Lessons From Another Trophy On Saban’s Mantle

So last night they had a national championship game, and the result was a real big surprise.

No. It wasn’t.

If you couldn’t see a butt-kickin’ comin’ a mile away from Alabama gettin’ to play Notre Dame, you’re an idiot. That’s the bad news, of course; the good news is that you might oughta put a resume’ in at ESPN, because half the goofball pundits on that network spent the last month makin’ the case that the Irish were gonna make that a game.

If you think there are morons pontificatin’ about politics on national TV, that ain’t nothin’ compared to the dumbassery they put on ESPN’s half-dozen networks. Those guys have a LOT of airtime to fill, and it’s pretty cheap to put washed-up sportswriters and bum-kneed linebackers on the tube and send ’em out to give opinions. Except the problem is they have to have different opinions or it gets boring – so just like lefty professors need to say somethin’ original to get attention and drum up sales for the books their universities want ’em to write, the washed-up sportswriters and bum-kneed linebackers have to come up with an argument which says somethin’ original.

Like, for example, that Notre Dame was gonna beat Alabama. Everybody knew that was Fantasyland.

Of course, ESPN doesn’t require that their washed-up sportswriters and bum-kneed linebackers actually be right about all their predictions and analysis. It’s usually not their predictions and analysis, anyway; some pencil-necked geek in their corporate offices in Bristol actually writes Lou Holtz’ material most of the time, or else he’d be a deer in the headlights.

And the main reason they can get away with throwin’ out drive-by crap analysis of college football is that the fans don’t demand better. Nobody seems to care that what the morons on ESPN say is fabulously wrong half the time (if not more); they actually seem to LIKE the way ESPN turns The Best Sport on God’s Green Earth into pro wrestling every fall.

Which is why I don’t watch ESPN all that much. But the rest of the nutria down here in Barataria Bay sure as hell do. My cousin T-Claude – he’s a big Catholic, so he was susceptible, fa sho – swallowed all of Holtz’ BS and went around braggin’ on how Manti Te’o was gonna break A.J. McCarron in half. I bet that fool a C-Note and even gave him the 10 points, and now I can’t find him anywhere.

T-Claude’s kinda stumpy like that Peter Dinklage dude from Game Of Thrones. Except he ain’t no Lannister like that Peter Dinklage dude. Findin’ that out this mornin’.

Maybe I should try an’ collect from Holtz. He’s richer than Croesus, so I hear, and he’s a Republican. Obama and Nancy Pelosi say Republicans are a bottomless pit of money. Which is why they’re gonna spend this whole year in Holtz’ pocket, and maybe that means I’m SOL collecting on my bet.

And that brings us back to ESPN. Because it’s interesting – here you have this whole family of networks that’s all about competition and winners and losers and accountability for the winners and losers, and there’s no accountability whatsoever for any of their talkin’ heads who pick Notre Dame to beat Alabama.

Somethin’ to think about if you’re “persuadable” like ol’ deadbeat T-Claude is.

But T-Claude isn’t the only nutria with a notable attitude down here this mornin’. I see a whole buncha LSU fans who’re insufferable about Alabama winnin’ another championship. How long is this crap gonna last? Hope not until the fall.

All I hear is that LSU had Alabama beat back in November and if it wasn’t for Miles’ dumb coachin’ mistakes LSU woulda been in Miami stompin’ a mudhole in Notre Dame’s butt. Ga-ron-teed, and Miles needs a firin’ as a result.

Except that ain’t so.

MacAoidh noted that LSU had a full boat of kids who for one reason or another couldn’t take the field when LSU played Alabama, and those things weren’t Miles’ fault. Know what else wasn’t Miles’ fault?

Drew Alleman missin’ that easy field goal wasn’t his fault.

Alabama gettin’ away with that obvious holding on a 3rd and 18 screen pass right before half wasn’t his fault, and that led to a touchdown they scored which they don’t win without.

It wasn’t Miles’ fault that J.C. Copeland hit that kid late at the end of a long run, which screwed up a drive LSU was about to score on. And it wasn’t Miles’ fault that Copeland whiffed a block on a 4th and 1 late in the game that LSU didn’t convert.

