- Monday, 23 September 2013 08:00
- Author: Jeff Dantzler
New Orleans radio personality Scott Alexander, an old friend and SEC veteran, gives us his take on Saturday’s clash of titans. Scott played basketball for Dale Brown at LSU, has been a television producer, an agent, and currently is the most popular talk show host in the Big Easy.
Talk about the job that LSU – with Saban and Miles both – has done recruiting the state of Louisiana and how that has keyed the program’s great success.
Before Nick Saban took the LSU coaching job in 2000, the Tiger faithful watched future superstars Marshall Faulk, Warrick Dunn, Ed Reed, Reggie Wayne, Peyton & Eli Manning among many others continue to leave the state for greener collegiate pastures. That all changed when St. Nick arrived to the Baton Rouge campus. Much like Mark Richt at Georgia, Saban made it clear that he was putting up a fence around the state of Louisiana. And three years later the Tigers won their first National Championship in 45 years featuring a dominant defense with homegrown talent such as Laron Landry, Corey Webster, Marcus Spears, Marquise Hill and Craig Steltz. The offense on that Tiger squad also featured several future NFL stars from the Pelican State including receivers Michael Clayton & Devery Henderson and All-Pro offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth. When Saban left for the NFL following the 2004 season, Les Miles picked up the recruiting blueprint and followed it perfectly. Although it’s easy to make fun of the Madhatter’s in-game decisions, interview gaffes & general bumbling behavior, one cannot argue with LSU’s record. The Tigers have the most wins of any BCS Conference school over the last dozen years. Only Boise State has more wins in Division-1 football
Do the LSU faithful have love/head-scratching relationship with Miles?
Yes of course!The love/head scratching relationship between Les Miles and the LSU fans is nothing short of legendary in Baton Rouge. Even though Miles has the best winning percentage of any coach in school history, there are STILL many among the faithful who believe he hasn’t done enough and want him gone. It’s incredible. Who do you think will play in the SEC Championship Game? After winning three of the past four national championships (but ironically only two SEC championships in that span), it’s hard to pick against the Alabama Crimson Tide. LSU has split the last six meetings against the Tide, so the tilt in Tuscaloosa will likely tell the tale in the West. In the East, it looks like the Georgia Bulldogs for the 3rd straight year especially if they get by Florida in the World’s Largest Cocktail Party. Oh, the NCAA said I’m not supposed to say that anymore.
Who do you think plays for the national title?
Georgia and Oregon
What non-SEC team has impressed you the most so far this year?
Oregon has easily been the most impressive non-SEC team but they will have their hands full with the Stanford Cardinal and a much improved PAC 12 Conference.
What is your take on Georgia?
Considering that the Bulldogs have the most complete running back in the country, a quarterback who is about to rewrite the SEC record books, and top ten recruiting classes every year, I would say that they are pretty darn good. And besides that, the Todd Gurley/Aaron Murray show is one of the most entertaining in the country. These Dawgs have a real shot at the 2013 National Championship…and I wouldn’t bet against them.
Are there any areas that stand out to you that will decide the game?
The LSU-Georgia game has all the makings of a classic. Zack Mettenberger comes back to the school where it all began for him. After a rough first year as LSU’s starting quarterback, Mettenberger has emerged under the tutelage of new Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron as one of the top signal callers in the SEC. His play will be absolutely pivotal if the Tigers expect to have a chance to win. Stopping Todd Gurley will be the key for the Tigers. Everyone knows that Murray will likely get his normal 300 yards through the air, but if the Tigers can slow Gurley they might have a shot.
Any chance of a rematch in Atlanta or is the schedule too tough for both the rest of the way?
I think there is a reasonable chance for a rematch in Atlanta. Of course, LSU would have to get by the Tide in Tuscaloosa, but if you look at the recent history of the two teams, that hasn’t been much of a problem for the Tigers. And with Texas A&M and Florida coming to Death Valley, there’s always a chance. If Georgia were to lose, the road to Atlanta for the Dawgs is still right in front of them. Losing to a team from the West Division is always advantageous because if the Bulldogs can win the rest of their SEC games, they will be in Atlanta. And with Florida as the remaining threat on the schedule, once again, I like the Dawgs chances.
What are some past Georgia/LSU games that stand out to you?
There are so many great UGA-LSU games that stand out to me, but the first that always comes to mind was my favorite college road trip of all time in 1987. Since that sojourn, I’ve told everyone who’d listen that Athens, GA is the best college town in America…hands down. Perhaps it didn’t hurt that after a little late game magic with LSU quarterback Tommy Hodson pulling a rabbit out of his helmet and Georgia wide receiver John Thomas missing an easy game winning touchdown catch, LSU escaped with a lucky 26-23 victory. The four Bulldog-Tiger games played between 2003 and 2005 resulting in a 2-2 split along with deciding a couple SEC Championships were certainly memorable for both fan bases, but that classic in the late 80s will always be my most memorable.