January 09, 2008

BCS Championship game: In Pictures

In a season that seemed to make little sense, it seemed only fitting that a two-loss team would win the national championship. Hell, why not? Just like everything else in this four-month stretch of pigskin madness, we weren't supposed to make sense of it. But in the end, it all added up for LSU.

Here's a photo montage of the 38-24 victory over Ohio State that gave the Tigers another national title flag to run up the flag pole.

(Though showing its age a little bit, the Grand Ole Lady on the River was all gussied up to host another big game in the Big Easy.)

(You sure you want first row, 50-yard line seats? One of the big complaints I've always had of the Superdome's layout is the fact that the stands are so far away from the field. For tonight's game, there were rows of temporary seats laid down on the floor for a bunch of bands and officials to sit in. Given that the teams will be standing in front of them, it made these seats useless to watch the game in.)

(Brutus the Buckeye gets a photo op with a purple-clad LSU fan. He's got all the luck I tell ya'.)

(Archie Manning stalks the sidelines before the game. And it also appears as if he has grown a second head on his shoulders. Eerie.)

(The Buckeyes gather in the end zone after their pre-game warm-ups. Their helmets resembling a bunch of giant bouncing bee-bees.)

(What would an LSU game be without the Golden Girls doing their thing? They always enhance the atmosphere of game day for Tiger fans.)

(Beanie Wells gets some props as he walks to the sidelines after busting a long touchdown run and giving OSU a quick 7-0 lead. Craig Steltz busted a read on the play and that allowed Wells to run 60-plus yards for first points of the game.)

(The Buckeye cheerleaders pair up and do some kind of booty bumping thing after a touchdown. Later on in their lives, we're going to show their children video clips of this.)

(Early in the game the Buckeye O-line gave Todd Boeckman good protection, helping lead OSU to a 10-0 lead after just nine offensive plays.)

(One of the biggest Buckeye faux pas in the game came when Austin Spitler roughed LSU punter Patrick Fisher. This allowed LSU to maintain its opening drive of the second half, essentially putting the game away a few plays later with a TD pass from Matt Flynn to Early Doucet, giving LSU a 31-10 lead.)

(In the end, the LSU O-line deserved to celebrate, being the main difference in the game, knocking back the talented Buckeye D-line for most of the game.)

(ESPN's Shelley Smith is in the starting blocks, about to rush the field for interviews after the final gun goes off. Hi Shelley.)

(Long time LSU assistant coach/recruiting coordinator/administrator Sam Nadar gets a photo op with a few fans holding one of those pre-printed "LSU wins" newspapers.)

(After I took this picture of James Laurinaitis I realized "Oops, he doesn't look like he wants his picture taken." Luckily I got away without him putting me in some kind of wrestling submission hold.)

(Apparenlty LSU hoss lineman Carnell Stewart decided to field post-game questions by literally sitting on the field.)

(You gotta dig Ali HIghsmith's post-season beard. It's as if Barry White himself came back and put on an LSU uniform.)

(Have you guys noticed how the coach that wins the title game is instantly outfitted with a black leather jacket with the school name embossed on it? Urban Meyer wore one last year on the post-game podium as well. Is this in their contract or something? Because it sure wasn't cold enough for a heavy leather jacket after the game was over.)

(Yes, the horribly contrived confetti shower begins automatically once the trophy is given to the head coach. Won't someone please make this stop?)

(Not surprisingly, Coach Tressel wasn't in the mood to answer more questions about his team coming up short on the game's biggest stage.)

(The biggest disappointment of the the whole BCS title game experience was the fact that the OSU punk band The Bastard Sons of Woody Hayes - formerly known as the Dead Schembechlers - didn't make the trip down to New Orleans and play at Tipitina's. I dig those guys.)

January 08, 2008

BCS Championship Game: LSU 38 - OSU 24.

