SI.com college football writer Stewart Mandel shares his commentary, analysis and random tidbits on the latest developments around the country.
1/07/2008 09:56:00 PM
Halftime: LSU 24, Ohio State 10
LSU QB Matt Flynn (left) played a brilliant first half, throwing a pair of touchdown passes.
Doug Benc/Getty Images
NEW ORLEANS -- The first half of Monday night’s BCS Championship Game was itself a tale of two halves.
Early on, Ohio State looked like the sharper, faster, better-prepared team, starting with Beanie Wells’ 65-yard touchdown dash on the fourth play of the game. Meanwhile, LSU -- the supposed home team -- looked rattled, botching a shotgun snap on third down and settling for a field goal following an apparent botched running play on another third down.
The Buckeyes held a 10-3 lead at the start of the second quarter.
Since then, the game has gone in the complete opposite direction. After finding little success early leaning on RB Jacob Hester, QB Matt Flynn started going to the air and promptly found his receivers and tight ends running wide open against Ohio State’s defense. Flynn has picked the Buckeyes apart, going 11-of-15 for 118 yards and two touchdowns -- including a perfectly placed 10-yard touchdown loft to Brandon LaFell that put the Tigers up 17-10.
Meanwhile, despite getting plenty of protection, Ohio State counterpart Todd Boeckman has struggled, most notably throwing an intercepted deep ball that LSU’s Chevis Jackson returned 34 yards to set up another Tigers touchdown. With LSU doing a better job containing Wells in the second quarter, the Buckeyes’ previously hot offense (147 yards in the first quarter) has gone in the tank, culminating with a monstrous Tyson Jackson sack of Boeckman to squash any hopes of scoring before halftime.
LSU went to the locker room with a comfortable 24-10 lead, having scored touchdowns on three straight second-quarter possessions.
The good news for the Buckeyes is that they’re not completely out of it like they were by halftime of last year’s Florida game. And by no means are they getting dominated at the line of scrimmage like they did in that one. But if they hope to come back, they’re going to need to get Wells (10 carries, 119 yards) going again, as clearly Boeckman is not going to win this game for them. They also need to either get more pressure on Flynn, who’s been near-flawless so far, or tighten up their coverage. If LSU maintains its current lead or builds on it long enough, it will eventually be able to eat up the remaining clock with Hester.
Check back after the game for a complete Inside College Football column.
Game over......... Bottom line it is not the players, it is the coaches. LSU has made the adjustments DURING the game where as OSU (Big Ten) just can not think on their feet. The LSU coaching staff has won this game
thats the thing they are called but other than the roughing the kicker (bad break) what are the calls for? and why doesn't OSU run a middle screen...... LSU with their ears pinned back is a sucker for it
How can any self respecting Big 10 fan say their confernce is not inferior? Yellow flags all over the place, poor discipline for OSU! They might want to consider playing a stronger non-conference schedule. I caanot beleive this team is #1 in defense. How sad for the Big 10! USC would have been a more worthy opponent!
colodiver- if you are talking about the personal foul on the drive restarted by the roughing the kicker call then FOX showed in it once but it was the right call. the lsu offensive lineman was pushing the osu lineman back and then the osu defensive lineman punched the offensive lineman in the mouth right in front of the offical.
The Big 10 is just awful. Why Ohio State gets a free pass for playing in basically the WAC Midwest is beyond me. The fact that their conference commissioner is the biggest obstacle to a playoff just makes this crushing so much sweeter!
But wait, Big Ten fans will start stating that the SEC fans don't listen to any criticism for their conference. SEC 2, Big 10 1 in the bowl match ups. So, objectively speaking, which is the better conference again?
Oh, wait, SEC 7-2 in the bowl games as a whole, can ANY conference compare? That's objectivity. That's pure fact. Not opinion.
Wow, just wow. This isn't as bad a beating as last year, but Ohio State it appears to me has been completely outplayed AGAIN. I'm a Big Ten supporter (a Hawkeye fan) but it's getting to the point where I don't even want a Big Ten team in the BCS title game because I would like to see a good, close, well played game, and it seems like that's not possible with a Big Ten team playing. Sheesh, what a disappointing game.
