LSU Coach Ed Orgeron: “Get The Monkey Off Your Back!”

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Technically, this was not an upset. Technically, LSU was ranked ahead of Alabama. And technically, LSU should have been favored to beat Alabama, but they weren’t. LSU was ranked No. 2 and Alabama was ranked No. 3 in the polls. Alabama had history on their side. And Alabama was playing AT HOME. And yet LSU managed to throttle and thrash Coach Nick Saban and the consensus fan favorite Alabama Crimson Tide.

Coach Ed Orgeron and his LSU Tigers just won Game of the Century II. The Final: LSU 46 – Alabama 41, and it wasn’t that close. LSU lead by 20 at halftime and held on for the biggest win in Coach Ed Orgeron’s career.

And what about that journeyman head coach who just beat Alabama for the first time? What can we say about LSU’s Coach Orgeron? He’s been through the fire and the flood, and you just can’t help but be happy for this lumbering, lumberjack of a guy who is the persona of a college football coach. During the post-game press conference, as he squeezed his wife and his son close to his side, he said, “ I knew we were going to win.” That’s faith. He got the monkey off his back, and off of LSU’s back too. That’s redemption.

Coach Orgeron was saying that he was due, and by extension, he’s saying that you are too.

So the lesson is this: some of you have been through hell and high water, and you are wondering when things will turn around. Take courage, my brother. Lift up your head my sister. Live in the sunshine. Just like LSU, you are due a just reward for your patience and labor, and now your time has come.

Here’s what CBS sports had to say about the wining coach:

“Take a moment to appreciate what it took for Orgeron to get here. In his first opportunity as a head coach at Ole Miss, he went 10-25 over three seasons and didn’t win a single SEC game in 2007. He was given an opportunity as interim coach at USC when Lane Kiffin was fired in 2013 and led the Trojans to a 6-2 mark but got passed over for the full-time job in favor of Steve Sarkisian, who lasted just over one season. When LSU needed someone to fill in after it retained and then fired Les Miles, it was Orgeron who stepped up, again going 6-2 as an interim coach. The Tigers were on their way to passing over Orgeron for the job but wound up — for lack of a better term — stuck and gave him the opportunity after Jimbo Fisher and Tom Herman passed. So what has Orgeron done since? He’s led the Tigers to a 28-7 record the last three seasons, has LSU 9-0 and among the top two teams in the country in 2019 and improved his record against top 10 teams to 8-1 as coach of the Tigers. Can you say 2019 national Coach of the Year?”

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — November 9, 2019. LSU defeats Alabama, 46 – 41. Saturday’s win over Alabama belongs to Ed Orgeron, a man many doubted when he was tabbed as the LSU Tigers’ head coach in 2016.

If that doesn’t motivate you, consider getting your head examined. Seriously.

Here’s the skinny on the game itself:

“No. 2 LSU ended an eight-game losing streak to its SEC West rival with a stunning 46-41 victory over No. 3 Alabama under the lights at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscalusa. For the first time since 2011, the Tigers have beaten the Crimson Tide, and it was a game that felt entirely different than the one these teams played the last time LSU beat Alabama, 9-6.

The win not only got the proverbial Alabama monkey off LSU’s back, but it put the Tigers firmly in the driver’s seat in the SEC West. It likely cements Joe Burrow in front of the Heisman Trophy race as well. The LSU quarterback threw for 393 yards and three touchdowns, completing 31 of his 39 passes. Running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire combined for 180 total yards and four touchdowns (three rushing) in a star-making performance of his own.

The 46 points Burrow and the Tigers put on the board against Alabama were the most any team has scored against Alabama since Oct. 25, 2003, when Tennessee scored 51 points against the Tide. Of course, that game went to five overtimes and was only 20-20 at the end of regulation.

The game seemed over when Edwards-Helaire scored to make it 46-34 LSU with only 90 seconds remaining, but Alabama responded right away with an 85-yard touchdown to Devonta Smith to cut the lead to 46-41. LSU held on to win in a rare Game of the Century that managed to live up to the hype.