NEW ORLEANS, La.-- In a season that made no sense, it makes a lot of sense that 12-2 LSU climbs back to be the kings of the college football world after tonight's 38-24 win over Ohio State.

They weren't the best team all season, they didn't dominate anyone past week two, they may not have even been the best two-loss team. But just like they did all season long, they won when they had to. And tonight they won impressively with a total team effort. No stars. No dominant stats. Just a team victory through and through.

(Richard Dickson, seemingly open all night, scored the final touchdown for LSU on a 15-yard catch with 3:53 left.)

(LSU's only point of embarrassment came when its kicker - Sean Gaudet - attempted to make a tackle on the final kickoff and got injured. Nothing's worse than a kicker that gets hurt on one of his only five plays of the night.)

(LSU players - like this clean-uniformed scrub - started displaying "LSU No. 1" newspapers as the clock wound down. I always thought this was one of the more contrived things about championship games.)

(Glen Dorsey gets a post-game interview from another blonde bombshell sideline reporter.)

(Matt Flynn, the Offensive Player of the Game, displays the fruits of championship crystal.)

(D-Tackle Ricky Jean-Francois, who didn't play this season until the SEC Championship game, got voted the Defensive Player of the Game.)

(The two leading tacklers of the game, LSU's Ali Highsmith and OSU's James Laurinaitis, gave each other props in the post-game melee. Because LSU's total team effort, I actually thought that Laurinaitis should've been named the Defensive Player of the Game with his 18 tackles... which seemed more like 30 to me.)

BCS Championship Game: It's LSU!

NEW ORLEANS, La.-- The Tigers hold off Ohio State and complete the win for their second BCS championship in five years with the 38-24 win.

Congrats Tigers.

More to follow.

January 07, 2008

BCS Championship Game: Highsmith Hijacking

NEW ORLEANS, La.-- On 4th and 8, Todd Boeckman got this rude awakening from LSU's Ali Highsmith:
(Ali Highsmith says "hi" to Boeckman to provide the biggest play of the game so far)

With just over nine minutes remaining, OSU better come up with some big time magic.

LSU has just stayed within itself and relied on its defense, which has made some big plays to make the difference in this game.

I'm about to go down for what should be a purple and gold celebration... unless that magic thing works out for the Bucks.

BCS Championship Game: LSU takes lead into 4th

NEW ORLEANS, La.-- LSU should be careful. Despite my previous post, this game is NOT over.

And I'll give block of granite James Laurinaitis a whole mess of credit. Right before Malcom Jenkins' interception, when Fox was taking another 10-minute commercial block, he went up to each and every defender, patted them on the helmet and tried to light a fire under their ass:

(Laurinaitis has been all over the field tonight, including in his teammates heads)

Next play, boom! Jenkins pick leads to Brian Robiskie's 4-yard touchdown catch.

It's now 31-17, but OSU just stopped the Tigers again and have a chance to make this a game again.

BCS Championship Game: OSU decides to shoot its foot again

NEW ORLEANS, La.-- Ballgame?

Well mark this play down for sure, OSU's Austin Spitler committed the mortal sin of roughing the kicker after the Buckeyes had stoned LSU on its first drive of the second half:
(This roughing of LSU's Patrick Fisher may have been the turning point)

After that, another personal foul penalty moved LSU into scoring range and Early Doucet caught a 4-yard pass from Matt Flynn to put LSU up 31-10.

At the half you could just FEEL the wind coming out of the Buckeye fans that were walking around the concourse with frustrated looks on their faces. I had a feeling if LSU scored on its opening possession of the second half, it could be all over. Well, here we are...

(oh, sorry for no halftime updates. See the Superdome only has a few outlets to charge your computer and mine was nearly on the blink. So I plugged it into a bathroom outlet during the break. No, I'm not kidding)

BCS Championship Game: LSU lookin' good, OSU not so.

NEW ORLEANS, La.-- Another pick, another touchdown for LSU. The purple and gold are now up 24-10 with just under a minute to go before halftime.

