LSU Survives

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LSU Makes Do With Les

LSU Makes Do With Les

Did that just happen? It was the instantaneous thought as you watched LSU flounder as only a Les Miles-coached team could in the final seconds of a tight ballgame. It was the thought, doubled, as you watched the Tigers get one more chance against Tennessee — and escape with a victory they hardly deserved.

And, yet again, it was the thought as you watched Miles attempt an explanation in his postgame news conference.

Miles supplied 10 or so minutes of unfiltered, uncensored color analysis of those final snaps. At no point did Miles come close to explaining what happened. We were all dumber for having listened to Miles. (Thank you, “Billy Madison.”)

He should trade in that giant bucket of an LSU cap for a clown hat.

Miles supplied dandies like this: “It wasn’t pretty, but damn it was fun.” And this: “The multiplicity of personnel …”

He said at one point LSU was “awkward at times.” Yes, Les, you are. Often, really.

The confounding thing is the Tigers are 5–0 — and have more SEC victories than any other team in the league, with three.

The train-wreck nature of this team, and specifically its coach, is mesmerizing. Inches from derailing, it managed to stay on the tracks without any help from its coach.

Miles, who periodically screamed during his news conference, said he called “bull(stuff)” on his own team after the game. The college football world, meanwhile, is calling it on Miles.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

Nine times out of 10, the space above would be dedicated to what Alabama did to Florida. (Miles became the 10 percent exception.) But what the Tide did to the Gators certainly bears mentioning, clearly. This was supposed to be the conference’s premier game all season, and Alabama turned it into just another week.

The West is so far ahead of the East this season, it’s crazy. All the big, early games have gone the West’s way, and there’s no reason to believe that’ll change in the coming weeks. Alabama and Auburn appear to be on one heck of a collision course in late November. Bama didn’t even need to lean too heavily on its offense to beat Florida — and defense and special teams were supposedly the weak areas for the defending national champs.

On the upside for LSU, because there has to be some kind of positive to be found in a 5–0 team, Stevan Ridley has really carried the load despite teams knowing the Tigers aren’t especially effective putting the ball in the air. Ridley has been over 100 yards the past two weeks and three times this season. Again, that’s no small feat when people are trying to stop the run.

We dogged Ole Miss for a period of weeks, so it’s only fair to give credit now that the Rebels have punched the gas a bit, offensively. Ninety-seven points in two weeks is pretty impressive, regardless of the opponents, considering where the Rebs were. Is Ole Miss a world-beater? No. But it’s come a long way from the team that couldn’t score at home against Vanderbilt.

 

LOWLIGHTS

UGH-A. Just when it seemingly couldn’t get any worse, Colorado rallies past Georgia in Boulder. Did you think the Buffaloes had the players to make that happen? We sure didn’t. A.J. Green made a difference, but only enough of one for Georgia to stay in the game.

The Bulldogs are 1–4. That’s just stunning stuff nearly midway through the season. Where do they go from here? There’s too much talent for this to be a sub-.500 team. But what rights things in Athens, and especially for that defense? Got to keep harping on tackling and playing assignment football in the secondary. Far too many lapses, even against sub-par opponents. It’s well past ridiculous for the Dawgs.

Neglected in the end of that LSU-Tennessee fiasco is the fact that, if you’re the Volunteers, you obviously can’t put half of your available defensive players on the field at the same time. Just can’t do it, even if you were inadvertently baited by the Tigers. Then again, the Vols had 10 on the field a few times against UAB.

Seriously, though, Tennessee missed a real opportunity for a win it desperately needed. Those chances, on the road (and at LSU), don’t come along often.

Kentucky’s defense, to paraphrase Denny Green, is what we thought it was. The Wildcats finally faced some decent SEC offenses, and they’ve given up 48 and 42 in consecutive weeks. And it’s not as if Florida and Ole Miss have really proven consistent offensive forces this season. The secondary, particularly, is a mess.

 

Stud of the Week

Nick Saban, Alabama

Unprecedented to name a coach, but deserved. Look what Saban’s done, in short time, to distance the Tide from the rest of the league. Florida is second — and currently by 25 points.

 

Dud of the Week

Steve Addazio, Florida

Why not include another coach here? Baffling to see Addazio’s play-calling on the goal line to start the game. We all know Trey Burton is not Tim Tebow. We all know John Brantley is not Tim Tebow. We know those things. Right, Steve?

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