GAME OF THE WEEK:
ALABAMA at LSU (2:30 p.m. / CBS)
For an analysis that actually discusses the game and play-calling and stuff look here.
Every single week of this season, the cautious and rational members of the Bama fan base have quietly concluded, “Well, one thing’s for sure…we’re gonna find out what kind of football team Alabama is this weekend.” It’s a far cry from what the more vocal and irrational Bama fans have been screaming each week, which is, “Well, one thang’s for sur-tin…THE TAHD IS GONNA ROLL AND ROLL AND ROLL AGAIN THIS WEEKEND!!!!! WHOO!!!!!” The cautious and rational fans generally do not call into the Paul Finebaum Radio Network every day of every week like the vocal and irrational ones do.
The reason the cautious approach makes more sense (other than it just makes more sense) is that the concerns are real, with each and every opponent, whether it’s Arkansas State at home or LSU in Cat Pee Bayou. The most significant change from recent seasons to this season among the Crimson Tide football team is attitude. Attitude on this team is a topic that could be analyzed in a document thicker than the 9/11 Report (ooh…is that gonna be taken the wrong way?). But the difference is clear, and as silly as it sounded ten weeks ago, a national championship berth is Alabama’s to lose, so every single game deserves attention and thorough preparation because every single game matters. The stars aligned perfectly for LSU to be able to make it to the Big Game with two losses last year, and a repeat of that scenario is highly unlikely this season.
Of course this will be Nick Saban’s first trip back to the house he built, and LSU fans are wet over it. As these words are entering the blogosphere, LSU fans are circulating Bama play caller John Parker Wilson’s cell
phone number and urging their brethren to call the senior quarterback to rattle him before the game. Wisps of the idea that some of them are planning to hurl bags of urine at Alabama fans on Saturday are making the rounds as well. Is this an old tradition in aptly named Cat Pee Bayou? Likely, and it sure fits Louisiana State University well.
However, the Alabama football program has proven thus far this season that it no longer cherishes “moral victories” and instead focuses on finishing games with more points than opposing teams. Such off-the-field antics are left to be worried about by the fans and the talking heads. JPW has probably just turned his cell phone off and channeled himself to preparation.
Many folks have been waiting for Les Miles’s true ability to be “exposed,” but despite blowout losses against two worthy SEC foes, the Mad Hatter and his players will be ready for Alabama this weekend.
LSU is struggling (relatively) with a freshman quarterback (who has incredible potential) and an ailing defensive secondary. The Bengals make up for these two “soft” spots with metal everywhere else. Alabama
has been winning with traditional smash-mouth football. Run and play defense. The forgotten gems that disrupt today’s college football mentality of “spread” and gimmicks.
But LSU players and coaches are no strangers to this toughness, and they have been awaiting this game for a long while. The game will come down to preparation, execution, endurance, and will. Sounds pretty boring, but those are the things college football should be, and nothing boring will come out of this battle. It’s gonna be a bloodbath.