I'll be the first to admit that I've never been a fan of such low scoring affairs, but I thought the brutality and sheer athleticism featured in this game lived up to the hype. This was SEC football at its best. This is what we do.
But before I get into the game, my thoughts on Alabama: I hate the state. (My apologies to my handful of good friends from the place). In fact, the only state I hate more is Mississippi. And thank God for Mississippi, truly the only place on earth keeping Louisiana from ranking first or last in everything. Of course I say all of this in jest, but not really.
My track record in the heart of dixie is not good. I've been to Auburn twice, both times losing by a combined point total of 5. Throw in terrible officiating- including the horrible call in 2004 which allowed Auburn to re-kick their blocked extra point (which by the way was never called again and erased from the rule books the following season) and I vowed to never step foot on Auburn's campus again. They are still my most hated team.
Then comes the 2009 Alabama game. An exciting game no doubt, but forever marred by two plays (both involving Patrick Peterson). First, the no-interception call which was overruled by an Alabama booster (head reply official) and then the ONE play where Peterson was out with cramps: a screen pass to Julio Jones for 73-yard TD. Infuriating.
After 3 complete fails in the Yellowhammer state, I was convinced that it was me who was the bad omen. So it was with great hesitation that I accepted tickets to the game of the century. It is only because I was 100% confident in my team that I made the journey. There was never a doubt in my mind that we would win.
The campus was overflowing with people. There was no comparison to my trip two years earlier. The scariest part was how outnumbered LSU fans were. Sure, there were pockets of purple and gold here and there, but for the most part it was like traveling through a sea of crimson. Not cool. And also, I still don't get the whole LSU fan/corn dog thing, but if that's all you got on us...cool. Have fun with that.
Of all the LSU people we saw, I recognized no one. Of the few people that I knew were there, it was all but impossible to meet up. So Danny G. and I just walked around, people watched, drank some beer and checked out the campus. It was nice, but LSU's is better.
We made our way to the seat's in Bryant-Denny Stadium close to game time. A very handsome stadium, but still, no where near the coliseum like feeling of Tiger Stadium. And no where near the noise levels. It was pathetic. 102,000 sardines packed in the stadium and it sounded like Tulane's homecoming game at Tad Gormley. I was truly shocked, but not really.
Another thing: why are every other school's traditions so damn annoying? Even Rocky Top has to be annoying for even the most die hard Tennessee fan. The same goes for Alabama's "Roll Tide" or their guy on the jumbo tron literally SCREAMING for the fan's to "make noise" every 10 seconds. It was the most annoying thing I've ever witnessed. Seriously, give me Chinese water torture. LSU does not repeat anything 100 times in a game. As usual, we do it right.
The Million Dollar Band? What a joke. Yeah, a million dollars must have been really cool back in the 1930's. They couldn't even form a straight line. It was embarrassing. The Golden Band from Tiger Land could have done a better job blindfolded. Here's the proof:
They are not moving. Those are supposed to be straight lines.
Anyway, I won't bore you much with my thoughts on the game. I was a little upset about taking Lee out at first, because I think he has the capability to lead a much more successful drive, but after his second INT off his back foot it was clear he was a deer in headlights. I will give JJ a lot of credit. He came in and handled himself well. His throws were not perfect and he still can't see anyone but his first receiver, but still, he played well and didn't screw up. Oh yeah, and Randle should have caught that TD pass. That would have been a much bigger deal had we lost by 3.
Once it was clear Saban was playing for overtime I knew the contest was over. Our boys didn't come all this way to lose in overtime. What a great feeling it was when we ran right past them in overtime. I will never forget the silence in Bryant-Denny when we lined up to kick the game winner. You could've heard a mouse fart.
All in all it was no offensive masterpiece, but watching that caliber of athlete on defense is never boring. You do realize that our entire secondary will be playing on Sunday, right? They are sick.
The best part of the whole trip was basking in the glory as Alabama's fans threw out right temper tantrums. Temper tantrums. Even Nick Saban would have been ashamed. [Side note - if you saw yourself freak out on national TV like Saban does, wouldn't you be embarrassed enough to stop?] I have never seen anything quite like it. The second the ball sailed through the uprights the scoreboards were erased. The video screens were shut off. The PA system silenced. I guess they thought it would help ease the pain to act like the game never happened.
Leaving the stadium we were harassed by no less than a dozen drunken and very pissed off Bama fans. My favorite being some intoxicated-preppy-Bama-douche-bag calling an 85-year-old grandmother a four letter c-word that rhymes with the word normally associated with the small and sickly puppy of the litter. They were very, very classy.
Now to be fair, we did encounter our fair share of great Alabama fans that were very nice before and after the game. But still, there is nothing better than witnessing all human decency break down because of a 3-point loss. I guarantee you there were some bar fights til the death later on that night. It was gonna be a long one for Tuscaloosa police, who were already doing all they could to contain the LSU fans from spilling into oncoming traffic.
The ride home was great- listening to the Alabama's red necks calling in and hearing their true panic that we might have the better coach was a great feeling. That's 3 out of 5 boys. The Mad Hatter has done it again. Two years in a row. Something no other coach has even done to Nick Saban. And in his own backyard. Love it. And speaking of being out-coached, here's a great article from Al.com on why Miles is the better of the two. Never thought I would see that.
And speaking of Alabama fans, as one LSU caller pointed out, most have never graduated middle school, much less stepped foot on Alabama's campus, yet they will fight you to the death over Bear Bryant, Jesus Christ, Bud Light, and Elvis. Couldn't have said it better myself.
All in all it was a great weekend, capped off by a Saints win. Let me be clear that I do NOT want a rematch in the title game, but I can guarantee you that's exactly what's gonna happen. Oklahoma will beat Oklahoma State. Oregon will beat Stanford (even though I hope not, I would love to show Luck some SEC lovin'). That's all assuming that LSU will get past Ole Miss and Arkansas. But for now we've done all we can do. Now we sit back and watch what happens.
Here are some pictures from the trip.