Originally posted on Crystal Ball Run  |  Last updated 11/6/11

NEW ORLEANS - JANUARY 02: Kick returner Javier Arenas #28 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates with head coach Nick Saban after Arenas scored on a 73-yard punt return in the second quarter against the Utah Utes during the 75th Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome on January 2, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

(Editor's note: Previously in our LSU-Bama recaps, we looked at the game's biggest surprises. Now, we turn to the coaching match-up.)

Was Nick Saban out-coached in this game?

Regie Eller: This was obvious to me – and I am a big Nick Saban guy. That speed option that LSU runs? Yeah, that thing is pitiful and Alabama could not adjust well enough in my eyes. With all the talent Alabama has on the defensive side of the ball, I would have expected some adjustment.

When Alabama split out Trent Richardson, the Tide had much success. I do not understand why they did not do more of it. Lets be real – Trent Richardson versus any linebacker in coverage? Trent Richardson wins that everytime.

Kevin McGuire: There were some questionable decisions made in this game by Saban. Going for a 52-yard field goal on a night when your kicking game clearly is struggling and having Maze back to return a punt when his ankle is causing some problems are the two that stand out to me. I don't think I'd go so far as to say Saban was out-coached in this game, because it still went to overtime and his special teams failed him more than anything else with missed field goals, but there were few moments Saturday night where I saw a play by Alabama and thought, "That is such a smart decision by Saban."

Tom Perry: No. It wasn't his fault that his team didn't execute. It's not his fault that tight end Michael Williams couldn't hold onto the ball at the 1-yard line and allowed Eric Reid to rip it away (however I question this call). It's not his fault his kickers can't make a field goal, even though a couple were probably long shots anyway. I'm sure there are areas that Saban agrees he could have done better on last night, but Les Miles didn't out-coach him. However, Miles did another masterful job, and anyone who doubts his coaching ability hasn't watched this LSU team in 2011.

Allen Kenney: No, I don't really think so. The trick play resulting in the interception was an odd call, obviously, but, to me, that doesn't really mean he was out-coached. The missed field goals were attempted on fourth-and-long each time. Some points got left on the field, but I don't put that on Saban.

If anything, I thought both coaches played too close to the vest.

Aaron Torres: I'd say so. I'm no football expert (just a fan), but it seemed to me like LSU continued to expand and adjust and tweak its game plan, while Alabama sat on its hands. The Tide thought they could get through on pure grit, tough defense and a lot of Trent Richardson. Obviously, it didn't work.

Not to mention that in the crucial moments, Saban did have some bone-headed decisions. I wasn't crazy about the Maze pass, and I definitely wasn't crazy about McCarron taking a sack on 3rd-and-15 in overtime. I know Saban was terrified to line up for another field goal, but even if you are going to pass, you just cannot let your quarterback take a sack there. Throw the ball out of bounds. Dump it off to your check down guy. Whatever, but you cannot take a sack. Yes, a lot of that falls on McCarron's shoulders, but that needed to be told, repeatedly, relentlessly to the quarterback there.

Michael Felder: Saban was more unlucky than out-coached in my opinion. Unlucky that his kicker Cade Foster couldn't hit three of the field goals he sent him out there to convert. Unlucky that Marquis Maze couldn't put a little more zip on that pass to get the Tide a touchdown, which ultimately resulted in an interception.

Look at the facts, since 2008 when 'Bama started its return to dominance, the Tide have lost five SEC games to this point – five in three-plus seasons: Florida in 2008; South Carolina, LSU and Auburn in 2010; and LSU in 2011. Outside of Spurrier's win a season ago there is one thing all five victorious teams have in common, a quarterback capable of making Saban's defense play 11-man football. A guy who can run and pass. That keeps the defense honest. That was Jordan Jefferson, again, and ultimately the option and him finding a few receivers downfield is what did Alabama in.

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