Let’s break down the game with some takeaways from LSU’s stunning, season-defining win over Alabama:

  1. LSU is the best team in the nation: There, I said it — and I won’t apologize to Ohio State either (despite the thorough dismantling of Maryland on Saturday). What LSU did to Alabama at Bryant-Denny Stadium was historic. No, history shouldn’t matter when discussing which team deserves the No. 1 ranking. But LSU just walked into the belly of college football’s beast, ripped its heart out, stomped on it on the ground and threw it out like a used paper towel. The 33 first-half points by LSU were the most in the opening 30 minutes against a Nick Saban-coached since 1999, when Purdue — led by quarterback Drew Brees — dropped Saban’s Michigan State squad 52-28. Burrow and passing game coordinator Joe Brady have transformed LSU’s offense from the punchline of a very bad college football joke into the most prolific offense in the country. That’s not what sets this team apart, though. The Tigers defense — which hasn’t been great all year — rattled quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, confused coordinator Steve Sarkisian and created havoc in the backfield thanks to creative pressure dialed up by defensive coordinator Dave Aranda. K’Lavon Chaisson was the star of the show, including a thunderous third-and-short stop of Najee Harris on the Crimson Tide’s first drive of the second half.
  1. Burrow made a clear statement … The senior signal-caller for the Tigers entered as the front-runner for the most prestigious individual award in sports and left the field with a grip on the stiff-arm trophy as tight as a bite from Mike the Tiger. Burrow stood tall in the face of enormous pressure and delivered strike after strike in tight windows all game long. He opened the game 9 of 9 and hit Ja’Marr Chase for the first score of the game in the blink of an eye. LSU never looked back. Burrow brought the fight to Bama and forced it to counterpunch. The only person who has done that in the last two years is Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence … and we all remember how that worked out. That’s the company Burrow keeps now. He’s no longer the scrappy graduate transfer who changed a program; he’s a transcendent college football legend with more in the tank.” https://www.cbssports.com/college-football/news/alabama-vs-lsu-score-takeaways-no-2-tigers-conquer-no-3-tide-in-thriller-first-series-win-since-2011/

In closing, I don’t know abut you, but I’m rooting for LSU.

Should We Pity Poor, Winless Nebraska?

Nebraska Coach Scott Frost
Despite the Historic 0-6 Start, Nebraska Head Coach Scott Frost Should Keep Looking Up

The  University of Nebraska was once a college football power.  Under Tom Osborne from 1973 to 1997, the Cornhuskers went an astounding 255 – 49–3,  for a winning percentage of 0.836. Osborne subsequently became Nebraska’s longest-tenured coach, ending with the fourth-highest winning percentage in major college football history. Osborne never won fewer than nine games and secured 13 conference titles in his 25 seasons. And for those interested in ancient college football history, before Osborne, there was head coach Bob Devaney.

Bob Devaney lead Nebraska to a 101–20–2 record, with a 0.829 winning percentage from 1962 to 1972.  Delaney brought about an immediate turnaround in the fortunes of Nebraska football. He led Nebraska to a 9–2 record in his first season, which was capped by the school’s first bowl win, against Miami in the 1962 Gotham Bowl.  Wow. Talk about winners. Nebraska could surely use Osborne or Devaney right about now.

Now, the once mighty and proud Nebraska football program has fallen on hard times. Most recently, The Cornhuskers blew a ten point margin and fell to Northwestern, 34 -21, after having a 31-21 fourth quarter lead. A Northwestern field goal cut the lead to 31-24 with about two minutes left in the game. Northwestern would then get the ball back and marched 99 yards with zero time-outs for a game tying touchdown that sent it to overtime. Unbelievable. Just unbelievable, especially for a team that was 0 -5 and searching desperately for its first win.

In that oh so painful loss to Northwestern, Nebraska had the ball first in the extra period. The drive came to a fourth and one, and then a nightmare for Huskers fans. A botched snap and QB Martinez was forced to scramble; he launched one for the endzone and it was intercepted. Northwestern got the ball and got into position to allow kicker Drew Lauckenbaugh to make a 37 yard field goal to give Northwestern the stunning 34-31 win.

