bama team played error-free football except for a few inconsequential place-kicking miscues.

On the other side, the LSU defense played as well as could be expected for a unit that was on the field the entire night. To say that Jordan Jefferson crapped his pants would be an understatement. He missed open receivers, he failed to recognize when to run and when to throw it away and he looked like Chris Leake on the option... which is not a compliment. Much of the LSU offensive woes are a credit to the greatness of the Bama defense, but when there were opportunities, Jefferson was there to shut them down. His performance can best be described as Reggie Ball-esque.

Congrats to Alabama for playing a near perfect game against a tremendous LSU team that had previously looked unstoppable.

How long is it until September?