If you’re looking for long runs, sweet spirals traveling 40 yards before dropping into the arms of a wide receiver, or big numbers in the scoring column, the BCS Championship Game between LSU and Alabama might not be the game for you.
If you recall, the last time these two got together last November, the Tigers needed overtime to beat the Crimson Tide 9-6 in an overtime game that featured zero touchdowns.
Top ranked LSU (13-0) and No. 2 Alabama (12-1) are evenly matched, both with stellar defenses, making this a hard game to pick. But like a croupier (the roulette host) in Vegas once told me, “stay with whatever color is hot. If black has won five straight times, don’t bet against it until you land on red.” I don’t bet on sports, but I am a firm believer in patterns. I haven’t seen LSU lose, therefor I’m not going against them. No chance.
In college hoops, sometimes we see conference rivals meet up for a third time in either their conference tournament or the NCAA tournament after one team swept the other in regular season play. The pundits always say, “it’s really hard to win that third straight game.” Does that same principle apply to college football but in regards to the second game? I guess we’ll find out on Monday.
A more tangible reason for taking the Tigers Monday night is the fact that they beat both Oregon and West Virginia in the regular season. Both of those Top 25 teams have high-powered offenses which were on full display in the Rose and Orange bowls, respectively. In fact, LSU beat eight Top 25 teams this season, and only three of those wins came at home in Baton Rouge.
That leads me to yet another reason to pick LSU. The title game is being played at the Superdome in New Orleans, just a stone’s throw from LSU’s campus. While an equal number of tickets were sold to both schools (allegedly) and Tuscaloosa is only about 300 miles away, one could assume this will be more of a Tigers home game than a neutral site.
Okay, now to the nitty gritty; LSU ranks 12th in scoring offense with Alabama not far behind, ranked 17th in the nation. It was worth mentioning, but we all know that defense is the name of the game for these two teams. Alabama is ranked No. 1 in every defensive category, allowing only 8.83 points and 191.25 yards per game. That is ridiculous and hard for me to comprehend, especially playing against offensive linemen upward of 300 pounds in the SEC week in and week out.
But there’s a catch, of course. The LSU defense is no slouch either, surrendering just 10.54 points and 252 yards per game. The Tigers counter Alabama’s two big linebackers Dont’a Hightower and Courtney Upshaw with their top-notch corners, Morris Claiborne and Heisman Trophy finalist Tyrann Mathieu, better known as the Honey Badger. And I’ll tell ya something about Mathieu, he certainly isn’t intimidated by Alabama’s star running back and fellow Heisman finalist Trent Richardson, nor does he give a s%^! about the Crimson Tide’s cool-as-a-cucumber quarterback AJ McCarron, who in his first year as starter, has done a damn good job.
Like McCarron, Mathieu is a sophomore who has managed to make his presence felt in a big way. Only 5-foot-9 and 175 pounds, Mathieu leads the LSU defense with 71 tackles, 11 forced fumbles and two interceptions. With two punts returned for touchdowns, I fully expect Alabama’s special teams to try its best to stop Mathieu, but as we’ve seen with Devin Hester in the NFL, sometimes teams fall victim to the Bears return man despite their attempts to not kick to him. In a game where little offense is anticipated, I think a special teams play could be the deciding factor.
The kicking game is what decided the first meeting between LSU and Alabama in Tuscaloosa, and it just might be the difference maker again in New Orleans. Alabama missed FOUR field goal attempts which clearly cost them the game back in November. No football team ever wants a game to come down to a field goal (just ask Andrew Luck and Stanford… yikes), but those guys are on the team for a reason. Sometimes that’s the way it is and hopefully, your guy has the leg (and the stones) to get it done.
As far as coaching is concerned, both Nick Saban and Les Miles are top-notch, championship-winning coaches, despite having two completely different styles and personalities. Both teams are in great hands when it comes to their respective head coaches.
While the LSU and Alabama players and coaches have said that they enjoyed the first meeting and thought it was great football because of the strong defense played by both teams, I would urge somebody, ANYBODY to score a touchdown in the rematch. I love defense as much as the next guy, but it wouldn’t hurt either team to find the endzone once or twice. The Superdome should be full of electricity, regardless of offensive production and with all of the marbles at stake, I can’t wait to watch LSU and Alabama go at it for the championship.
