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2012 BCS Championship - BAMA WINS 21-0
Posted Jan 10, 2012

2011-2012 Bowls - CFN's Preview & Prediction for the 2012 BCS Championship

2012 BCS Championship

Alabama 21 ... LSU 0

- 2011-2012 CFN Bowl Central

Alabama 21 … LSU 0

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Jeremy Shelley kicked five field goals and Trent Richardson broke a 34-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter as No. 2 Alabama beat No. 1 LSU 21-0 on Monday night - the first shutout in BCS title game history.

Richardson swept around left end and raced down the sideline to the end zone with 4:36 left for the first touchdown between the Southeastern Conference rivals in more than 115 minutes of play and one overtime period.

Alabama (12-1) had put it away before that as Shelley kicked field goals of 23, 34, 41, 35 and 44 yards in the first three quarters to make it 15-0, matching an all-bowl record. He also missed two field goals and an extra-point attempt.

But this time, the missed kicks didn't matter to the Tide.

The Tigers (13-1) and Tide met on Nov. 5 in what was dubbed the Game of the Century, and the Tigers won a touchdown-less, defensive standoff, 9-6 in overtime. Alabama went 2 for 6 on field goals in Tuscaloosa.

Richardson, the Heisman Trophy finalist, ran for 96 yards on 20 carries and offensive player of the game A.J. McCarron passed for 234 yards as the Tide had no problem moving against LSU's second-ranked defense in the nation - just not into the end zone.

Alabama's top-ranked defense didn't need much help. With All-American linebacker Dont'a Hightower leading the way, the Tide held LSU to 92 total yards and five first downs.

For the Tide, it's the second BCS championship in the last three years under coach Nick Saban, who also won a title at LSU in 2003.

In a bowl season filled with high-scoring games, the top two defenses in the nation set the tone at the BCS title game. And much like the first meeting, special teams were pivotal.

The Tide's defense was dominant and linebacker C.J. Mosley had the first takeway of the game in the third quarter, his last play of the game as it turned out.

LSU's Jordan Jefferson started to scramble toward the line, but at the last second flipped the ball toward Spencer Ware. Problem was, Ware had turned to block and Mosley snagged the ball and set up Alabama at the Tigers 27.

Mosley was twisted down to the turf by Jefferson and his left leg bent awkwardly. The sophomore stayed down for several minutes and as the medical staff worked on him Alabama fans chanted his first name. As he was carted off, sitting up on the back of a golf cart, he got a huge ovation and pumped his fist.

Alabama couldn't convert the field position into points as Shelley dropped to 4 for 6 on the day, missing wide right on a 41-yarder with 5:38 left in the third.

The next time down, he booted a 44-yarder, giving him more field goals than any kicker has ever had in a college bowl game. His seven attempts were also a record.

The Tide faked a 49-yard attempt early in the second quarter and went with a shovel pass to backup tight end Chris Underwood that gained 4 yards. He reached the first-down marker by the nose of the football.

The drive didn't last much longer and Shelley's 42-yard attempt was blocked by LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers.

Shelley came back to make one from 34 yards with 4:24 left in the half, and from 41 yards as time expired in the first half.

Alabama opened the second half with another solid drive that stalled, but Shelley tacked on another 3-pointer from 35 yards.

LSU's offense was shut down completely. The Tigers managed two first downs and 66 yards through three quarters. The Tide, led by linebackers Courtney Upshaw and Mosley, gave Jefferson no space to run the option and only short gains when he passes.

It was Alabama's special teams that struck first in the first BCS title game to match teams from the same conference.

Punt returner Marquis Maze found a lane and broke into the open around midfield, though he pulled up instead of trying to get around punter Brad Wing and grabbed his left leg while running out of bounds at the LSU 26 after a 49-yard run-back.

Maze, the Tide's leading receiver, had to be helped over to the Alabama sideline, but he had put his team in scoring position. Maze didn't play again.

McCarron completed a 15-yard pass to Darius Hanks to set up first-and-goal, but LSU's defense, ranked second in the nation behind only Alabama, stiffened.