Last week, after Nebraska lost to Michigan, Head coach Scott Frost told his players in the locker room at Michigan Stadium that “things can’t get any worse”, and their 56-10 loss to No. 19 Michigan could serve as a “watershed moment” for the program in its first year with a new coaching staff. When they were 0 -5, the Nebraska coach believed that the Cornhuskers had reached the bottom.

But then the bottom fell out, and they lost this heartbreaker to Northwestern to fall fo 0 – 6 for the first time in school history. It’s the worst start EVER for this storied football program.

Incredible. Just incredible. So, are we to feel sorry and compassionate for the Cornhuskers? Some say yes, but most, I surmise, would say no. They had their heyday, and now the mantle for winning big in college football has moved on the Southeastern Conference. The SEC touts such powerhouse schools such as Alabama, LSU, Florida and Georgia, just to name a few.  Ohio State and Michigan, two bragadocious, Big Ten schools, are still powers, so why not Nebraska? It’s a thousand things, none of which can be fixed in an instant. 

So let’s encourage Nebraska.  And let’s encourage all of our friends who are going through a tough time. Things will get better. Things HAVE to get better, right? They have to; they just have to.  Becasue life is like sports and sports are like life.  Trouble don’t last always. 

And always remenber; “weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”

 

Note From Tua Tagovailoa: “Wait Your Turn”

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Did you see the game? Don’t tell me you went to bed at halftime!  What? You didn’t know the College Football Playoff National Championship game went to overtime?  Seriously?  Yes — I know the game went to well past midnight (East coast time) and I know that Georgia looked like they had Alabama whooped, leading 13-0 at intermission, and I know you get up at zero dark thirty to get to work. I do too. Trust me, I paid for staying up way past my bedtime; but believe you me, it was worth it.

I’ll almost forgive you if you tuned out and turned the TV off at halftime. I’ll try to forgive you if you didn’t want to watch Alabama and Saban win AGAIN. And I’ll definitely forgive you if you didn’t know about the Alabama second string backup quarterback from Hawaii. All he did was start the second half and end up winning the whole dag gum game in OT in dramatic, unforgettable, and for Georgia fans, unforgivable fashion. I’ll give you that one, because before 10 pm on Monday night, there probably were more than a few Alabama players that couldn’t even pronounce this kid’s name.

Just who is Tua Tagovailoa?  Good question.  In 2015, Sports Illustrated told the story of Tagovailoa, who was considered to be the best high school football player in Hawaii. At the time, the junior quarterback at Honolulu’s Saint Louis High School was drawing comparisons to the school’s most famous alum, Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota.  And not coincidently enough, Tua has this in common with his hero, Marcus Mariota: they are Christians whose goal is “to go out and show the world that Christ lives.” http://christiannewsjournal.com/throwin-prayin-samoans/

Tagovailoa is now the true freshman from Hawaii who everyone is talking about. Talk about a David coming off of the bench to slay a Goliath. One sports writer said that “sometimes, it pays to wait and watch, biding your time until you can show the world just what you can do” Amen. And the hymn writer gave us this gem:

 Watching and waiting, looking above, filled with His goodness, lost in his love.

“For Tua Tagovailoa, his chance came on college football’s biggest stage, when Alabama Coach Nick Saban decided at halftime to replace quarterback Jalen Hurts with his freshman from Hawaii, a guy who had been offered a scholarship only after Jake Fromm flipped his commitment to Georgia.

“It was a wild ride from there, with Tagovailoa completing one of the best game-winning passes in college football since Doug Flutie in 1984 as the Crimson Tide won in overtime. But the glory of that 41-yard touchdown pass came after an ugly moment in which he took a sack. “Tua probably couldn’t have thrown that pass if I could have gotten ahold of him after the sack,” Saban said afterward, “but I couldn’t get out there fast enough.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2018/01/09/who-is-alabamas-tua-tagovailoa-and-why-wasnt-he-playing-all-season/?utm_term=.278650168bee

Yes, let’s not forget about Nick Saban, probably the best college football coach, ever. EVER!  Nick Saban most certainly deserves credit for changing quarterbacks, and he also deserves credit for how both players handled themselves.  Sometimes things work out better than our wildest dreams, just because we went with our gut (Saban), waited our turn (Tua) and maybe even handled adversity with grace (Hurts).