That said, can we please get a playoff in college football? Thanks!
Mad Tiger Mom: Football Recruit Gets Punked By Mother On National TV For Committing To Alabama Instead Of LSU
The claws came out at the Under Armour High School Football All-America game, airing live on ESPN Thursday night as one young man learned a hard lesson about parents in front of the entire nation.
Landon Collins, a safety from Dutchtown High School in Geismar, LA is ranked the No. 15 overall recruit in the country by Rivals.com, leaving him his choice of top schools. For Collins, it came down to Alabama and LSU (of course) as the Louisiana-native, surrounded by his family, decided to verbally commit to Alabama on live television.
Unfortunately for Collins, his mother was not happy about her son joining the Crimson Tide, and she sure wasn’t afraid to show it! If you haven’t done so already, watch the video posted above…
How funny was that!?!? I’m assuming Collins and his mother had discussed his decision before that moment on live TV (at least I would hope so), thus he already knew she wasn’t exactly supportive of his choice.
Going against a parent’s wishes, especially when it comes to a life-changing choice, can get pretty ugly, as Collins found out Thursday evening. Mama Collins was so mad that she couldn’t even hide her disappointment and put on a united family front for the cameras, instead, throwing her son right under the bus!
All of this begs the question, why did a kid from the state of Louisiana decide to leave home and a wildly successful program for the hated, out-of-state rival?
After watching that video, maybe Collins wants to get away from his mother for a while. Plus, Baton Rouge is only 25 miles from Collins’ home town, and for many kids, college might be the only opportunity they have to leave home and go out on their own.
My other guess, which is probably more realistic, is that Collins had more fun on his recruiting trip to Alabama. Think about this logically:
Where would you rather live, Tuscaloosa or Baton Rouge? Who would you rather deal with every day for the next four years, Nick Saban or Les Miles? What would you rather be, the Crimson Tide (whatever that means) or a Tiger?
LSU seems like a no-brainer here, so surely, the fine folks at Alabama found a way to leave a lasting impression on Collins.
When I was a sophomore at the University of Arizona, my friends and I attended a house party one Friday evening where one of my friends proceeded to drink a little too much. She ended up making out with a high school senior who was in town for his official recruiting visit, in front of about 100 party guests. If that wasn’t bad enough, under the influence of alcohol, the two ended up stumbling during the make out session and falling to the ground, which was absolutely hysterical. Thankfully, nobody was injured. This was a classic moment that we still talk about, and that young recruit committed to Arizona because he made out with a college girl on his trip! I kid you not.
Common sense would say that more important factors should dictate where you choose to spend your college/athletic career, but if you think back to when you were an 18-year-old, girls and partying were probably near the top of your list of priorities.
What force is strong enough to convince a teenager to leave the New Orleans area and willingly endure the wrath of his mother, all in one fell swoop? My gut tells me the tide was awfully strong in Tuscaloosa the weekend Landon Collins came to town. Sorry Mom!
Thank you Twitter, thank you.
Oregon Ducks running back Kenjon Barner posted the hilarious picture above featuring Barner (right) sitting next to teammate LaMichael James on the ride Space Mountain from the team’s visit to Disneyland on Dec. 27.
The caption accompanying the tweet read, ” @KBDeuce4: Damn lol space mountain do somerhings to u”
The ride certainly did something to James’ face as the fearless-on-the-field playmaker looks terrified in the classic photo! I rode Space Mountain a few months back, and while I thought it was pretty awesome, it could definitely scare someone who isn’t an experienced roller coaster rider, so I can’t fault James for his raisin-like facial scrunch.
Typically it’s everyone else who is afraid of the 5-foot-9, 195-pound 2010 Heisman finalist who is averaging 149.6 rush yards per game this season. The Wisconsin Badgers have the tall task of shutting James and his fellow Ducks down in the upcoming Rose Bowl game on Dec. 2. Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema told the L.A. Times that James is a player who “makes something out of nothing.”
Also making something out of nothing, the girl sitting in the third row on the right, clearly striking a pose for the camera, cool as a cucumber and perhaps inadvertently finding fifteen minutes of twitter fame.