Shelley, who made one field goal and had another blocked in the first meeting between the SEC rivals, was perfect on a 23-yarder with 5:00 left in the first quarter.

It didn't sound like an LSU home game at the Superdome, about 80 miles from its Baton Rouge campus. The dome was deafening on almost every play with a crowd that was much closer to 50-50 than partisan.

The racket coming from the crimson-clad Alabama fans might have even contributed to a mishandled snap by Jefferson on the first LSU series.

More than a few people questioned whether Oklahoma State should have been given Alabama's spot in the BCS championship game, but the Tide won over the voters and earned a rematch with the Tigers.

- BCS Champ. Preview, Part 2 - Players to Watch, How To Win, & Pick

- Final Thoughts on the BCS Championship - Fiu & Rich
- Final Thoughts on the BCS Championships 2

- Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Receivers | Offensive Lines
- Def Lines | Linebackers | Secondaries | Spec Teams | Coaches

- Cirminiello: Speed Kills
- Harrison: AJ McCarron's Time  
- Zemek: These Two Teams Will Do It Right 
- Johnson: This Should Be Memorable

- 10 Reasons Why Alabama Will Win 
- 10 Reasons Why LSU Will Win

E-mail Pete Fiutak
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National Rankings
30th Total Offense 75th
1st Total Defense 2nd
16th Scoring Offense 12th
1st Scoring Defense 12th
15th Rushing Offense 17th
1st Run Defense 3rd
72nd Passing Offense 105th
1st Passing Defense 9th
25th Turnover Margin 1st
Position Rankings
relative to each other
5 Highest - 1 Lowest
A   P
3 Quarterbacks 2
5 RBs 5
3 Receivers 3.5
4 O Line 5
4.5 D Line 5
5 Linebackers 4.5
5 Secondary 5
4 Spec Teams 5
5 Coaching 5
Alabama (11-1) vs. LSU (13-0) Jan. 9, 8:30, ESPN

The time for crying and whining is now officially over. It’s Alabama vs. LSU for the 2011 national championship, and all your playoff and Plus One models can’t save you now.

Granted, it might not be a captivating matchup to the average sports fan who needs offense and points to survive, and it might not generate interest from some college football fans who don’t care all that much about an SEC divisional matchup, but if you can strip away all the controversy, all the rhetoric, and all the goofy factors that got these two superpowers together again, it’s hard to make a case against the idea that the two best teams are playing each other.

The Alamo Bowl was as fun as any bowl game ever, with Baylor and Washington trading haymakers in a wild and crazy shootout. The Rose Bowl was a classic, with home run after home run from Oregon and Wisconsin’s balanced attack moving up and down the field. But those were exhibition games; without a playoff, they really don’t matter. The rest of the great bowl season was for fun and games, but now it’s time for the adults.

Yes, Oklahoma State’s offense was good enough to have had a puncher’s chance against either one, and several other teams like Oregon, Wisconsin, Stanford, and yeah, Boise State, were good enough to have possibly done some good things in a playoff format, but if the idea is to put the two most talented teams in college football on the same field at the same time, the BCS just did that. The sheer talent level on both sides of the ball is at a whole other level, with wave after wave of players from both sides to go flying off the board in the first 100 picks of the next few NFL drafts.

More than anything else, this little SEC house party is the defining moment in college football’s seismic shifting of all the power to the SEC. It’s always a bit more fun when the national championship is between two teams from separate conferences, but the harsh reality that few want to admit is that the SEC is really all that matters at the moment. It really is the SEC’s world right now, and everyone else is just taking up space. Everyone else is jockeying for position behind the leader.

Oregon was more than competitive against Auburn in the 2011 BCS championship; the Ducks had their chances to win. Even without Colt McCoy, Texas fought to give Alabama a game two years ago, and Tim Tebow needed to summon all his powers, willing his defense to come up with an epic stand, for Florida to get by a powerhouse Oklahoma team in the 2010 BCS championship. It’s not that other programs haven’t been great since Vince Young had confetti raining down on him on January 4, 2006, but now the SEC’s top teams have gone from being very good to playing a game the rest of college football doesn’t seem to be familiar with.

