Tide Rolls to second BCS title in three years
Gene Wojciechowski, ESPN.com
NEW ORLEANS -- To those LSU followers who think they got short-sheeted by the BCS …
To those Oklahoma State honks who insist their team belonged here Monday night …
To those Associated Press voters who said they would keep LSU atop their ballots even if the Tigers lost to Alabama …
To all of them I say, "Are you nuts?"
Alabama removed LSU (and OSU) from the national title equation and also removed all doubt about who's No. 1. The Crimson Tide's 21-0 victory Monday night was so complete, so overpowering and so convincing that it left Bama's players in a state of postgame delirium.
"This is probably the most fun I ever had in my life," Bama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker said. "This is better than Christmas."
If a 6-foot-6, 335-pound right tackle can float off a field, then Fluker, his bare belly jiggling as he danced on the Mercedes-Benz Superdome turf, did exactly that. All the Bama players looked like the warm-up act for Mardi Gras.
Nose guard Nick Gentry had a red piece of confetti stuck to his sweaty forehead as he stood in the middle of the postgame celebration. After what Bama had just done to formerly top-ranked and unbeaten LSU, was there any question who the undisputed national champion was?
"I'm sorry for Oklahoma State," said Gentry, almost apologetically. "I'd like to play them too. … But right now it's our time."
Or as Bama center William Vlachos so eloquently put it: "I think we just beat LSU 21-nothing in New Orleans."
In other words, enough already with the fake controversy.
Anybody who thinks the best team in the country isn't located in Tuscaloosa, Ala., needs to have their football membership cards revoked. There can be no argument, no debate, no splitting of hairs. Bama is No. 1.
It wasn't just that Bama won, it was how it won. The Crimson Tide humiliated the Tigers in ways no one thought possible.
Bama outgained LSU 384-92. It had 21 first downs to LSU's five. It had 150 rushing yards to LSU's 39. It had 234 passing yards to LSU's 53.
"I told my team I did not see it coming," LSU coach Les Miles said. "And that's my fault. I wish I could have done something to help them."
He could have. He could have pulled starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson, who was colder than a freshly poured Abita beer, and replaced him with backup Jarrett Lee.
Jefferson couldn't hit the side of the Superdome on Monday night. He completed 11 mostly meaningless passes but missed on a couple of potential scoring plays. He was sacked four times and panicked on a shovel pass that landed gently into the arms of Bama linebacker C.J. Mosley.
Miles didn't have his usual Mad Hatter-quality game. Jefferson was useless. Celebrated cornerback Tyrann Mathieu was beaten on a couple of passes. It was a Tigers train wreck from start to finish.
Thing is, it could have been worse. Bama quarterback AJ McCarron overthrew tight end Brad Smelley on a wheel route that had six points monogrammed on it. Marquis Maze was a juke away from a touchdown on a punt return when his hamstring gave out. And Bama missed an extra point and a field goal, and it had another field goal try blocked.
"I'm sure when we watch the film these guys know we always have a good, bad and ugly reel," Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said. "I can always find something ugly to talk about."
Really? Saban's defense neutered LSU. His team had one penalty for five yards. Jeremy Shelley made five of seven field goals. Trent Richardson rushed for 96 yards and -- at last! -- an actual touchdown. And McCarron emerged as a playmaker, completing 23 of 34 passes for 234 yards.
"I don't understand that," Gentry said. "Most quarterbacks get nervous. He [has] seen the future of this game. He said, 'I think we're going to dominate these kids.'"
But it wouldn't be Saban unless he invented a tiny black cumulus cloud. Maybe that's why this is his third national title and his second in the past three years. He never settles.
Saban can be, well, a bear to be around. But if he keeps winning these championships, they'll start comparing him to The Bear.
"Look, I'm a day-to-day guy," he said. "So we're process-oriented in what we do."
I'm pretty sure Bear Bryant never used the phrase "process oriented." And if he did, nobody would have been able to understand him anyway.
But Saban can say it and get away with it because he produces championships. Crystal footballs are multiplying like bunnies at Bama. And Saban is the constant.
Saban said all along that Bama deserved a rematch after the Nov. 5 loss to LSU, and he was right. He said LSU and Bama were the two best teams in the country, and he was right. He said it was a shame that those two best teams had to come from the same side of the same division of the same conference.
No, the Crimson Tide didn't win the SEC championship. And they didn't beat LSU in Tuscaloosa in November. But they won when it mattered most -- and did so in suffocating fashion. After outscoring LSU 27-9 over two games and not allowing a touchdown for eight quarters and an overtime period, the Tigers still can't breathe.
"I give credit to our opponent," Miles said. "Great playing."
Great everything. Even the Bama crowd won the battle of the noise.
It wasn't the Game of the Century. It wasn't the Rematch of the Century. Instead, it was a woodshed blueprint. A rout. A score Bama will remember forever and one LSU would like to forget.
"Tonight was our night," Gentry said.
And your national championship. Period.
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