Tagovailoa had played only sparingly as a freshman, but Saban turned to him with the Tide down 13-0 at halftime and he threw two touchdown passes, along with an interception. He completed 14-of-26 passes for 166 yards and left everyone wondering why Saban hadn’t turned to him before. I’ll tell you why. Because his time had not yet come.

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship Game-Alabama vs Georgia

So the lesson from the Polynesian lad from Hawaii is this: be patient. Wait your turn. Don’t get a big head and don’t get down on yourself.  Things will work out, just you wait and see.

Note from Clemson: Don’t Be Surprised When You Actually Win The Big One

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Clemson Actually Won! Coach Swinney said “Only God could do something like this.” Amen brother. Down by 10 at halftime, Coach Swinney told his team

We’re going to win the game, because we love each other. I don’t know how, but we’re going to win the game.

Period. End of discussion. And after the game, Coach Swinney gave us the moral of the story: Clemson’s win gives us all hope, because “greatness is for everyone.”

So it shouldn’t be a surprise when our dreams come true. It shouldn’t be a shock to the system or a jolt to the nerves when everything we’ve worked for and everything we’ve hoped for and everything we’ve longed for actually and finally comes true and bursts through the front door.  

I am so happy for Coach Swinney.  I am. He deserves this win way more than most coaches that have won. And Deshaun Watson, Clemson’s star QB, was as confident and convinced and certain that his team would win as any other player ever.

Alabama did not lose the game; Clemson won the game, fair and square. Because Alabama was ranked No. 1 and Clemson was No. 2, it was an upset. But make no mistake, like it or not, the better team won. And Clemson clearly was the better team. And to quote Coach Swinney once more, “the win was not an upset, it was an expectation.”

The legend of Dabo Swinney just hit No. 1 on the charts and it will stay there for some time. The coach that almost nobody at Clemson wanted or heard of just won a national championship. And they didn’t just win, the won with ONE SECOND left on the clock! Wow.  Talk about a dramatic, come from behind finish. Some of the headlines spoke of the spectacular win:

Clemson Shocks Alabama to Win National Championship.

Clemson Wins National Championship in Thriller.

Clemson Stuns Alabama To Win National Championship.

Rarely is a sequel as good as the original, but Clemson rewrote the ending in its national championship story against Alabama. It was a triumph savored by Tigers players past and present.

Alabama v. Clemson II was everything we hoped it would be. The sequel was even better than the original. Legends were born as Clemson scored in the final seconds of the 2017 CFP National Championship, stunning Alabama with a thrilling victory.

Over the final 4:38 of the game, the teams would score three touchdowns and trade the lead three times, with the Tigers ultimately ending the night and the season on top the sport via a 35-31 final score. That insanity triggered a frenetic schedule that would continue for the coach, his family and his team that would carry on until well after most of everyone else on the East Coast was fast asleep.

He was already the best player in program history, but after coming up short in one title game and missing out on two Heismans, Deshaun Watson sealed the deal with an epic game-winning drive. At 12:27 a.m., the game finally ended after the game clock hung up on one final second for more than five minutes as officials made a ruling on the onside kick by Clemson.

What a way to win the big one.

http://www.usatoday.com/videos/sports/ncaaf/acc/2017/01/10/swinney-clemson-win-gives-hope-%27greatness-everyone%27/96393442/

Can Clemson Beat Alabama? (Round II)

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I like Clemson’s Head Coach, Dabo Swinney. I do. And in Alabama v. Clemson II, I DO think the Tigers can hang with the Alabama Crimson Tide tomorrow night. If Clemson pulls it out and pulls it off, the game will go down to the wire, which means I’ll need to stay up way past my bedtime to watch. Phooey.

