November 10th, 2011 01:22 PM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Alabama, LSU
Tags: LSU, New York Giants, Ole Miss, Pat Dye
In 2008, when Ole Miss upset Florida in The Swamp — inspiring Tim Tebow’s “promise” speech — no one walked away saying, “Mississippi is clearly the better team.” Ole Miss had played the best game on that day, but they weren’t a better team than Florida.
Upsets happen. No one thought Chaminade was really better than Virginia way in 1982. So it shouldn’t surprise folks that there are still plenty of people who believe Alabama’s roster is better than LSU’s.
Most of those people don’t live in Louisiana, of course.
Mike Griffith of The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that a number of ex-coaching greats voting in the Scripps Legend Poll still say Bama’s the best team in the land.
Gene Stallings: “I think if they played the game 10 times, Alabama would win seven of them. The best team doesn’t always win.”
Vince Dooley: “I still believe Alabama would win two out of three times. I think Alabama is a little better. It was just a classic, between two of the best teams, just physical athletes, that I can remember at one time in a season.”
John Cooper: “It was a great defensive game, two great teams, very conservative game plans. I still think Alabama was the best team but didn’t win that game. I think if they played five times, Alabama would win three of them.”
So how did Alabama lose? “It’s the damn kicking game,” Pat Dye said. “The kicking game determines close games. Alabama missed four field goals, and they let them (punt) the ball 72 yards. The only mistake LSU had in the kicking game was the flagrant foul on the punt return.”
From there, the ex-coaches breakdown an area of the game that I myself took issue with on Saturday night — Nick Saban’s decision to keep attempting long field goals.
Alabama clearly did not have anyone capable of connecting on 40+ yard field goals. Knowing points would be at a premium, Saban continued to take shots regardless. Had he punted LSU deep into its own territory time and again in the first half, who knows how things might have played out. Clearly, the Tigers weren’t going to move the ball any farther on Bama than Bama did on LSU.
But that’s history at this point. And LSU went into Tuscaloosa and beat Alabama on its home field. End of story. Whether they’d win one out of 10 or 10 out of 10 means nothing. They won the game they played.
As a New England fan, I can tell you that the Patriots weren’t a better team than the St. Louis Rams in 2001. But for one night, they were. And in 2007 — dagnabbit — the Patriots were a much better team than the New York Giants… except for the night that counted most.
LSU was better than Alabama when it counted. Regardless of who has the better roster and the most talent, all that matters is the final score from last Saturday night.
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