Tigers CB Tyrann Mathieu is nicknamed the Honey Badger but the way it looked Saturday night, LSU had 11 honey badgers running around on defense in their 9-6 OT win in Tuscaloosa.
The Crimson Tide were held under 100 yards rushing. They threw two interceptions. They were held out of the endzone. Heck, they were almost held out of the redzone. Alabama had three plays inside the LSU 20, and their deepest penetration all night was the LSU 17 yard line.
Problem for LSU is, they still almost lost the game. So clearly, even on an evening where their defense outslugged Alabama’s, they almost didn’t have enough to win.
I really enjoyed the game, but as I suggested earlier this season in a blog it is going to be difficult to win a national title with such meager quarterback play. Isn’t it?
That is one thing the potential opponents for the Tigers all have in common, a strong quarterback and passing attack. Oklahoma State, Stanford, Boise State, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Clemson all possess the firepower to challenge the LSU defense. I leave Oregon off because if they win the PAC-12, it’s difficult to imagine them getting another crack at the Tigers this season.
LSU and Alabama’s offenses aren’t bad, certainly not as bad as they were made to look on Saturday night. But they aren’t great either. And with LSU having QB issues resurfacing, it only makes the idea of them having a bad night all the more possible.
At this moment, I am not sure I’d pick against LSU in any potential matchup, but I think Oklahoma might have the best shot at pulling off a win. The Sooners have the best front 7 to slow down the LSU ground attack, and if they did that, with their offense they could win a game against the Tigers.
Let’s take a look at my top tweleve this week, and each team’s chances against LSU.
Tuck’s Top Twelve
1. LSU- Who can beat them?
2. Oklahoma State- Balanced offense that would score twenty-something on LSU and Justin Blackmon vs. Morris Clairbourne would be incredible, but the defense would likely give up 30-something.
3. Boise State- Kellen Moore is smart, but the WR couldn’t make big plays against the secondary of the Tigers. The defense would keep it close for the Broncos, but not enough weapons.
4. Stanford- The Cardinal TE’s would create some interesting matchups for LSU and Andrew Luck would have to buy time with his feet in this matchup. Ultimately a Stanford defense without it’s best player would be a step or two slow I think.
5. Oklahoma- As I said above, the Sooners would have the best shot.
6. Alabama- I’d give the Tide a chance, although their second chance would be in New Orleans with about half as many fans cheering them on.
7. Clemson- It’s not going to happen unless a lot of others lose, and these Tigers are just too young and would get eaten up.
8. Oregon- This rematch would be extremely unlikely, although I think it would be entertaining to see the Ducks as a big underdog.
9. Arkansas- This is the only game we know will happen. Hogs won a tight game at home last year, and have one of the best WR-groups in America to challenge the LSU secondary. Not sure they can protect QB Tyler Wilson long enough and are tough enough on defense to hold LSU under 200 yards rushing.
10. Houston- Not happening, but I’d like to see them play.
11. Penn State- Lions defense is good, but they’d have to score two touchdowns just to stay in the game I think. Their offense may not get 5 first downs against LSU.
12. Virginia Tech- If Trent Richardson isn’t getting 100 yards, neither is David Wilson.
STIFF-ARMING TROPHY RACE:
1) QB Kellen Moore, Boise State- All-time winningest QB in college football history.
2) QB Trent Richardson, Alabama- Gets bumped down, but he did about all he could to help Tide win.
3) WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State- Just a beast.
4) QB Andrew Luck, Stanford- Simply the best player in America, but hasn’t really earned the trophy.
5) QB Case Keenum, Houston- Unbeaten and holder of just about every passing record in NCAA history.