5 Thoughts - 2008 BCS Championship
LSU QB Matt Flynn
LSU QB Matt Flynn
Posted Jan 8, 2008

Praising Les Miles, the likely return of the Buckeyes, where LSU goes from here, & more in the BCS Championship 5 Thoughts.

5 Thoughts - BCS Championship

LSU 38 ... Ohio State 24

LSU 38 ... Ohio State 24
- 2008 CFN BCS Championship Preview
BCS Championship Stream of Consciousness Quarter By Quarter Game Notes
- 2008 CFN BCS Championship Unit Breakdowns & Analysis

2008 BCS Championship History, Each Team's Best Bowl Moments, & More

By Pete Fiutak   

1. Don't disparage LSU by saying it was SEC speed and athleticism over a slow Big Ten team. This was a very good, very healthy team that proved it was the best team in America with great execution on both sides of the ball after giving up an early 10-0 lead. The offense might have taken its foot off the gas in the second half, and the defense had a few struggles, but in the end, LSU beat a terrific Ohio State team 38-24 to show it was more than just a collection of athletes. This was a great team. Ohio State also has great athletes, plenty of speed, and tremendous NFL prospects up and down the board. It also got beaten, outcoached, and outplayed. There was nothing fluky about this, there shouldn't be a mental asterisk in the minds of those who think Georgia or USC deserved a shot at the championship, and there's really no debate. Fully healthy, Glenn Dorsey was just one of the Tigers who said time and again that he felt night-and-day better than he did several weeks ago, this was the team that dominated Virginia Tech early in the year. This was the team that everyone thought had a great shot to be playing for the title from the word go. This was the best football team in America.

2. It might be painful for Ohio State fans right now, having lost the last two football national championships and the NCAA basketball title in the last 365 days, but there's certainly hope for next year. Remember, this was supposed to be a rebuilding season for a team that lost almost all its offensive stars from the juggernaut that got to the 2007 BCS Championship game, and now it should come back roaring with a team deserving of being ranked in the top five in America to start 2008. As always, there will be a slew of early defections to the NFL, but most of the offensive line will be back, Chris "Beanie" Wells will be back as one of the leading Heisman candidates, QB Todd Boeckman returns, top targets Brian Robiskie and Brian Hartline should be back, and there's only one senior on defense. LB James Laurinaitis, DE Vernon Gholston and CB Malcolm Jenkins are as good as off to the NFL, but Ohio State reloads defensively. Schedule-wise, there are road games at USC, Wisconsin and Illinois, so while that might look daunting, wins in those three games will certainly spark another run for a national title game.

3. The perception is that Les Miles can't really coach Xs and Os. The perception is that he's a lot of personality, coaches from the gut, and was blessed by a heater of a team handed over from the Nick Saban era. For all the goofiness and all the hullabaloo about the Michigan situation, it's time to give the guy his just due as one of the best coaches in America, and not just a caretaker. Remember, he had to deal with the Hurricane Katrina situation, somehow managed to keep the team focused and together, and led the way to an 11-2 season complete with a Peach Bowl win over Miami. Last year his team rolled to a Sugar Bowl win over Notre Dame, and now he has a national title while going . 3-0 in bowl games, his LSU teams have won three elite games by an average of 40-14 with three straight two-loss seasons. While Saban had to pull the program out of doldrums, he only had one year with fewer than three losses, and that includes the season after winning the 2003 national title. Miles is now 34-6 in three years with a national title. Of course, now the pressure is really on. Restock the shelves, keep the juggernaut rolling, and do it again. No pressure there.

4. So where does LSU go from here? It's not like the SEC is going to run away and hide with Florida and Georgia likely to be top five caliber, and LSU will have to face both teams from the East including a trip to Gainesville. There's also an early trip to Auburn. However, the rest of the slate is more than manageable with the only other road game at Arkansas and the non-conference schedule nothing to worry about. Team-wise, the offensive line will be great again, the receiving corps has playmakers, and the backfield is beyond loaded with everyone but FB Jacob Hester coming back, including Ryan Perrilloux, who appears to be more than ready to take over for Matt Flynn under center. The defense will be the issue. If the players expected to leave early are all gone, that means as many as eight starters might have to be replaced. That might be just enough to take a wee step back in the always great SEC, be 10-2 again, and still be one of the elite of the elite teams.

5. For those who want a playoff, here's your closer argument: Pittsburgh, and the SEC's performances in national championships. Let's say West Virginia comes back late and pulls off the win over the Panthers. That would've meant a Mountaineer-Buckeye national championship and LSU would've been in the Sugar Bowl. Let's say Missouri beats Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game, then LSU would've also been in New Orleans playing in a non-national title game. When Les Miles and his players talk about a bit of divine inspiration, that might be stretching the laws of the spiritual world, but they certainly got the right breaks (and don't forget the leapfrog in the polls over Georgia).

Last year, it took a USC loss to UCLA for Florida to play for the national title. Tennessee was unbeaten when it played for the 1998 national championship, but over the last 12 years, the SEC has had four other national champions and each needed help to back into a title shot (1996 Florida needed Ohio State to come back late to beat Arizona State in the Rose Bowl and 2003 LSU got into the title game over USC in a controversial BCS poll). The SEC has to get the benefit of the doubt at every turn after proving itself worthy whenever it's gotten the chance. The league doesn't lose national title games (1995 Florida being the last one). So there's how you win the debate. How many other national champions have we missed out on because the breaks didn't go the right way? What would Auburn have done in 2004 if it had gotten in over Oklahoma or USC? Let the debates continue.