Originally posted on Crystal Ball Run  |  Last updated 1/10/12



When the final whistle blew back on November 5 ending the first LSU-Alabama showdown, I couldn’t help but get one nauseating, gut-wrenching, pit out of my stomach. No, it had nothing to do with the Mexican food I'd eaten earlier that night, but instead was the idea that I’d seen the best team in college football that night… and seen them lose. Above all, I couldn’t shake the idea that Alabama was the best team in college football, and that in all likelihood, the best team in college football wouldn’t get a chance to play for a National Championship.

Well, in the end, Alabama did get that chance to play for a National Championship Monday night, and in the second time go-around against LSU, they left nothing to chance. In one of the most statistically dominating wins in recent college football history, the Tide rolled LSU 21-0, in a game that was nowhere near as close as the final score might indicate. In the process, the school won their second BCS title in three years, and Nick Saban became the first head coach to take home three.

They also left little doubt who was the No. 1 team in college football. After weeks of talk of a potential split National Championship, Alabama went ahead and ripped the crown of “college football’s top team off LSU’s head.” It really wasn’t just that they won, but how they did it.

First there are the statistics, and even after some time to digest them, they’re still kind of hard to comprehend. Alabama held LSU- a team which went undefeated and beat four teams with at least 10 wins during their SEC Championship run- to an almost unconscionable 93 yards of total offense, and just five first downs. They also held a rushing attack that averaged 215 yards per game on the ground to just 39 total for the entire game, and held a team that averaged over 38 points per game to zero.

But really, to speak about the defensive dominance in raw numbers would be to take away how dominant Alabama just looked against LSU.

Simply put, from the opening whistle the Tigers didn’t have an answer for anything Alabama did, and none of that changed as the game went on. The speed option with which the Tigers had so much success with in the first game was repeatedly sniffed out by the Crimson Tide’s front seven, including a number of big plays from Defensive MVP Courtney Upshaw. In addition, the LSU’s passing game was simply non-effective and for of the game non-existent. Of the Tigers meak 53 yards passing, 18 of them (about 40 percent) came on one catch by Odell Beckham early in the third quarter.

Offensively, it’s safe to say that the story of the game was about two players: quarterback A.J. McCarron and kicker Jeremy Shelley.

Starting with McCarron, for as poorly as LSU played offensively, McCarron was just that good. The semi-maligned quarterback entered this game with many wondering if he could handle the heat of LSU’s passing attack, but left the game as an Alabama folk hero. He finished with 234 yards total on 23 of 34 passing, including a handful of beautiful touch passes to little used wide receiver Kevin Kirkwood and tight end Brad Smelley, who combined for 11 grabs.

Of course McCarron also struggled putting the ball in the end zone, which is where Shelley came in. The goat on November 5 was basically the hero of the second match-up, making five of seven field goal attempts to accumulate 15 of the Tide’s 21 points. Trent Richardson had a final touchdown score to cap things off.

As we start to wrap up, there’s no way we can do so without talking a little bit about Nick Saban. The greatest coach of the modern era threw his hat into the discussion one of the “greatest of all-time” with the win. In victory Saban became the first coach in the modern BCS era to win three National Championships, surpassing Urban Meyer, who had two Tebow-fueled title runs of his own.

Above all, this win just vindicated what we already knew: The best football is played in the SEC, and the best SEC football is played in Alabama. The win for the Crimson Tide was the sixth straight taken home by a conference member, and the third straight from a team the Yellowhammer State.

What’s even scarier is that for college football fans sick of the SEC, there’s no reason to think it’ll stop. No less than four teams (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, LSU) are expected to start next year in the Top 10, with the Tigers, along with USC as early favorites to take home the 2012 title. In some places (especially Baton Rouge) the “Drive for No. 7” has already started.

But in Tuscaloosa, that’ll wait at least one more night.

The best team in college football took home the title Monday night.

The Alabama Crimson Tide are National Champions.

For all his college football opinions, insights and other articles, follow on Twitter @Aaron_Torres.

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