LSU Giveth, But Do They Also Taketh Away?
Alabama LSU 2014
Every Bama fan has endured this greeting on Monday morning following a big Tide victory. A co-worker waits for them at the office door, shaking their head, “Luck!” they say with a forlorn half- grin, “Alabama is the luckiest dang team on earth!” That’s when the Alabama faithful select one of the following phrases to retort their no-doubt jealous frienemies, “I’d rather be lucky than good any day,” or “The harder I work the luckier I get.” If the office is large enough and additional taunting occurs, these phrases may be used alternatingly throughout the day.
When Alabama is in a championship hunt, which is every year in the Saban era, and their fate is not completely in their hands, they find themselves needing a little help from other teams. Help in the form of teams across our great land beating their nemesis teams ahead of the Tide in the rankings. Does it seem like the help Alabama needs always seems to arrive exactly when Alabama needs it? With a narrow loss on the road to then no. 3 ranked Ole Miss, Alabama is looking for some help this year to make it to the playoff.
Only in 2009 did Alabama not require help to make it to the BCS National Championship game where they won the crystal ball by beating Texas, because they had a perfect regular season. That was not the case in two seasons with two November losses, in overtime to no. 1 LSU in 2011 and to the Johnny Manziel led Aggies in 2012. Both years the Crimson Tide put themselves in a situation of looking for a little help and both years Christmas came early for the Bama team, coaches and fans.
Iowa State gave Oklahoma State their first loss, mid-November, 2011, and even though head Coach Mike Gundy informed us, “I am a man, I’m 40,” even he couldn’t help his Cowboys from dropping below the one-loss Tide in the polls. Oregon lost to Southern Cal (same weekend) and Alabama moved back up to no. 2, setting the stage for the no. 1 LSU vs no. 2 Alabama rematch in the Super Dome in New Orleans where The Crimson Tide shut out the Tigers, 21–0, and hoisted their second BCS National Championship trophy in three years. The rematch was the first BCS Championship Game to feature two teams from the same conference (as well as the same division), and was also the first shutout of any BCS bowl game in the BCS’s 14-year history.
A week after the Tide’s defeat at the hands of Texas A&M, Stanford was Alabama’s benefactor when the Cardinal’s win over the Oregon Ducks was exactly what Alabama needed for another trip to the BCS. The Tide triumphed over long-time archenemy, Notre Dame, 42 – 14, in Miami giving Alabama back-to-back National Championship titles and their third BCS Crystal Ball Trophy in four years.
LSU is the first mercenary to boost Alabama ahead of Ole Miss in the AP Ranking by beating the Rebels, (or is it the Bears? Or are they the Landsharks now?) in Death Valley. Auburn is next in line to give Alabama the last bit of relief they need to get back in control of their own destiny. With two losses, to Auburn and LSU, Ole Miss is likely out of the SEC West contest and all the work will be up to the Tide.
Does LSU Taketh Away?
November 8, when the Tide travels into Death Valley, “The Place Where Dreams Go To Die,” the Bayou Bengal Tigers won’t be in any mood to do any more favors for the Tide. Even with losses to Mississippi State and Auburn, it appears the LSU Tigers didn’t get the memo that they are out of the playoff discussion. Maybe that’s because LSU was the first and only two-loss team to play in the BCS National Championship game, where No. 2 LSU defeated No. 1 Ohio State University, 38–24. Maybe it’s because they are the most improved team in the SEC from week one til now. Maybe it’s because their 10 – 7 win over Ole Miss made them the only team to beat one of the two top-ranked undefeated Mississippi teams. There’s something scary going on in Baton Rouge and a swagger to the Bengal Tigers team and head Coach Les Miles. Another Tiger that circles the Tide on their schedule every year and this year may be the toughest game yet.
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PHOTO: LSU Defensive Back Erik Reid intercepts a pass intended for Michael Williams in the fourth quarter. Photo by Kevin C Cox, Getty Images.