Congratulations to LSU for a well-played game. When healthy, they look second to none and I have no doubt that they are the best team in college football this year.
That said, I'm also proud of my Buckeyes. They weren't even supposed to be at the top of the Big 10 this year, and frankly their appearance in the NC game was a year early. I'd like to have had a few plays back, but those are the breaks. I'll look forward to seeing most of them come back next year.
Congratulations to Sas and other classy LSU fans. As for some other SEC fans, class is something you can't purchase, and you definitely don't have it. How you accept winning is just as telling as how you accept losing, so if you're going to be a poor sport you might as well try to make new arguments rather than old ones that have been invalidated.
for Larry - It's a bit hard to explain the OSU performance unless you cite the youth factor in too many key positions. But if OSU does not lose too many of those juniors who have applied for an NFL review I agree that next year not only should be better, but we may see OSU return to an elite level.
I'd like to know where I could purhase class. It appears to me that you would have to loose a couple BCS title games to have "class". Larry, I'm sorry if that was rude but I read blogs here all the time and it goes both ways. Big 10 fans are just as rude as SEC fans. At least I can admit that some of us SEC fans have no class when it comes to this blogging business. Try readding some of the big 10 comments sometimes (or should I say Big 1 with Michigan beating up on Florida).
I think so as well. This year LSU was very impressive when healthy, and I have no problems saying they're the better team this year. I think they'd have done pretty much the same thing to anybody, frankly. Man, that roughing the kicker penalty cost us big time. I don't think the final outcome would have been different, but it might have been closer.
As for an earlier post about all the penalties, OSU was VERY uncharacteristic tonight...they usually play really clean ball. I think you just were seeing frustration.
Again, congratulations to LSU. For whatever reason, the OSU/SEC bowl thing seems to continue (we've won in regular season games, by the way) so maybe next year will be the charm! Kudos to Michigan for their win, Wisconsin playing Tennessee real close, etc.
I'll close by saying, as I have a number of times in the past, that the SEC looks to be the deepest conference right now. But the whole speed difference, "no Big 10 team could compete in the SEC" thing, etc. are simply silly and don't hold up to scrutiny, unless you're just plain blind. Congrats to the SEC for a good year, but I'm also looking forward to a good year next in the Big 10.
It's been a great year, all things considered, for us CFB fans. Lots of interesting games, good story lines, topsy turvy rankings, etc. I'd love to see a +1, so maybe next year we'll see that as well.
Finally, once again congratulations to both LSU and OSU on great seasons, and congrats to LSU on winning the national championship.
Let's not get ahead of ourselves. *OSU* beat OSU. A bobbled TD pass, a ridiculous kicker-roughing play (among other stupid personal fouls), and an inexcusably blocked FG. On actual head-to-head play, the teams were close to even. LSU was probably the better squad, but not nearly as lopsided as gloating SEC folks will undoubtedly claim. LSU and OSU now both have 2-game losses this season. Good job tonight, Tigers.
To use this game though - or any individual game - as a verdict on total conference strength is foolish. All the conference smacktalk this season has been self-serving attempts to take credit for other teams' wins when one's own team loses. This season of all seasons, particularly.
I do have to admit that I'm amused to see OSU and UofM fans extending olive branches to one another recently though. Buckeyes rooting for UMich against Fla, Wolverines rooting for OSU vs LSU... Admittedly, I secretly cheered for them vs Fla, although I take no "Big 10 credit" for their victory - it was theirs alone.
When the big bowl games are played on Big 10 home fields, we'll talk post-season rivalries again. Until then, looking forward to our big game in November.
I have no doubt about the lack of class on both sides--I've seen equally stupid comments on both sides. I think if the idiots on both sides would just stop waving 'em around if you know what I mean, and be cordial, we'd actually like each other. Both conferences have some great traditions, great teams, and great fans. We're really close (I think probably still tied in W/L over the last 11-12 years or so still), so I look for that continue.
As for class, all I can control is my own behavior, though, so I'm choosing/hoping/trying to be a good sport about it. And my Buckeyes have nothing to be ashamed about.
SECJake: Thanks for the gracious comment. I too agree that LSU was simply the better team this year, and they beat us fair and square. Congratulations once again to the LSU Tigers!
