Since the 2007 LSU Tigers won a national championship with two losses, every team that has gone on to win college football’s largest prize has met its fair share of struggles along the way.
That 2007 team suffered losses on the road to Kentucky and at home against Arkansas, both in triple overtime. The next year, the Florida Gators‘ 31-30 loss to Ole Miss prompted The Speech from Tim Tebow that pushed the Gators on to their second national championship in three years.
Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide not only had to beat that Gators team the following year on the way to their national championship, it also had a to rely on Julio Jones breaking a screen pass for a big play and touchdown to beat LSU and two blocked field goals to beat Tennessee.
The trend continues further on, and further back than previously noted, and now has established itself as a borderline need, as if every team needs to find themselves in a tight game like that and come out on top to qualify as a true championship contender.
Not the case, says the Tide after getting just that type of win over LSU in Death Valley on Saturday, 21-17.
“I don’t think you ever need a game like that, but you know they come,” defensive lineman Damion Square said. “I’ve been playing college football for a while and every year we have one like that. You never know when it’s going to show up, but coach always says to practice your best so when your best is needed, you can bring it out. And our best was needed and we brought it out.”
Same things stay the same for all victories, whether they be as expected as the ones over Western Kentucky and Florida Atlantic or as thrilling as the LSU one was: your allotted time for celebration.
While the allowance stays the same, enforcing the policy may be more difficult for wins like that.
“That’s every player making a choice,” Saban said.
With the decision up the the players, there was some clear divide as to how the time was spent.
“I slept the whole day,” linebacker Adrian Hubbard said, noting he did not wake up until 2:30 p.m. “Recovery – that’s the main thing. Rest and recovery.”
The ol’ alma mater
They may not be the BCS busters of the 2012 season, but the Kent State Golden Flashes, where Saban played his collegiate football, are off to an 8-1 start, including wins over Towson, a team that competed well with LSU in Death Valley earlier in the season, and Army, with its tough-to-stop triple option attack.
Kent State’s only loss this season was to an SEC school, Kentucky.
“I always kind of look and see what the Kent State score was,” Saban said. “Kind of follow them week to week and it’s really good to see that they’re having a great year. It means something to me and it is my alma mater.
“A lot of people were very supportive and helpful to me when I was there – the coaches, the administrators that we had and the academic staff. I certainly appreciate that and I’m really proud of the fact that they are doing a great job and having a great year.”