Best defensive performance: This one goes out to the entire Alabama defense, which saved its best for last. The Crimson Tide pitched the first shutout in BCS National Championship Game history and held LSU to 92 total yards. Let’s face it. They could have played 10 more quarters and LSU wouldn’t have scored a touchdown against Alabama on Monday night. It was like watching one giant crimson swarm all night.
20. BCS National Championship. A great game, if you're the sort of fan who enjoys watching nature shows where a pride of lions tear a wildebeest to pieces because the wildebeest can't complete a downfield pass to save its life.
1. Alabama hoists the crystal football ... again: The state of Alabama clearly owns college football at the moment. Alabama's 21-0 win over LSU in the national championship gave the state three straight crystal footballs and was the second for the Crimson Tide in three years. Nick Saban admitted that this championship (his third) was the sweetest and you could tell because he actually smiled afterward and took his Gatorade bath like a true champ.
ESPN's Brad Edwards put out a couple of remarkable numbers earlier this week from the NCAA's stat archive that stretches back to 1937. First, Alabama is only the second team to finish first in rushing, passing, and total defense after 1986 Oklahoma. I'm assuming those are on a per-game basis. Second, the 77.9 yards per game gap between No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 LSU in total defense is the largest ever. Wow.
Richardson, Kirkpatrick and Hightower all said before the Crimson Tide's 21-0 BCS Championship Game win over LSU that they planned to consult with their families and coach Nick Saban before making a final decision. Along with feedback from the NFL Draft Advisory Board, Saban also provides potential early draft candidates with feedback from his contacts in the NFL, which he recently said include representatives from nearly half the league. Saban has said he endorses early draft eligibility for those players projected as first-round picks, but typically encourages others to stay in college. "We are 100 percent supportive of both of these young men in terms of what their choice is and what they choose to do," Saban said of Richardson and Kirkpatrick. "They've been great ambassadors, great representatives for the University of Alabama as people, students and football players."
The strength and conditioning profession at the collegiate level has come a long, long way. But in some respects, it's still in frontier territory. After all, did you ever think you'd see a day where part of the lead up to the national championship game would be a SportsCenter profile of Alabama strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran? It happened this week. This is the new landscape of college football, where being the next superstar hire on a football staff means you better have an endless supply of energy, intelligence and hats.
What the BCS Championship Game may have lacked in drama it more than made up for in star power. Six players from that game are included in my top 32, with Alabama running back Trent Richardson and LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne among the top-five prospects, overall. Each player announced Thursday his intention to enter the 2012 draft. Creating a "Big Board" at this point in the year isn't necessarily designed to predict who will be the first 32 picks of the 2012 NFL Draft. Obviously, with all-star games, workouts and interviews each playing critical roles in determining a player's final grade, much will change between now and April.
"The cast and crew of 'Red Tails' are together in New York for Tuesday's world premiere so you can imagine the excitement when we heard Coach Saban reference 'Red Tails' at the forefront of his postgame comments after winning the national championship. Everyone associated with the film was so honored that Coach Saban elected to have his entire team screen the film on the eve of their championship game. And then to have 'Red Tails' and its inspirational message of overcoming adversity, never giving up, self-sacrifice and ultimate teamwork so deeply touch the Alabama team is personally very gratifying. I want to congratulate the Crimson Tide on their tremendous victory...the Tide truly rolled on Monday night."
Hightower, who captained the nation's number one defensive unit for the second consecutive year, was probably more fired up to play the game in New Orleans Monday night than any other member of the Crimson Tide. After suffering an ACL injury early in the 2009 season, Hightower had to watch from the sidelines two years ago when Alabama beat Texas in the championship game. In an interview with USA Today's Erick Smith on Saturday, Hightower said, "It's definitely one of the reasons why I wanted to come back. I can't wait. I can't explain my emotions right now. I'm shaky right now talking about this. I couldn't even sleep on the plane. It means a lot to me. I didn't get to play two years ago in Pasadena. To be back now, there's nothing left for me to do, but leave it out on the field."
"The notion of having a Final Four approach is probably a sound one," Emmert said when asked what he heard coming out of New Orleans this week. "Moving toward a 16-team playoff is highly problematic because I think that's too much to ask a young man's body to do. It's too many games, it intrudes into the school year and, of course, it would probably necessitate a complete end to the bowl system that so many people like now."
In the early 1990s it became obvious that the bowl format was a terrible way of deciding a national champion. Many years there were two top teams in the league that did not play each other in their bowl game simply because their conferences had ties with different bowls. The Bowl Alliance, Bowl Coalition and finally Bowl Championship Series set out to fix all of that. The entire purpose of the BCS was to ensure the top two teams played in a championship bowl each year. It has done this quite well, except that determining the top two teams each year has proven to be rather tricky. Some years it has been a no brainer. Most years it is filled with controversy. Today the BCS has become a corrupting influence in college football. We now see San Diego State joining the Big East. We see longstanding rivalries tossed aside for the opportunity to make more money. It is time for something to change.
Believe it or not, we're not falling impossibly behind Alabama, if at all. The present is bright. The future, even brighter. Miles has questions to answer, but don't expect them to come via a brutally honest press conference. As LSU fans we should all know by now that that's not how he handles things.Year after year we LSU fans seem to find every reason for why Les is slowly losing his grip: first he can't recruit well enough, then the Co-DC debacle, then the inability to beat Bama, Florida, etc. in the same year. Then Gary Crowton. Now it's Jordan Jefferson/Jarrett Lee and overly conservative offense. Yet, somehow, LSU continues to achieve and Les Miles continues to be the winningest coach in LSU history. So take a deep breath. Step back and enjoy just how stellar LSU football is and has been for the past decade. This is the Golden Era. Try not to waste it by complaining all the time.
The fallout continues from LSU's 21-0 loss Monday night to Alabama in the BCS championship game. Quarterback Jordan Jefferson closed his Twitter account after people sent threats and racial slurs after the game, according to multiple media reports.
First reported by TigersSportsDigest.com, and subsequently confirmed by ESPN.com‘s Joe Schad, Tigers wide receiver Rueben Randle has decided to leave the Tigers with a season of eligibility remaining and enter the NFL draft. The website wrote that Randle’s "decision was made during a family dinner in Bastrop, La., on Wednesday night, and the papers were sent off on Thursday afternoon."
While Steele cited "other coaching opportunities" as his reason for leaving, it's hard not to think the poor defensive showing at the Orange Bowl didn't have something to do with it. West Virginia's 70 points were the most scored by one team in any bowl in history. While the game was close early, the Tigers allowed five touchdowns in the second quarter, including three in the final 2:29 of the half. West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith tied a bowl record with six touchdown passes. The final margin, 37 points, was the largest in BCS history.