Well played LSU..Congrats. I also congratulate OSU for a great season. We didn't win it all but we played well for most of the year, beat MIchigan 4 times in a row and one the Big Ten Conference. IU am proud of our guys. At least we did better than last year. Better luck next year.
SickofConferenceSmackTalk, what are you talking about? What do you mean OSU beat OSU? Were they playing themselves tonight? And to say that the teams were close to even is hilarious. Tell me what game were you watching because after the first 8 minutes, I couldn't tell if OSU belonged in this game or not. The score was no indication of how lopsided the game really was.
I don't buy into the conference strength argument either, but the stats do speak for themselves. I have a feeling that we will see a lot of comments providing excuses for OSU. Brace yourselves...
When the big bowl games are played on Big 10 home fields, we'll talk post-season rivalries again.
Let the excuses start pouring in. Would OSU be 8-0 agains the SEC oppose to 0-8 if the bowl games were played in Big 10 country? I'll give credit to OSU for keeping it closer this year though. Maybe next year, OSU will loose by only a touchdown to the next SEC opponent in line.
For Larry, BGault, and all other rational tOSU fans I've interacted with over the course of a very strange (and exciting) season of college football:
(1) LSU won. Better team and better coaching this day.
(2) tOSU has nothing to hang heads about. Not speed, not coaching, not talent or play beyond penalties. As I have posted before, tOSU is a premier program and a very fine team.
(3) Next year, I think tOSU wins it if they keep those players. Look how young they are. Look at their coach . . who could not trust that guy? As with UDub, it is the inexperience of youth . . but think about it . . . those guys now have a NCG experience. They WILL be back . . trust me.
(4) Beanie Wells was everything you said he would be. So was Saine. I'm just glad that the next head coach of the University of Nebraska was on the sidelines tonight to come up with a way to stop them.
(5) This is for you, Larry . . thank you for being a rational poster and good fan of tOSU all season. You restore my faith in humanity for more than your fan loyalty to your team . . . you are obviously a good man.
All that said . . . YESSSSSS!!!!
Third National Championship for the LSU Tigers . . . most ever in BCS . . and . . . .
Geaux Tigres!!! (You had to be here to appreciate the volume of that yell!)
I think he was referring to the uncharacteristic penalties and lack of discipline on OSU's part...admittedly part of the game but REALLY uncharacteristic for OSU. I've watched them all year, and personal fouls, stupid roughing the kicker, etc. are things they just don't do. I don't think the outcome of the game would be different, but it would have been a closer game.
As for the conference strength thing, I think you'll find if you watch the comments from this point on, that the pattern will be 1) SEC bragging, 2) Big 10 defending. Maybe I'm wrong, but that's what it seems to me to be. Check it out from this point on. For example, "stats don't lie"...hopefully we won't start the whole stupid stats thing again, or haven't people had enough of this? I know I have.
I agree with those who say OSU is better than they have shown. Kirk Herbstreit stated after Fla/OSU that a major factor in the outcome was Fla being told it didn't belong. I disagreed then and do more so now. If revenge is a factor that OSU used to its advantage then OSU is much worse than we saw tonight. So what are the possible explanations for the poor showings? This is the second season in a row in which OSU starters spent many of their games sitting on the sidelines not wishing to run up the score. Whereas LSU starters were scrambling for their lives week after week after getting beaten up by Florida. I think strength of schedule is much more of a factor than some credit it to be. With Michigan & Illinois likely to improve, and USC in the mix OSU may be more battle hardened in their bowl game next year, especially if Penn St and Wisc are on the schedule. A battle hardened OSU is more likely to prove to be a wholly different team.
How about trying to see the venue thing from our side and understand that it can indeed be frustrating when so much smack talk about bowl records, conference strength, etc. rides on the outcomes. I think you'd have to be blind to NOT think the location thing was a huge advantage for LSU...but that's the breaks. They didn't plan it out that way, it just happened. I don't think it would have changed the outcome of the game...LSU is clearly (IMO) the best college football team right now and all teams have to be able to play in hostile environments. But you have to admit that playing Florida in Orlando, T A&M in Texas, USC in LA, and LSU in New Orleans can be frustrating when so much smack talk results from the outcomes of the games.
