The morning media-ocrity has awakened from it's blissful slumbers, rolled out of bed and belched forth its usual pile of pomposity. So here's the highlights of the offerings for you to peruse at your leisure...
The Crimson Tide looked like an upset victim because its usually reliable run defense, which entered the game allowing just 65 yards a game, was gashed for 201 yards. Alabama inverted its offense and threw on first down when it usually runs, but Wilson was spotty. He completed 15 of 31 passes as he tried to involve other receivers in the game besides the fabulous freshman Julio Jones. “After it’s done, you look at the overall picture, the overall situation, it does your heart good,” Alabama defensive back and kick returner Javier Arenas said. “Coach had a huge smile on his face. We did it for coach and for ourselves.”
Alabama didn't offer anything awesome or outstanding against LSU on Saturday, but the Tide actually increased their stature because they managed to survive without their best stuff... The name of the game — especially in the sport with the shortest of seasons — is to get out of town with a W, and that's exactly what Alabama did on Saturday against an opponent that wanted to knock off the Tide in the worst possible way.
And so Saban, who led LSU to a 2003 national title before a brief detour to the NFL and his return to college ball at Alabama last year, can afford to be conciliatory toward LSU's fans, including those who screamed, "(Bleep) you, Saban, (bleep) you, Saban," after the Tide scored the winning touchdown. "You name it, I heard it, he said. "None of it was that creative."
The student section at Tiger Stadium serenaded the Crimson Tide coach with an expletive-laced chant at the close, as Alabama players raced onto the field in celebration. The Crimson Tide fans, a noticeable presence in the southeast corner of the stadium, roared with glee as Alabama (10-0, 6-0 Southeastern Conference) clinched the SEC's West Division.
[Saban's] assessment of the Tide's performance here Saturday was considerably harsher -- not that you could blame him.He'd just watched his team commit an uncharacteristic number of miscues -- three turnovers, several costly penalties and a blocked field-goal attempt that would have won the game in regulation -- that kept the Tide from putting away a pesky but overmatched opponent whose quarterback seemed bent on giving the ball (and the game) to the other team.
"My emotions for this place [LSU] are positive, not negative," Saban said. The biggest reason those emotions are not returned in kind by so many LSU fans is simple: They're seeing, firsthand, the brilliance of a coach who used to be theirs. This is jealousy, pure and simple. They want him and can't have him. They used to love him, but the depth of the embrace was never fully reciprocal.
With a few more plays here, a few more breaks made or chances seized there, the Tigers could have stalled that celebration for the Tide and ended its run at the top of the rankings. Instead, four Jarrett Lee interceptions — the last in overtime — sent the Tigers to a third regular-season loss for the first time in Miles’ four seasons and left them to pick up the pieces of a season when very little seems left to salvage.
At its heart is a fear over what Alabama can become. It’s already 10-0 and top ranked. In just two years this rivalry has “flipped flopped” as Johnson put it. Wait until Saban gets his recruits in and maybe there aren’t so many turnovers to overcome, Tide fans say. Maybe then LSU doesn’t even have the chance to block a winning extra point to force overtime and send Tiger Stadium into an earth-rattling roar.
As I said earlier today, style points don't come into play in Baton Rouge, no matter how brutal Jarrett Lee is, or how vulnerable the run defense looked for the first time all year. All the Tide had to do was survive, which Penn State couldn't do at Iowa, and shoot itself full of whatever completely legal painkiller it needs to get through Mississippi State.
While its unlikely any Alabama fans were watching Penn State's implosion, they might have gotten a good gist of how it happened by watching the Tide. A slumping quarterback. A rush defense growing increasingly suspect. Special teams not up to snuff. Stop us when you've heard this one before. Returning head coach Nick Saban showed up in Baton Rouge with a 13-member police escort, the kind of entourage you only see in football if Pacman Jones is in town, but it was the kind of homecoming the Jacksons might find uncivil.The team wasn't much better, and for Alabama, the paint is starting to peel off the 2008 season.