It was the game of the Century!! #1 vs, #2! 100,000+ screaming Turds rooting you on!! And THIS is what you give them? A FG loss in overtime? Don't get me wrong, it was a great game, but I kept saying to myself, LSU is going to win the game because Bama isn't going to win it. By that I mean, Alabama did NOTHING to WIN this game. Yes, they played better on both sides of the ball than LSU for 55 minutes last night, but, as is usually the case in close games, coaching and special teams make the difference.
Alabama had several chances to put points on the board, but couldn't due to missed field goals, and just when Trent Richardson seemed to find his groove again in the 4th Qtr., they blew another scoring chance by having a WR make a throw off his back foot that would be intercepted.
Whenever I see a team waste chances to score and play to go to overtime or extra innings, I take that as a sign of weakeness, a lack of confidence in their ability to finish, a hope that their opponent will somehow give them the game. That strategy almost never pays off, because when you show no confidence to win......HOW CAN YOU WIN???!!!
In his actions last night, Saban made all the wrong decsisions, and when it was time to be a champion, he showed absolutely no confidence in his team to win. Alabma was supposed to be the best team in the country. Big. Bad. Unbeatable.... And in front of their home crowd. This game was the defacto national championship....winner goes on to play the sacrificial lamb that makes the other half of the BCS title game. If I'm coaching, I'm going down swinging, doing my best to win....not hoping that the other team will give me the game.
But that is exactly what Saban did, he played too conservative, except at the wrong time. Besides the ill advised WR pass by Maze, Saban sealed the fate of the team by asking AJ McCarron to get meaningful yardage on third and 15 in OT when he hadn't asked him to do anything meaningfull all game. THATS THE TIME YOU DECIDE TO THROW DOWNFIELD??? REALLY??
Instead of finding a receiver or even trying to pass, McCarron does exactly what you would expect someone to do when you show no confidence in him.....he failed. McCarron took the sack that put the TIde out of a reasonable field goal distance. Why this was dumb, is that LSU is WILLING to give you three points, but not a first down. Saban should have gone back to Richardson, his only real weapon, to get them closer. If he picks up 5 yards, its a 42 yard field goal and much more makeable. The chances that McCarron would make a 15 yard completion at that point were negligible at best, but dwelling on the OT underscores that they shouldn't have even been there in the 1st place.
Even though their kickers missed three field goals in regulation, the Tide had the ball at the 22 yard line with :52 seconds to play and did nothing to try to get themselves in position to kick a winning filed goal. When he didn't even use a TO to mount an offensive, I knew that the Tide would lose. He had told his offense, and especialy AJ McCarron that they weren't good enough to win the game.... and they proved that correct in the end.
I went over to RBR this morning to see how bad Saban was being savaged for giving this one away.....
... and to my amazement, their was not a single comment on how Saban had lost his nerve and blinked under pressure. Unless something unbelievable happens, they lost their chance at a National Title, and nobody even was placing blame where it belonged......Saban.
Instead, the sentiment is the better team lost, the barn is gonna get it, the kickers suck, etc, etc, etc. None of which pointed out the fact that with two weeks to prepare, Saban's plan evidently was to play conservative on offense and wait for the defense to win the game for them. Uh, DUH?? Who didn't know that?
Both teams obviously gameplanned for a defensive war, and thats what it was, but the Tide wasn't able to do anything with the gifts that Lee gave them. If Richardson couldn't win the game for them, then Saban wasn't interested in seeing if McCarron could. Knowing that was the case and that Miles would scheme his defense for that, it is very surprising that Saban had no tricks up his sleeve that would not evoke the desperation that Maze's heave did. That play gave LSU the momentum for the remainder of the game.
The Tide attack was so predictable from that point on that the Tigers blitzed with abandon and rendered even Richardson ineffective. It was so obvious, I thought Tide fan would be furious at Saban's playcalling.....and yet they saved their ire for McIlwein, as if he was the guy callling the shots at that point.
Tide fan is clearly delusional at this point. Miles has beaten Saban two years in row in pivotal SEC battles, and Chizik beat him after spotting him 24 points. Saban is obviously not the coach people think he is. He is one of the best in the business and a great recruiter, but it is becoming increasingly clear, unless he has an overriding edge in talent, he isn't a lock to come away the victor.
With one of the best defenses in college football, all he has to do is get minimal production from the passing game to make his superstar Richardson, that much more effective. But somehow he manages to make his passing game a non-factor and his team one-dimensional when it matters the most.
As the head coach, he alone is handicapping his own team. To think that you spend all that time in preperation in the offseason, and prior every game, to essentially roll over during crunch time is absolutely amazing. This is alpha omega of college football? LSU was his first, and maybe only, real test of the season for the talent of the Tide, and not only did they fail, Saban conceded. I'm surprised that Tide fan doesn't expect more....for $4+ Mill, I know I would.