Just so no one thinks the above is an excuse, let me say it again...I don't think the final outcome of this game would have been different if it had been played on neutral soil...LSU was the better team. But understand it can be very frustrating.
Thanks for the nice comment, and back at you. Congratulations to you and the Tigers! I wish I'd seen more of Dorsey, although he clearly made his presence known. He sure moves good for someone so big, and based on what the commentators were saying he's a really nice guy as well...seemed so in the post-game interview.
And I heard your yell up here in Columbus, by the way! :)
To the few rational SEC fans out there, and specifically the LSU fans --- congratulations...the better team won today. I said earlier this year that I thought LSU was the better team, and they came through today.
I'm somewhat perplexed why Jim Tressel was inexplicably outcoached in his second national championship game...and I'm beginning to wonder if it isn't the assistants...after all, the Buckeyes didn't seem to make any adjustments in game, whereas LSU certainly did after falling down 10-0.
And I'm disappointed at the numerous stupid, self control related personal fouls the Buckeyes incurred. Hopefully, the showing of the Buckeyes will prove (along with the UM game) that the Big Ten is not the inferior confernce that everyone makes it out to be, and that all things being equal...an objective observer would see that the teams were fairly evenly matched.
All that being said, I reiterate that the better team won, and congratulate the LSU Tigers on their NC.
Once again I agree with you on the Big 10 being more competitive next year. I think Illinois is going to be tough, Wisc and Penn State should be in there, Michigan will be there, maybe even Purdue! :)
How does the SEC look next year? Georgia, Florida are both going to be dynamite, but I don't know enough about the other teams. Tennessee? Seems like LSU loses a good number of seniors but no doubt they're deep so they'll be in too probably.
All right sports fans, I have to run, but one last time, congratulations to the Louisiana State University Tigers and their fans for a great win, and congrats to so many good teams (LSU, OSU, Georgia, WVU, Missouri, Kansas, etc.) out there for a great year!
I understand your frustration. I really do. But I was just responding to a comment made by another person about playing bowl games in Big 10 country. The likelyhood of that happening is as possible as Div 1-a addapting the playoffs.
Ryan: Seriously, you don't believe there's such a thing as a home-field advantage? At all? Not even a minor factor? If you want to drag your teams up to play in the snow in a sea of Big 10 fans, have at it...
Although the gators got spanked in ORLANDO, I'd still have to say that overall, there is definately an advantage on playing close to home. I was just trying to make a point about OSU being 0-8 agains the SEC oppose to possibly 8-0 if games were played in Big 10 country.
Hey Stew, in a your previous post you mentioned the lack of LSU fans on Bourbon Street, suggesting that maybe they drove in the morning of the game. Not necessarily. People who know New Orleans avoid Bourbon Street. Most of the LSU fans do or have lived nearby. Why hang out at the tourist trap?
I was just checking to see if another blog had come up...went to the Fannation blog but it was already out of control with idiots, so wanted to leave one last one here since I do indeed have to get some sleep before teaching my big class of understandably dejected but still smart and engaged OSU students tomorrow morning...
To Sas, Charles, BGault and the other rational bloggers who've been on here all season, I wanted to let you know I enjoyed your comments (even when they were, inexplicably, different from what I was thinking) :). I might catch you on the "fallout" blogs but if not, have a great 2008 and I'm sure it'll seem like no time before we're blogging about CFB again! It's been an interesting year, that's for sure!
First off, congratulations to LSU and its fans and the NC they earned tonight.
"Whereas LSU starters were scrambling for their lives week after week after getting beaten up by Florida. I think strength of schedule is much more of a factor than some credit it to be."
I am a Bucks fan that currently lives in Atlanta. Given that I don't have the B10 channel I saw LSU play more than OSU this year. While a number of others saw LSU scraping by Saturday after Saturday as a weakness I thought it showed how good they were given the injuries and believed it would be the deciding factor if the game were close late. That didn't come to pass but I would guess that it played a role early, allowing them to keep their composure when things started off poorly for them.
Just curious if some of you Big10 guys think that a conference championship game might help yall do better in the BCS bowls. It would certainly earn yall some respect, same goes for the PAC 10. Alot of times the SEC eats their own, first during the course of conference play, then the conference championship game, but if you make it out of the gauntlet alive....last years National Champs, the Gators, and this years National Champions, the LSU TIGERS!!, provide fairly compelling proof of what benefits that system provides.
