Monday, January 07, 2008

Dumbass vs. Douchebag: Who Ya Got?

After months of exciting and often times unbelievable college football action, we'll finally reach the conclusion of the most talked about college football season of all time tonight in New Orleans. The night of the national championship game is a bittersweet time for football fans. It signals the end of the emotion, pageantry and drama of college football for nearly 3/4 of a year while also supplying fans with the penultimate event in the sport (most of the time). This evening has been one of tremendous excitement and emotion for me for each of the past two seasons. Just two years ago, I sat on my couch slack jawed as I watched one of the greatest contests in all my years of watching college football sway back and forth between Texas and USC. It was one of those rare games that you can't bear to take your eyes off of, so great was the level of play and magnitude of the moment in the Rose Bowl that evening.

As if that game wasn't enough, last year's game featured my alma mater taking on the already annointed best team in the nation, The Ohio State University. I'm sure you saw the game and I'm sure I don't have to tell you it didn't come within miles of the drama that Young, Leinart and Co. supplied us with the year before. However, it did end up going down, as I told my girlfriend midway thru the 3rd quarter, as one of the "greatest nights of my life". This was no exaggeration on my part. After living in Gainesville through the majority of the Zook Era (shudders), this trouncing of the Buckeyes was, at once, satisfying, envigorating and even a little surreal. The teams whom I root for have had a tremendous run of championship success over the past two years but none of those championships came close to supplying the feelings of satisfaction and contentment that last year's demolition of Ohio State did.

So, why am I mentioning all this? Well, its probably because I'm not nearly as excited about this year's championship matchup as either of the last two years' and, frankly, I don't think I'm alone here. While tonight's game doesn't have the same cache as either of the past two games it is still the appointed National Championship game and I'll still be watching, as I'm sure most of you will too. So where does that leave me? At prediction time. Here's how it breaks down in my mind:

LSU is the most talented team in the country. I've maintained that since the beginning of the year, but I have also maintained that they are among the dumbest and most undisciplined teams in the country as well. I blame much of this on a head coach who I see as neither very smart or an exceptional game planner. Les Miles has had a number of very questionable decisions go his way in big situations this year and its saved him from being skewered by national and local media. Well, tonight the bloom comes off of Les Miles' rose. Ohio State, while far less talented than LSU, will come into tonight ready to redeem themselves after a year's worth of doubt from all corners of the sports media world and they'll be sharp on both sides of the ball. I think we're in for a close game tonight. A close game that will swing towards OSU because LSU will have too many dumb penalties (delay of game, false starts, illegal substitutions) and a few too may turnovers. The SEC has known Les Miles is overrated and often times overmatched as a big time Head Coach and tonight the rest of the country will as well.

OSU 28, LSU 24.