While everyone else is focused on the latest offensive gimmick and the video game numbers, the cream of the SEC crop – SEC East, at the moment, you’re politely excused from the fawning - have been in an arms race to come up with the best defensive lines, the most talented linebackers, and the fastest playmaking defensive backs. Everyone wants to recruit top defensive talents, but the SEC actually gets them, and no one has brought in more lately than Alabama and LSU.

Basically, the 2012 BCS championship is college football’s way of saying that enough is enough. The SEC might not have been the best top-to-bottom conference in college football this year – that was the Big 12 – but it’s the strongest on a regular basis and it’s by far the best up top. There’s no real reason to pretend otherwise.

No, the Alabama and LSU passing games might not be special, and no, the offensive attacks might not be all that fancy, but that’s sort of the point. While everyone else is busy trying to figure out how to put up a bazillion points on the board, Alabama and LSU have become Alabama and LSU because they don’t need to. They don’t need to be flashy and they don’t need to appeal to the fan who gets distracted by a shiny piece of offensive tin foil. It doesn’t matter what schemes LSU and Alabama run; they’ll win by being better than everyone else defensively and talent-wise.

LSU was the best team in college football over the regular season, and while it already proved itself by winning the first time around in Tuscaloosa, this is a chance to reaffirm everything that happened over the last four months. Yeah, the Tigers beat Bama on the road, but that game could’ve gone either way. A second win over the second best team would not only cement the national title, but it might also open up the argument that this is a team worthy of being mentioned among the all-time greats.

Fourth in both preseason polls, LSU took care of No. 3 Oregon in the opener; dominated Mississippi State on the road; overcame an offensive onslaught from Geno Smith and the West Virginia passing game; and rolled through the SEC in layup after layup.

No, the SEC East might not have been any good, and MSU and Auburn were disappointing, but LSU still didn’t even have the slightest bit of a hiccup. There weren’t any mental lapses, there weren’t any close calls outside of the first Alabama game, and there was nothing but total can complete dominance in game after game.

How great was LSU? The 19-6 win over Mississippi State was the second closest call. Every time it seemed like an Arkansas or a Georgia or a West Virginia was going to make things interesting, in what would seem like a blink of an eye, the final score would be 40something to 17ish. In all, the Tigers beat two teams that won BCS games; a third team – Arkansas – that won a BCS-like Cotton Bowl and was better than most of the BCS teams; and beat eight bowl teams with Georgia the only one outside of Alabama that didn’t win its postseason game.

But Alabama might actually be the better team.

It wouldn’t have been a problem selling the idea of a rematch if LSU had lost 9-6 on the road - especially with wins over Oregon and West Virginia on the résumé – but Alabama’s best win was over Arkansas and the second best win was over a middle-of-the-pack Penn State. The Tide is in instead of Oklahoma State because it has more talented players than anyone outside of LSU; the substance of the schedule just isn’t there.

Alabama started out the season as the preseason No. 2 team in the AP and coaches’ polls, and was CFN’s No. 1 team. In many ways, it outplayed LSU in the first go-round, but the kicking game wasn’t better and the Tigers were tougher and more effective in overtime. LSU won the war of attrition, and now it’s on Alabama to not just win this game, but do it decisively enough to end any shadow of a doubt about who the best team is. A close win will bring up the Tuesday morning articles about whether or not there should be a split national title – even though the AP poll is now irrelevant in a BCS world. A great performance and a decisive victory would quickly turn the tide and would reframe everything that happened this year.

Alright, fine. You’re right. Alabama didn’t win its own division and doesn’t technically deserve to be here, and LSU already proved in the regular season that it was the best team. Enjoy this game anyway, because it’s going to be terrific.

And the winner really will be the best team in college football.

BCS Champ. Preview, Part 2 - Players to Watch, How To Win, & Pick