"I'm somewhat perplexed why Jim Tressel was inexplicably outcoached in his second national championship game...and I'm beginning to wonder if it isn't the assistants...after all, the Buckeyes didn't seem to make any adjustments in game, whereas LSU certainly did after falling down 10-0."
As mentioned in my previous post I don't see the Bucks much. But I have seen the Florida, Illinois and LSU games and the one pattern that I see is this coaching staff does not adjust well when losing. The whole staff has to take the blame on that, including the head coach.
I started coming to this opinion after the Illinois game and basically for the reason that Charles essentially alluded to above - what they are doing works easily against most teams. They also get away with stuff that doesn't fly against equal or better competition.
That said, I'm not sure Urban Meyer outcoached Tressel last year. He really didn't have to make any adjustments - LOL.
For anyone to criticize SEC fans or posters here on their lack of class is shocking. After the Big 11 Commissioner's totally classless OFFICAL remarks concerning conference "smack talk", it would be wise to remain silent before casting those stones.
Well, the game I saw - in light of my non-biased opinion was that OSU and LSU were pretty comparable teams on the talent scale. I can not say that with any other BCS games except UofM and FLA. Anyway, the game was won because LSU converted on OSU's mistakes. The one mistake that LSU made was converted. The biggest difference between OSU and LSU was experience. OSU made freshman and sophomoric mistakes (even a junior one, LOL). There was no SEC dominance in the bowl games except at Georgia and UH....
Anyway, is next year going to be better for the OSU? The team will be stronger and better, but they may not make it back to an NCG as other teams will be stronger, too. I will predict that the SEC will whinge about how tough their conference is and by right they should have an automatic bid into the BCS NCG. We should all pack up our pigskins, leather basketballs, baseballs, bats, and surrender to the brilliance and utter dominance of a great conference like the SEC. Can we get more coaches from the SEC to go around the country and make a more balanced nation for athletics? It is really too bad that Ohio has produced the best coaches in the SEC and Ohio should do something to stop producing great football players and coaches.
On January 7, 2008, the LSU Tigers defeated the OSU Buckeyes on the gridiron. Drawing larger conclusions from this fact is folly and should be acknowledged as such.
The Buckeyes are not slow. They successfully recruit top talent from across the nation, including the south - hotbed of talent and source of the SEC's power. If you're objective, you'll conclude that the rest of the Big 10 has their share of speed, power, and talent.
The Buckeyes are 0 - 9 in bowl games against SEC opponents. The Big 10 is not. Jim Tressel did not coach the Buckeyes in all nine of those losses.
Tressel has performed admirably at the helm of OSU's program. If indeed Tressel's staff was out coached in the 2008 NC game, it does not erase an enviable record of success. A number of schools would love to have "The Vested One" leading their programs.
The Big 10 isn't. After adding Penn State, they became the Obese 11. The conference leadership deserves all of the Spinal Tap jokes thrown at it (The Big 10 Network launch may remind one of the Spinal Tap in-store appearance, but somehow, I don't see Jim Delaney bending over like Paul Shaffer and inviting fans to kick his ass). The teams of the member institutions shouldn't bear the brunt of this humor. Go ahead. Sing 'On Wisconsin!' at the top of your lungs (or your school's fight song). The schools' identities and traditions supersede the conference. This is true everywhere.
The SEC fields some powerful teams. Since the turn of the century, LSU has risen to the ranks of the SEC's elite programs. The Tigers have won the majority of their games. They have won conference championships, and for the second time, they've been crowned national champions. Begrudgingly, or with a joyous heart, one must admire their success and accomplishments. My congratulations to the players and their coaches. Glory to the Tigers of Baton Rouge!
The season has ended, and for college football fans everywhere (Yes, including Baylor, Duke, and Vanderbilt) hope springs eternal for next Fall. We’ll see you in September!
Although I am from Louisiana and of course am thrilled with the outcome of the NC game I must say that I have a lot of respect for the OS fans that traveled to see the game. They all conducted themselves with class even in defeat.......OS has a good young team and I'm sure they will leave their mark in the near future.