Gary Klein of the L.A. Times wrote it best:
“Regardless, he already has an enduring keepsake of the 2012 Rose Bowl. And he’s not afraid to admit it. ‘I have to say the picture,’ he said. ‘It’s probably going to be the most memorable thing ever.’” Love it.
Not only will he not play against No. 13 Michigan in Tuesday’s BCS Sugar Bowl, but Virginia Tech spared little expense when sending its senior kicker Tyler Weiss home to Roanoke on a bus. Yes, 833 miles on a bus. OUCH.
What did the young fellow do to deserve a one-way ticket out of Crescent City? He was nowhere to be found when a coach came to his hotel room for 1:00 a.m. bed check Thursday morning.
What exactly was Weiss doing in lieu of being tucked in on time? We don’t know, but whatever it was clearly didn’t qualify as appropriate, otherwise I’m sure the coaches would’ve cut him some slack had he a legitimate excuse for missing curfew.
Perhaps he wasn’t living it up on Bourbon Street, but I kind of hope he was, because whatever he was doing better have been worth missing the final game of his collegiate career.
As for the Hokies kicking game, this Weiss kid was the backup until being promoted last week when Cody Journell, the starting kicker was suspended following an arrest. Why was Journell arrested you ask? Only for a felony stemming from an alleged home invasion of a Hokie basketball player!
From roanoke.com, Journell and two others are, “accused of entering the house of Dorenzo Hudson and Sean Allen with a weapon [gun], with the intent to commit larceny, assault and battery, or another felony, according to warrants… the three showed up at Hudson and Allen’s residence last night because they said Allen [the resident] stole marijuana from Dunton [one of the three suspects],” according to the website’s reporting based on court testimony.
Clearly, the backup kicker Weiss, who missed the only field goal he attempted this season (a 29-yarder) has nothing on Journell, either on the field or on a rap sheet.
Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer told the Associated Press, “My kickers are not bad guys. They just made bad decisions. And young people do that.”
Not sure if you qualify as a good guy after attempting an armed robbery inside someone’s home over drugs, but perhaps I’m just being judgmental.
Anyway, the 11th-ranked (BCS) Hokies are now left with kickoff specialist Justin Myer to be responsible for putting points on the board. Myer missed his only two attempts of the season, but they weren’t gimmes at 57 and 53 yards. Coach Beamer told the AP that his punter Michael Branthover and a redshirt freshman Conor Goulding could earn a shot at the kicking gig during practices leading up to the big game.
I decided to end my Hanukkah vacation a few days early to bring you the always fun, yet cliched obligatory “athlete saves somebody’s life” story. I love this kind of stuff; it’s so cheesy and heartwarming! Without further ado, here’s the story.
It all went down at Lawry’s, a prestigious Beverly Hills restaurant where the two teams playing in the Rose Bowl game (this year, it’s Oregon and Wisconsin) take part in the annual Beef Bowl dinner a few days before taking the field in Pasadena. Yes, the Beef Bowl is one of those events that probably makes foreigners dislike America as it challenges two college teams to a duel of eating; whichever team can consume the most prime rib is the “winner.”
Paul Diamond, the father of a University of Oregon student was dining at Lawry’s during the Beef Bowl Wednesday evening when he started choking on a piece of meat and gestured for help. A restaurant chef gave the good old Heimlich maneuver a try, but to no avail. That’s when Ducks offensive lineman and our story’s hero, Mark Asper sprung into action.
The senior told the L.A. Times, “I stood up and patted [the chef] on the back and said, ‘If you don’t know what you’re doing, I do, because I’m an Eagle Scout,’ ” Asper said. “So I whipped in there.”
An Eagle Scout? I can’t stop laughing! This guy is awesome. Oh ya, he’s 6-foot-7 and 325 pounds, so naturally, he was concerned that his strength might do more harm than good. “The first heave was a test heave, because the guy seemed a little old, and I didn’t want to break his ribs or anything. So, test heave, then it seemed like he could handle the full force, so I popped it out.”
Despite being called “old,” Diamond was certainly grateful for the big man’s help, but Asper’s performance wasn’t quite perfect. “He came up to me afterward and said ‘Hey, man, thanks a lot, but you broke my sunglasses.’”
While I don’t condone needless consumption of food while millions worldwide are starving (plus the whole thing totally grosses me out), this story is awesome in part because Asper potentially saved a man’s life and also because of Asper’s personality and reaction to what went down.
After all the hoopla, it was back to dinner as usual, prime ribs and all. “Last I saw, he was taking smaller bites, but still at the plate,” Asper said with a chuckle. Raised in Idaho Falls, ID, Asper is a 26-year-old married father of two daughters. He is on the older side as Asper completed a two-year Mormon mission after graduating from Bonneville High School. In fact, my first night as a sports reporter was spent shooting a Bonneville Bees football game as my first on-air job was with KIDK-TV in Idaho Falls, although I just missed Asper by one year. Too bad though because he seems like a fun guy to cover as a reporter.
On a serious note, choking is so dangerous because it is silent. When a person is truly choking, their airway is completely blocked, thus preventing the person from making any oral sounds. When I was a counselor at a summer camp several years ago, a camper sitting next to me at the lunch table choking, but because my head was turned to the kid on the other side of me, I had no idea. Thankfully, the camper sitting directly across from us saw him motion that he was choking so he got up, ran around to our side of the table, and successfully performed the Heimlich on his buddy.
Good thing Asper was an Eagle Scout otherwise he might never have learned the life-saving technique. I think every athlete from high school on up should be first aid and CPR certified. It takes one day of training that could easily be done during training camp. The athletes would learn telltale signs of dehydration, heat stroke, sun stroke and other common ailments that come along with playing sports.
Thursday night, Wisconsin will take the Beef Bowl stage at Lawry’s. No word yet on how many pounds of prime rib the Badgers need to throw down to beat the Ducks, but we’ll find out that pertinent information soon enough. Either way, it looks like the Ducks will win the Beef Bowl, at least in the eyes of the public thanks to Asper lending a very large helping hand.
If you are already mad that Alabama is playing for the BCS title, chances are you not only have a beef with the way the system works in college football, but you probably aren’t a big fan of Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban either. I can’t say I’ve met many Saban fans, but I’m sure they exist. If the following story being reported by Deadspin is true, well, then Saban has NO shot of winning any popularity contests in the near future. Or ever.
Former player and current NFL Network analyst Heath Evans, who played for the Dolphins during Saban’s short stint as an NFL head coach in Miami, told a mighty interesting story on the radio while appearing on the Jorge Sedano Show on Tuesday.
According to Evans, Saban callously ignored one of his own players as he experienced a dangerous medical situation during training camp in 2005. Here is what Evans had to say, via Deadspin:
“Jeno James, our best offensive lineman at the time, comes in and collapses after practice, uh, vomiting all kinds of stuff that would make a billy goat puke, eyes rolled in the back of his head. Myself, about four other lineman are trying to carry him from the locker room, to the training room…
Nick Saban literally just starts walking in, steps over Jeno James convulsing, doesn’t say a word, doesn’t try to help, goes upstairs, I don’t know what he does. But then obviously they get Jeno trauma-offed to the hospital.”
HUH??? For real??? Wait, lets not jump to conclusions just yet because Saban fully explained himself later that evening:
“Saban calls a team meeting about 10:30 that night. [He] comes down and says, ‘You know, the captain of the ship can never show fear or indecision, we’ve always gotta have an answer, and so I had to go upstairs. That’s why I walked over Jeno like that, I had to collect my thoughts and decide what’s best for our team.’
And I’m thinking to myself…’Did he, does he really believe what he’s just saying?’ He showed no human emotion for one of his best players. He literally stepped over him when four or five grown men are trying to carry Jeno to the training room.”
Okay. Either A) Saban just didn’t care or B) Saban really believed what he told his players in a team meeting, despite the utter lack of common sense, obligation, responsibility and overall logic.
How much must Evans dislike Saban to drop this knowledge bomb a few weeks before the man plays in the BCS title game? So cold.
One would think that fresh off a college coaching job at LSU, maybe that sense of caring and the parental-like responsibility as a leader of young adults would perhaps carry over to the NFL, at least in that first year. As a programming coordinator responsible for staff and kids at an overnight camp this past summer, I would’ve been held criminally negligent for doing to a camper what Saban allegedly did to James.
If I am the parent of an Alabama football player, I am calling the football office RIGHT NOW to get a guarantee that if my son drops, the nearest coach will take personal responsibility for making sure he gets medical care and that the head coach will be involved to the fullest possible extent.
That guarantee is already in writing when a player signs the paperwork when committing to a University as a student-athlete. Plus, how many hundreds of times has Saban sat in the living room of a recruit and promised the young man and his family that he would take personal responsibility for that child’s safety and welfare? NFL players aren’t kids, but they are human beings with families. Perhaps coaches are held to different standards in the professional ranks which I suppose would make sense. Nonetheless, it is hard to imagine a group leader in any profession acting so carelessly.
Six years after the fact, I don’t expect to Saban to comment on the alleged incident when he is in the midst of preparing for his former team LSU with a BCS championship up for grabs. Winning is the bottom line after all, right? Roll Tide.
The most entertaining part of the first half of the SEC Championship Game between Georgia and LSU didn’t involve wasn’t the Honey Badger’s non-touchdown touchdown, but instead, a yucky “cry-face” on live television.
The culprit? Ivon Rodriguez-Padilla, winner of the Dr. Pepper Tuition Throw challenge during halftime of a 10-7 game led by UGA at the Georgia Dome.
Rodriguez-Padilla threw for significantly more yards than LSU in the first half as she and Katelyn Watson battled for $100,000 towards college tuition by throwing footballs five yards into specially made Dr. Pepper cans placed in the endzone.
Padilla-Rodriguez, a freshman at the University of Nevada, Reno threw 13 balls into the cans in 30 seconds while Watson came up short with 10.
As soon as the buzzer sounded and Padilla-Rodriguez, from Las Vegas, realized she had won the competition, she burst into the crazy cry-face above and the waterworks were at flood level! It was AMAZING.
You would think that blubbering all over national TV would be embarrassing enough, but Rodriguez-Padilla outdid herself with her response to CBS reporter Tracy Wolfson’s question, asking her how much the money meant to her. Rodriguez-Padilla replied, while still sobbing, “this is so important to me [puts hand over mouth]… Dr Pepper is seriously the best thing that has ever happened to me!!!”
This moment was an all-time classic. I bet Saturday Night Live will spoof it. I think it rivals Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction. Yes Rodriguez-Padilla’s wild reaction was funny, sending my twitter timeline into a tizzy, but in reality, that young lady had every reason to cry tears of joy.
Between the black hole that is the U.S. economy and the way student loans are absolutely decimating peoples’ finances after college, winning this money probably IS the best thing that has ever happened to Rodriguez-Padilla. Without knowing what her financial situation is, the money must mean a lot as she took the opportunity seriously.
“Well I practiced just about every day at Mackay Stadium which is my university stadium with a bunch of stacked trash cans and I had our starting quarterback Cody Fajardo help me out,” Rodriguez-Padilla told Wolfson before the contest started. “And i had a friend who is an aspiring engineer come up with my technique.”
How cool is that? The Wolf Pack quarterback helped this girl train for the contest. Love it.
According to an article on the University of Nevada, Reno website, the 18-year-old feels that Wolf Pack athletics brings the school community together and helps to relieve stress among students. Rodriguez-Padilla said she was honored to have the chance to lessen her family’s financial burden by participating in the promotion.
On the school’s website, UNR student Tiffany Moore wrote that Rodriguez-Padilla hopes to use the money to, “pursue her majors in English and history, as well as her minor in the philosophy of law, ethics and politics. After graduation, she wants to attend law school and become a lawyer. ‘One day, I hope to become a federal judge and ultimately, a Supreme Court Justice,’ she said.”
Rodriguez-Padilla sounds like a very motivated young lady, and good for her for working hard for that money. Don’t feel too bad for the runner up as Watson took home $23k for finishing second.
I give Rodriguez-Padilla’s enthusiasm and overall awesomeness credit for turning the SEC Championship game around. That halftime spot really got the ball rolling and she might just be the Tigers’ new good luck charm. I think LSU should offer Rodriguez-Padilla a sideline pass for the BCS Championship game. If they did, one can only imagine what her reaction would be.
To watch how the Dr. Pepper Tuition Throw went down, click here for the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NfS7bVBCRLw