It was a performance for the ages, and LSU’s microscopic offensive numbers bore out Alabama’s defensive dominance in the BcS title game.
Zero points. A miserly 1.4 yards per carry, and just 3.1 yards per pass attempt. Converted just two first downs in 12 third-down attempts. Four plays ran in Alabama territory, none until the fourth quarter and all coming on one drive. Five first downs. 92 yards of total offense. In every fashion imaginable, it was the Tide sawing on a Stradivarius while the Tigers plucked aimlessly on a stringless banjo.
Those numbers weren’t enough, though, to dissuade one coach from playing the what-if game.
Speaking to USA Today shortly after the Tide’s 21-0 thumping of the Tigers, Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy lamented the fact that his Cowboys, which finished third in both the major polls, didn’t get the opportunity to do what LSU couldn’t — put some crooked numbers up on the scoreboard. And, according to Gundy, they would’ve done it by doing what they do best.
Fling footballs all over the field and see what sticks.
“We’d have thrown it 50 times,” he said. “You like to think Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon could have put together some touchdowns. Get the ball thrown down the field and open some things up. Try to make it exciting, and see what happens.”
“You sure would like to have had a shot at it,” Gundy said.
“It kind of hurts to watch it. I just think we could score. We’d use all 52 yards across (the width of) the field. Get people on the edges. Use the vertical game.”
“For the most part in the last couple of years, we’ve been able to move the ball and score points against about anybody we played. … It’s been talked about all year from coast to coast: Big 12 offenses, SEC defenses, how do we really know if anybody’s really any good? That (a showdown in the BCS title game) would have been the best way to find out.”
“I will say this,” Mike Gundy said as Alabama closed in on Monday night’s 21-0 win against LSU. “I bet you there’ll be a lot of people wish they’d given us a shot to see a different kind of game.”
Granted, there were certainly a lot people who may have preferred a different style of game, as the 14-percent dip in overnight ratings from last year’s Auburn-Oregon title game attests. There are, however, a couple of teeny tiny flaws in Gundy’s logic.
First, the Cowboys would not have been facing the Tide, they would’ve been facing the Tigers. LSU was the unquestioned No. 1 while the Tide squeaked into the title game by the narrowest of margins over the Cowboys. Whether the Cowboys could’ve put scored X number of points by throwing it 50 or 100 points against the Tide simply doesn’t matter.
And secondly, they did have a shot at it…
Given the current system — as inherently flawed and bogus and exclusionary as it is — taking care of business against a team that finished the season 6-7 would not leave the door wide open for the lamenting that’s taking place after the fact. Gundy has no one to blame but himself, his coaching staff and his players.
And, yes, the system that instead of leaning toward equity runs like hell away from it should shoulder some blame as well. Alas, that’s another story for another day, a discussion that’s hopefully coming sooner rather than later.
In the interim, at least one member of the 2011 BcS champions would have no problem taking the situation to the playing field and settling whatever issues Oklahoma State may have with how the season ended.
“I could play them right now,” Tide offensive tackle Barrett Jones said after the win Monday night. “You don’t think we hear that talk? Line up, let’s go.”