Film history is littered with bad sequels to fantastic movies – Godfather, Caddyshack and The Matrix come to mind as examples of producers who didn’t know when to stop.
You have no doubt seen this analogy heading in to the 2012 BCS Title Game between the LSU Tigers and the Alabama Crimson Tide but it has two flaws – 1) the original game was not entertaining nor played at a high level, and 2) there is always the chance we will get a “Wrath of Khan” or a “Dark Knight” followup.
Defense. Honey Badger. Trent Richardson. The verbal stylings of Les Miles. Here is the SportsCentral Preview:
My take on the matchup after the jump.
Smart guys in the desert say: Alabama 21-19 (Alabama -2, Total 40)
But there may be no information advantage here – EVERYONE in the country knows about these two teams and all the history of this SEC matchup shows 50-50 results against the spread. 65% of the “votes” are for LSU, but that is not significant enough bullishness to go contrarian against the crowd (want to see 80%+ on one side to justify that).
To me it is significant that LSU is 10-3 ATS (9-0 in SEC) in their 13-0 2011 campaign – we all know they are good but they consistently exceeded expectations.
Also, remember that the Tide were favored in the first match on November 5th “Game of the Century” by 5.5 points but lost in a slugfest and a game marred by missed field goals on both sides.
My pick: LSU 17-13
When there is little in the data to go on, you are left to rely on the gut. My gut says that Les Miles continues to be the coach from whom to expect the unexpected. Miles eats grass like Maximus samples the dirt of the battlefield. Fake field goals. Shuttling quarterbacks. The Hat.
After suspending his starting QB for four games, Jordan Jefferson and his option running was a big part of the November gameplan. I still maintain that Jarrett Lee is the best quarterback on the field Monday, so his more balanced passing package should be successful.
Nick Saban has no time for gut – his style is like Moneyball in that it is designed to be very steady and effective. Play vicious defense, control the clock, win football. If this game were played ten times (I know, it feels like it) I would take Alabama to win a majority.
But the BCS National Championship is one game. One game with the two best defenses in the country. Unless Trent Richardson puts Alabama on his back and just carries the offense, I do not see many big play opportunities against LSU. I think LSU possesses more talent at skill positions and Les Miles will dig deep into his creative mind to find one or two big plays needed.
Look for LSU and the upset again.