This isn't an anti-BCS post. I'm as tired of writing those as you are of reading them. But i confess to a substantial 'meh' feeling - 43 days off will do that (36 in LSU's case). But like Kellen Winslow, I'm a warrior*, so I soldier on. Like Harvey Updyke, too, who's wandering around the French Quarter like a PTSD-addled infantryman. Mike had better sleep with one eye (of the Tiger) open. (My bad.)
(* Note: I'm actually more of a worrier, at least in the context of sports rooting. Close enough.)
There are lots of places on the internet to find terrific analysis of this game. This is not one of them. Here's what I know, though:
Had this game been played two weeks after the SEC Championship Game, I'd have liked LSU by a relatively comfortable margin. The Bayou Bengals were simply wrecking people late in the season. After they beat Alabama, 9-6, in the two teams' much-ballyhood first tilt, LSU whipped its final four opponents by a combined 177-39 score. More telling to me was the way the Tigers absorbed a series of body blows from Georgia and then blew the Bulldogs' doors off, scoring 42 unanswered points to claim the SEC title.
With six weeks for Nick Saban to prepare, though, I can't see LSU's momentum making any difference. The fact is, Saban got completely outcoached in the two teams' first matchup. His mixture of panicky gimmickry and questionable decision-making (choosing to attempt long field goals, letting a badly injured Marquis Maze return a punt) were as responsible for Alabama's loss as anything that happened on the field. It's hard for me to see that sort of coaching mismatch happen again.
These are two terrific teams, anchored by phenomenal defenses and competent offenses. LSU's Tyrann Matthieu is probably the most dynamic player in the game, but Alabama's Trent Richardson is better than anyone LSU will line up opposite him. Frankly (Marty Schottenheimer homage), nothing that happens in this game will really surprise me, except for a one-sided rout. Based on nothing other than a hunch, I like Alabama, 20-16. I like Brad Smelley to play a big role. And I like these two girls in their houndstooth caps.
Boy, would I really like a playoff.
[Doofus Overlord edit, because rob's PG-13 pic sucks]
In an effort to be fair and balanced: