I didn't see all of the game because I was too busy hyperventilating during and after the Michigan game, but I think it needs to be said that LSU isn't as dominant as I previously thought. Their defense has been run and thrown upon by every good offense they've faced. The offense is good at running and throwing, but is inconsistent in both departments. The receivers go through occasional bouts of the dropsies, the running backs shuttle in and our so we never know what we're going to get from any of them, and Matt Flynn seemed to have money on Alabama during the second quarter of the game. LSU's schedule has been extremely difficult and they are at the front of the line of one-loss teams with a line on the title game, but it doesn't seem so clear-cut to me now that they deserve to be in the title game over all of the unbeatens. Most, but not all.
The game against Alabama was also LSU's annual meltdown game under Miles. They outgained Alabama by a whopping 221 yards, but found themselves trailing for most of the second half because of 14 penalties and three interceptions. Did the game strike anyone else as a copy of the '05 SEC Championship Game or the '06 Florida game? LSU is lucky that '07 Alabama isn't on that level. I'll cut LSU a little slack because it was probably hard to prepare with all of the Saban hype this week, but Les Miles does seem to have a tendency to allow his teams to play a stinker in a huge game every year.
One more note on Saban: he didn't do much to improve his image as Nick Satan with that backhanded "you have a great team" remark to Miles, which sounded a lot to me like "that's a lot of talent I left you, jackass." And then Saban mosied off before Miles could respond, but I suppose people in South Florida were not surprised by that.
100 cocktails to Chad Henne, who gutted out a performance with an ailing shoulder and led a terrific comeback on the road against a rival to set up a winner-take-all armageddon with Ohio State in two weeks. (Let's not discuss the fact that Ohio State runs much of the same stuff that worked so well for Michigan State in the second half, only with superior personnel. If Michigan couldn't stop Javon Ringer running behind an average offensive line, what does that say about their ability to stop Beanie Wells running behind a good offensive line?) Henne's touchdown pass to Greg Mathews to cut the deficit to 24-21 was as good a throw as you'll see all year. His touchdown pass to Mario Manningham for the winner was almost as good. One wonders why Michigan only puts him in the shotgun to sling the ball around when they're trailing by ten in the fourth quarter, or how an offense loaded with talent couldn't put a game away when its defense was totally dominating in the first half.
100 cocktails to Mike Hart, who put up 115 yards despite a bum ankle and had the play of the game, scooping up a Ryan Mallett fumble (Mallett is entering Kurt Warner with a broken hand territory, by the way; Scott Loeffler has his work cut out with him) and running for a first down when Michigan was trailing by ten in the fourth quarter. Fortunately, Hart's injury didn't prevent him from sticking the knife in after the game:
"Sometimes, you get your little brother excited when you're playing basketball100 cocktails to Ron English for dialing up a blitz at a critical moment on Michigan State's last drive.
-- let them get the lead," [Hart] said. "And then you come back."
100 cocktails to John L. Smith for leaving Michigan State with minimal talent.
100 cocktails to Bonnie Bernstein, who managed to score an interview with the naturally shy Tom Izzo. Who ever knew that Izzo likes to be interviewed every time Michigan State is playing football. Did he not have to look at tape of his team's sterling performance against Division II Grand Valley State?
100 cocktails to Lloyd Carr, who, foibles an all, will retire with a 10-3 mark against the in-state rival (assuming that he hangs up the headset after the year).
Phil Steele is probably beside himself with excitement to pick against Virginia, a team that continues to defy probability by winning close game after close game. Here are the scores of Virginia's last four wins: 23-21, 17-16, 18-17, and 17-16. Today's example of good fortune: the normally astute Jim Grobe becoming the anti-Miles by settling for a 48-yard field goal on the last play of the game. Wake had 35 seconds, one timeout, and the ball on the 33 yard line on their last drive. The Deacons proceeded to run the ball into the line twice. I wouldn't trust an NFL kicker to be a sure thing from 48 yards, let alone a college kicker with a divisional title on the line. The lesson: even good coaches can be conservative idiots some times.
By the way, I never thought I'd say this when he was looking like the Commonwealth's Reggie Ball, but Jameel Sewell is turning into a pretty decent quarterback. His numbers would have looked better today if not for an epic series of drops by his receivers.