This time it was Jacob Hester cramming himself across the goal line, as you can see from this pile of humanity and LSU's players celebrations:
(it wasn't pretty, but Hester TDs never are)

OSU seems to be the one shooting themselves in the foot now with dumb penalties and a pair of crushing interceptions. Look for Bo Pelini to pin his D-boys ears back and get after Boeckman big time now.

BCS Championship Game: Jean-Francois blocks, LaFell converts

NEW ORLEANS, La.-- The Tigers didn't need any help that time.

After Ricky Jean-Francois blocked Ryan Pretorious' 38-yard field goal attempt, LSU drove the length of the field to take a 17-10 lead. Ole "Mo" is wearing Tiger white now.

The Drive:
10 plays, 66 yards
10-yard pass from Flynn to Brandon LaFell

Since the first two drives, LSU has figured out the Buckeye D and moved seamlessly down the field to take the 7-point lead. And LaFell, who has had a case of butter-fingers this season, held on to the pass this time.

BCS Championship Game: Okay, that was easy too

NEW ORLEANS, La.-- Slicker than a mayonaisse sandwich, LSU goes 84 yards to the tying score, a 14-yard touchdown from Matt Flynn to Richard Dickson. Tigers made it look easy. OSU helped them out with a pair of 15-yard penalties.

Usually it has been LSU guilty of penalties left and right as the Tigers are the second-most penalized team in Division I.

Whole new ballgame now. The early jitters for LSU appear to be over.

BCS Championship Game: End of one, 10-3 OSU

NEW ORLEANS, La.-- It's the end of one. Surprised?

I have to admit, I'm not too shocked yet. Judging by how the Big 10 has done vs. the SEC in bowl games so far, Wisconsin nearly beating Tennessee and Michigan beating Florida, this is only a mild surprise.

Strange stat. That fumbled punt return by LSU is the 17th fumble the Tigers have committed this year, but have still only lost three all season. Three! Wow.

The matchup with Laurinaitis and Hester has been a beauty so far. And it seems like Laurinaitis has been in on every tackle for the Bucks. LSU has been a little predictabale with Hester so far. Then again, it hasn't hurt them either.

total yards:
OSU- 127
LSU- 57

BCS Championship Game: Okay, that's 10 points in 9 plays

NEW ORLEANS, La.-- Ryan Pretorious puts OSU up 10-0 with just under six minutes gone in the game. The Bucks have run a total of nine offensive plays so far.


And give an "atta-boy" to OSU kick-off man Aaron Pettrey who has kept Trindon Holliday and Keiland Williams from returning any kickoffs. That's a valuable weapon.

BCS Championship Game: Beanie Bounds, OSU up quick

NEW ORLEANS, La.-- Okay, that was fast.

(Beanie Wells getting congratulated in the end zone)

... then again, I remember seeing Ted Ginn score fast on Florida last year too. So let's not jump to conclusions here.

(then again, part II... OSU didn't stop Florida on a three-and-out last year immediately afterward either)

BCS Championship Game: The best national anthem performance since Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock

NEW ORLEANS, La.-- I'm sure you at home saw it, but the Preservation Hall Jazz Band performed the national anthem tonight.

That's pretty cool.

And didn't the singer look like Dickie Barrett of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones?

BCS Championship Game: Two best traditions in college football.

NEW ORLEANS, La.-- The two best band traditions in the country... easily. The script "Ohio": (though they should have done one big Ohio instead of two small ones.)

... and the hotness that is the LSU Golden Girls:

By the way, they just introduced the president of the BSC and the president of Allstate Insurance. (Inject sound effect of crickets chirping here).

Then they introduced the president of Ohio State and the president of LSU to thunderous applause.

Considering Katrina's plentiful victims, you can understand the silence for Allstate. And considering the plentiful victims of college football's post-season, ditto for the pres of the BCS.