They get somethin’ good to happen on any one or two of those situations and Miles can coach like he’s smokin’ grass rather than eatin’ it and it won’t matter. LSU wins that game and with it the SEC West.

But guess what? Even that don’t mean anything. You still gotta beat Georgia in Atlanta, or else you don’t get to smush Notre Dame in the finale. And Georgia was Right Up There with LSU and Alabama and Florida and South Carolina and Texas A&M this year.

Fact is, there were six teams in the SEC who were better than anybody outside of the league in 2012. Yeah, Florida and LSU laid eggs in their bowl games and South Carolina and Georgia were mediocre. But let’s face it – outside of Bama who got to play in a title game and A&M who got to play a big rival in Oklahoma (and in Texas, no less), playin’ some consolation game against some team from a lesser conference was A Big Nothin’burger for all those teams.

When the season was goin’ on, those six teams were a grab bag. They beat each other up, and the reason Alabama and Georgia ended up in the title game was that Alabama and Georgia had the easiest schedules to play. Alabama got Missouri and Tennessee from the East, Georgia got Auburn and Mississippi State from the West. Compare Alabama to LSU (Florida and South Carolina, lost to Florida) and Texas A&M (Florida and Missouri, lost to Florida), and compare Georgia to South Carolina (LSU and Arkansas, lost to LSU) and Florida (LSU and Texas A&M, beat both but lost to Georgia) and it’s no shock who went to Atlanta.

Alabama got the easiest schedule. They were lucky like that. They had some fortune to beat LSU this year, and they had some fortune to beat Georgia. That kid doesn’t catch that tipped ball and Georgia’s got two shots into the end zone for the win.

Alabama also got lucky that they didn’t get anybody hurt all year. LSU had lotsa guys hurt.

The fact is, while Saban’s a real good coach and what he’s done there has been great and all, he’s also had a run o’ luck that would make the Irish blush.

Don’t believe me? OK. When’s the last time Alabama could count on Auburn and Tennessee both suckin’ hind tit at the same time? Most of the history of those programs they’ve been contenders – havin’ ’em both down at the same time is pretty much unprecedented. But Tennessee hasn’t been relevant since they snuck into the SEC title game against LSU in 2007, and outside of Auburn pullin’ off that Cam Newton deal and winnin’ a title in 2010 on a fluke/one-off/bought-and-paid-for basis they’ve been down for a good while as well.

Alabama has those two for their primary recruiting and on-the-field rivals, and they’re both cupcakes. That’s a rabbit’s foot up Saban’s butt. The rotation of the schedule which has them playin’ Missouri, who has no business in this league in football and everybody knows it, is another one, though I can be persuaded that it ain’t luck but a crooked thing out of the SEC office. Did you know that the cat who makes the SEC schedule went to Alabama and worked in their athletic department before the conference hired him away? Well, it’s true.

Add to that the last two years’ worth of weird stuff goin’ on to benefit Alabama and you might feel better – or worse – about all this if you’re an LSU fan. After all, if Okie State doesn’t miss an easy field goal against Iowa State in a game they stunk it up one day after their women’s hoops coach got killed in a plane crash Alabama doesn’t even make the title game a year ago, and almost nobody thinks Okie State woulda stayed on the field with LSU that day. And this year they needed Oregon and Kansas State to BOTH get beat on the same weekend or else they don’t get into last night’s game.

That’s a lotta good fortune. LSU had that kinda luck in 2003 and 2007; not much since.

The good news is that luck’s gonna play less of a role from now on given that they’ll have a lil’ playoff instead of just a national championship game between the two luckiest teams in the country (Notre Dame, until their luck ran out and they had to play an SEC team, was the ORIGINAL rabbit’s-foot-stuck-up-my-butt ballclub this year). That’s good news, because I don’t think any of the nutria down here in Barataria can put up with ESPN’s goofballs.

Or Saban catchin’ one break after another.

As for Miles, he’s not in as bad a shape as everybody makes him out. But he’s gonna need to figure out how to come up with some offense, and soon, or else the nutria will be comin’ to look for him this time next year.

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