(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
3. Alabama: The Alabama pass-catchers didn’t rack up a bunch of touchdown catches, but they made plays when they had to. It was a deeper unit than given credit for as evidenced by the play of Kevin Norwood and Kenny Bell in the BCS National Championship Game. Marquis Maze was Alabama’s top playmaker at receiver and one of the more underrated players in the league, and the Tide had two good tight ends in Brad Smelley and Michael Williams.
But after throwing two interceptions in the then No. 1-ranked Tigers’ Nov. 5 showdown at Alabama, Lee was relegated to a backup role behind fellow senior Jordan Jefferson in LSU’s final five games. He threw just five passes total in those games, getting on the field only to take a knee in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game against Georgia. Most galling to a strong and vocal contingent of LSU fans is that Lee didn’t get on the field at all in the Tigers’ 21-0 loss to Alabama in the BCS championship game. Jefferson went the whole way and struggled, as LSU managed just 92 yards total offense and crossed midfield just once. Lee repeated quotes he gave while participating in an all-star game in California that he was frustrated by not getting in the BCS title game. "I felt, if I was given the opportunity, I could have come in and done things to help," Lee said. " "I don’t know what happened. Obviously, the coaches had a reason for doing what they did. As a player, you have to respect that. But there were some players and plays that could have helped us win."
The title game sucked, and it was okay to take an appropriate mourning period for the ruination of what was only the greatest regular season in the history of college football. Stuff like that takes time to get over. Well, we've had a month. It's over. Time to get back on that horse and move on. It's time to stop apologizing for our season. LSU finished #2 in the nation and BEAT three of the four other teams in the top five. Acting like we're some mediocre team that just got lucky all year is a tremendous disservice to this team. This team was awesome. Hell, the team still is awesome, as a lot of the key components are coming back and we should expect radically improved QB play. Unless you went to Alabama, you could only hope your team had as good of a season as we had. And even Alabama needed a successful public relations campaign to get a second chance to salvage their season. Was it fair? Who cares? My momma told me that fair is just a weather condition. And while LSU fans may have gotten the short end of the BCS stick this year, we also rooted for a two-loss national champion in 2007. The BCS giveth, the BCS taketh away.
Even though NCAA rules permit only minimal contact with high school juniors, Alabama's Nick Saban, Georgia's Mark Richt, Florida's Will Muschamp, Clemson's Dabo Swinney and Tennessee's Derek Dooley each visited Grayson High School during the past two weeks. Assistant coaches from Florida State, Miami, Michigan State, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Syracuse and Vanderbilt -- and assistants from at least a dozen other schools -- also stopped by to see the country's most highly sought high school football player. "The only thing that concerns me with all the recruiters and media and everyone always wanting his time are the distractions," said Conn, who played for Alabama and was a member of the 1992 national championship team. "I've never seen a player as good as him in high school. The comparisons don't bother me. He knows college is going to be a different animal.
Last Wednesday, on National Signing Day, Alabama collected 26 signatures comprising the nation's No. 1-ranked recruiting class - Alabama's fourth No. 1 finish in recruiting in the last five years, according to Rivals.com. A number of factors other than winning, however, contributed to that success. "If I had to pick a recruiter to just go into a living room and close a deal, it would be Urban Meyer," Rivals.com national analyst Mike Farrell said. "But if I had to pick a head coach that represented everything a kid wants - winning a championship, discipline, hard work, getting to the NFL - then it's Nick Saban."
Statistically speaking, Super Bowl quarterbacks are a small sample that doesn't really reflect the stature of a college football program. Plenty of schools, including some in the Southeastern Conference, have never had a Super Bowl quarterback. It's a different column for a different day, but SEC quarterbacks in the NFL have been a mixed bag for quite some time now, excluding guys named Manning. The fact Drew Brees led the Saints to a Super Bowl win a couple of years ago hasn't put Purdue in any Rose Bowls, and Alabama has managed to win five national titles since its last NFL first-rounder, Richard Todd.