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Harrison: We Should've Seen This Coming

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jan 10, 2012


Phil Harrison on the BCS: In hindsight, this was obvious


Phil Harrison
Harrison: Roll Tide in New Orleans? We All Should Have Seen it Coming

Follow me on Twitter @PhilHarrisonCFN

And finally redemption. LSU vs. Alabama 2.0 was another monster showdown of two SEC powers, and clearly LSU was going to win--right?

Na-dah. How did we get from an epic defensive slug-fest that went to overtime back in the first installment in Tuscaloosa, to everyone giving Alabama absolutely no shot at winning? It’s as if LSU was the greatest college football team ever assembled, with the Tide being lucky just to be on the same field with the Bayou juggernaut--as a witness to history.

Shall we rewind?

If not for four missed FGs, and a dual-possession interception that could have gone either way, Alabama would have won the first game--handily. Yes, handily. Not just barely, not in OT, not in miraculous fashion. Alabama had more total yardage, was better on third down conversions, and had more first downs, yet still managed to lose in Tuscaloosa. Give credit to LSU for making plays, but also blame the men in crimson for leaving chance after chance on the field.

Despite it all, there were few folks giving Alabama a punchers chance in this one, but we should have all seen this coming. And here’s why:

Defense. Both defenses are good--very good. Statistically speaking, both defenses came in as the top two in the nation. And while that all sounds all fine and good and barely ascertainable, Alabama’s defense is and was a great defense. It lead the nation in five separate categories (rushing, pass efficiency, total, scoring, and passing). The Tide defense has only given up six TDs all year--including this game, and aside from a game that wasn’t taken seriously against Georgia Southern, teams have had a hard time approaching even 250 yards of total offense all game--almost every game. Sometimes things never change.

For LSU’s defense, it too had been lights out, but it had also shown flashes of its shields being taken down. West Virginia lit up the Tiger secondary, and Oregon was able to dink and dunk its way down the field almost at will in the season opener. Sure the Tigers still won both of those games, but if it were not for turnovers--a stat that can never be predicted, and a feature that it did not get the benefit of this game could have swung the balance the first time. The void left did have a major impact in this one. Knowing that this was the best chance to win ‘Bama threw the ball more and looked to exploit the LSU secondary--and even dipped into the “honey badger” jar for some big plays. AJ McCarron simply shined and made all the difference.

At the end of the day, this was no fluke. Alabama was and is the better team. Anyone not realizing this fact after the display in New Orleans tonight is not being true and objective.

Congrats to the Tide. Contrary to many who didn’t want to believe it, you’ve earned it. It’s just too bad many didn’t see it coming.