15 minutes before kickoff.

BCS Championship Game: Already loud, 60 minutes before kickoff

NEW ORLEANS, La.-- Just as Ohio State was gathering at midfield and jumping up and down like a bunch of silver bee-bees:

... LSU's remaining linemen and linebackers came storming out of the tunnel. So both fan bases were going nuts and the sound level was at near Who-concert loud. And that was with half the crowd still being patted down outside.

(Oh, in case I didn't tell you, yes, you had to be patted down by security to get into the Superdome. And no, my security guard wasn't a beautiful girl patting me down)

BCS Championship Game: 10 Reasons Fox Shouldn't Broadcast Bowl Games

NEW ORLEANS, La. -- Here's 10 reasons why Fox shouldn't be broadcasting bowl games... or college football in general:

1- Who are all these NFL guys trying to talk college football?
In the BCS Selection Show we were subjected to Jimmy Johnson, Barry Switzer and Fox talking head Chris Rose. These guys know nothing about college ball... at least not during the course of THIS season.
2- Fox is sensationalist journalism.
Did you notice that the announcement show started at 10 before the hour, but the actual unveiling of the title game opponents didn't happen until over 35 minutes later.
3- Watching Barry Switzer and Jimmy Johnson playing journalist and conducting interviews is just plain painful.
4- This network obviously isn't used to working college games. That's why we got phrases like Jimmy Johnson saying "you have to think these two are probably two of the best in the country" and whoever was announcing the Sugar Bowl blurted this gem: "First down Gators" when Georgia was about to snap the ball vs. Hawaii.
5- "The Bowl Bash on Fox"? That kind of name for the BCS bowls is soooooo freakin' high school sounding.
6- They are pulling that damn pro football thing where after a touchdown, there are a block of four commercials, then they come back for kickoff, then there is another block of four commercials. Make it stop!
7- Speaking of long commercial breaks, what's the average length of these damn BCS games, 4 hours, 15 minutes or so?
8- Waaaaaaay too many FOX programming promos. I can only see the trailer to Prison Break so many times.
9- The Sugar Bowl halftime feature about the 1951 Univ. of San Francisco team was the worst I've ever seen. They never gave the teams won-loss mark, the teams they beat and - most egregiously - they didn't name the bowl that wouldn't allow the team to play in their game unless they kept their two black players at home. HORRRRRRIBLE!!
10- Chris Meyers as the sideline reporter? Puh-leeeeze give me back my Erin Andrews.

BCS Championship Game: Two quick "Did You Knows"

NEW ORLEANS, La.-- Bet you didn't know that LSU won the Boxing national championship in 1949:

... and since the NCAA doesn't sponsor the Division I post-season, beer is able to be sold at bowl games:

It's an hour twenty before kickoff and LSU's special teams guys just entered the playing field to a rousing applause by their fans.

BCS Championship Game: What OSU is trying to avoid


Last year, at the BCS title game in Glendale, I was walking around the stadium about two hours after the game was over and came upon four or five of these t-shirts left behind on seat backs in the Ohio State cheering section:

I'm sure their fans are hoping not to repeat the mistake of making a shirt like this for this year's game. Or better yet, winning the game so that a shirt like this won't hurt any longer. That's part of what I think will motivate this OSU squad to have a better showing.

It's about six hours before game time and as I write this the Ohio State band is practicing their script "Ohio" on the field. The Superdome peeps are also firing off some of the pyrotechnics to practice for the pre-game and halftime show.

More later.

January 06, 2008

BCS Championship Game: The Day Before Preview


It's the vest...

Versus the hat...

This is like a science experiment. What happens when you combine a a group of 18-22 year olds, 364 days of long memories and a whole state-full of pressure?

That's what Jim Tressel and his Ohio State Buckeyes face on Monday night in what will be a de facto home game for LSU in the Superdome.

Continue reading "BCS Championship Game: The Day Before Preview" »


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