Hi again America,
The bloated college football bowl season came to an end Monday night with No. 2 Alabama blanking No. 1 LSU 21-0. In this case, blanking is a euphemism. Because this thing was ugly and awkward. Let me count the ways:
1. Holy Honey Badger. How many times did play-by-play guy Brent Musburger call LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu by his nickname, the Honey Badger? Too many, at the very least. Roughly 879, to be more exact. Come to think of it, those might have been the only words Musburger uttered all night. (To bite something I read on Twitter, anybody playing a Honey Badger drinking game would have died before the final whistle.) It was embarrassing.
See, there are some unwritten rules in journalism – not as many as in baseball, but plenty, to be sure. One of them covers the use of nicknames. In short, it’s fine to reference a widely accepted or unique nickname from time to time. You even can touch on it in bunches if you craft a one-time story about it or use it informally. But the constant on-air use during a championship game, especially by a broadcasting veteran, was inexcusable. He should have gotten the hook mid-game. Seriously.
2. Offensive offense. To be clear, Alabama has an exceptional defense, maybe even in a historical sense in light of giving up just nine touchdowns all season. Kudos to the Crimson Tide. They were swagged up and downright nasty.
However, LSU was brutal on offense. It should have had a player named Smelley, not Alabama (although the Tide didn’t exactly roll, either, scoring just one touchdown and missing multiple field goals). I mean, Georgia Southern, not even the best team in the Football Championship Subdivision put up 21 points on Alabama in Tuscaloosa. The Tigers had weeks to prepare for this game AND it was their second look at Alabama. Shouldn’t you be able to come up with something – anything – that works under those circumstances? (Tangent: At least games with crummy defenses are fun to watch, right Washington vs. Baylor?)
At the very least, LSU could have gone to its pass-first quarterback Jarret Lee after it became painfully obvious that Jordan Jefferson wasn’t getting the job done. Coach Les Miles got to where he is by taking risks, and then he goes (or geauxs, as they spell it in the South) conservative in the championship game. Weird.
The unit was so bad – for at least the second time this season – that it distracted me from being bothered by Nick Saban winning another national title.
3. BCS mess. This just in: The BCS system isn’t ideal. I know; I’m stunned, too.
But, seriously, the Alabama win merely forges a season split between the Tide and the SEC champion Tigers. And both have one loss. That’s about as satisfying as a single Pringle.
Now we need a rubber match with the winner taking on Oklahoma State … or something like that. (Yes, I realize this won’t happen.) LSU’s offensive ineptitude gave the high-powered Cowboys even more of a case that they deserved a shot at the stingy Tide. At the very least, they would have been more fun to watch what with a 28-year-old, red-headed quarterback (Brandon Weedon), a beastly receiver (Justin Blackmon), a big-money booster (T. Boone Pickens), interesting uniforms and hail from a conference other than the SEC. After all, what’s the point of a conference title tilt if you don’t need to win or even reach it in order to advance to the national championship game?
If I hadn’t committed to filling this space, I would have changed channels before the final Honey Badger reference. But now that the college football season is in the rear view, bring on the NBA. No smothering defenses there.