NEW ORLEANS — Be careful when you give someone a rematch. The motivation of the agony of defeat can make a huge difference.
We saw it when Muhammad Ali defeated Joe Frazier in the rematch. We saw it when the New York Giants shocked the previously unbeaten New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.
Monday night we saw it again.
Nobody plays defense like Alabama — they are big, talented, physical, and well coached. Monday night they took advantage of 44 days of prep time and shut down 13-0 number-one LSU 21-0 to grab the BCS National Championship in prime time.
It was no contest. Alabama lost the regular season game 9-6 to LSU in overtime at Alabama. But Alabama got the rematch, and boy did they take advantage of it.
It’s the sixth straight year that the BCS National Champion is from the Southeastern Conference. It’s also the first time in 14 years of the BCS era that there was a shutout in the National Championship game.
Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban is the first coach to win three BCS titles and the 10th coach to win three National titles. Quarterback A.J. McCarron was 23-34 for 234 yards; he caught LSU’s defense off guard by throwing successfully on first down. Saban said, “The message before the game was to finish it and how bad do you want to finish?”
Alabama smothered LSU’s offense, holding them to five first downs, 92 yards total offense, and just 39 yards rushing. LSU did absolutely nothing offensively.
“Our defense did a great job,” said Saban. “It was a great team win. Our offense controlled the momentum and tempo of the game from start to finish.”
The state of Alabama refuses to give up the National Championship. It’s the third straight year that an Alabama school wins the BCS title; it was Alabama in 2009, Auburn in 2010, and now Alabama in 2011 does it again. Alabama joins Notre Dame as the only schools to win eight AP National titles.
Final BCS Poll: No. 1, Alabama; No. 2, LSU; No. 3, Oklahoma State; No. 4, Oregon; No. 5, Arkansas.
Fitz Notes & Quotes
Of the 12 NFL playoff teams, four have Black general managers: Ozzie Newsome, Baltimore; Jerry Reese, New York; Martin Mayhew, Detroit; and Rick Smith, Houston. In 1992 there were just two Black head coaches in the NFL; in 2011 there were eight: Kansas City, Jacksonville, Oakland, Chicago, Minnesota, Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.
Pro-Bowler Jared Allen set the Vikings sack mark at 22 this year, breaking Chris Doleman’s team mark of 21.Vikings defense was horrible in 2011, allowing 449 points, second most in franchise history. Linebacker Chad Greenway will replace injured Bears linebacker Lance Briggs in the Pro Bowl.
Trouble for Tubby Smith? Tubby has struggled big time winning Big Ten basketball games lately. The Gophers are 0-4 in 2011-12 and have dropped 14 of their last 15. Smith, a recent cancer survivor, is 32-44 in Big Ten regular season and 6-4 in Big Ten Tournament games. The Gophers are 12-5 so far and play at Indiana Thursday.
Defections for whatever the reason allowing players to transfer have hurt big time: Colton Iverson to Colorado State, Justin Cobbs to California, Devoe Josesph to Oregon, Royce White to Iowa State and Paul Carter to Illinois-Chicago.
Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, and on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm; he also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2), and you can follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.