Tomorrow night is college football’s big stage: the College Football Playoff National Championship. And on that big stage lies the 60 minutes that separates No. 2 Clemson from winning its first national championship in 35 seasons. To do so, the Tigers must beat No. 1 Alabama, the most successful program of our time. A victory by the Crimson Tide would be the school’s fifth in eight seasons, all under head coach Nick Saban.

Alabama is the college football team everyone loves to hate. People hate and love Alabama basically because of their colorful, crimson character of a coach, Nick Saban. Because of Saban, “‘Bama has been (and will be?) the standard in college football for a long time,” Swinney said before last year’s game. So, the question is this: can Dabo do it? Will Dabo do it? Or more pointedly, how might Dabo do it?

I ask myself these questions each and every day. Can I do it? Will I do it? Or more pointedly, how might I do it – whatever “it” is? And the answer is simply this: if you want to achieve you must first believe. And Dabo is driven and determined and set and settled on beating his alma mater tonight. Good for him. And his win tonight, if he can notch it, will speak volumes and teach another life lesson and set another sports precedent for the rest of us to follow.

On the flip side, Dabo’s desire and drive and desperation just might spell and equal an UPSET for Alabama. Make no mistake about it; even though the Tigers are No. 1, if they win, it WILL be an upset, because Nick Saban will be UPSET!

So here’s to the Clemson Tigers and cheers and hats off to Dabo Swinney. Because if he pulls this one off, he will have kept me up and kept us all awake and keep the college football world roused up and hunkered down to do it. Because it’s going to take some doing to do this. But isn’t that what we all face every day?

Can Anybody Beat Alabama?

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Alabama beat USC into the ground. I mean it was so bad that USC doesn’t know if they got beat up or beat down. It was that bad. Their motto is “Roll Tide”, and Saturday at the Jerry Jones Arena, I mean Dallas Stadium, they did just that.

Alabama is king of the college football jungle. They are the reigning football phenomenon and they are a force to be reckoned with. The question is, can they be beat? Or, better still, will they be beat? Is it possible for Alabama to lose this season? They pasted USC. So will they lose in two weeks to Ole Miss? Or to LSU? Their schedule doesn’t seem all that challenging, so again, the question looms large. Let’s watch and see, and enjoy the ride along the way.

This reigning football dynasty is so similar to how we are to live as spiritual beings in the earth, it again gives credence to the nexus between God and sports. As God’s creatures in charge of the Tera firma, (and the sky and sea, too) we are to dominate and rule and kick butt.  That’s what Adam was told to do in the beginning.

Now, with the help of our Lord, we are to be invincible and insurmountable and indomitable. As believers in the Most High God, the ruler of the universe, we are to be unshakable and unbeatable and unconquerable. That’s if we obey and observe and submit to the pure and perfect will of God.

So, how ‘bout it? Let’s live as champions and as victors and as more than conquerors through Him that loves us. Let’s triumph in everything and over everything. Let’s live a life pleasing to God so that we continually kick devil butt, and solve the problems that face us all.

So back to Alabama:

The only thing that Alabama and their coach Nick Saban have that we shouldn’t want is arrogance. This is the one caveat that Alabama has that we need to be wary of. “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). Alabama needs to know that if you’re the best, it takes God to keep you humble and holy and modest and lowly.

Because this season, the only team that is going to beat Alabama, is Alabama.

Can Clemson Beat Alabama?

saban-cover by Monte Burke

With Alabama’s help, tonight I can be in bed at a decent hour because the Brick Red will take the Tigers to the woodshed. I like Clemson’s Head Coach, Dabo Swinney. I do. But I don’t think the Tigers can hang with the Alabama Crimson Tide tonight. I don’t. If Clemson pulls it out and pulls it off, the game will go down to the wire, which means I’ll need to stay up way past my bed time to watch. Phooey.

Tonight is college football’s big stage: the College Football Playoff National Championship. And on that big stage lies the 60 minutes that separates No. 1 Clemson from winning its first national championship in 34 seasons. To do so, the Tigers must beat No. 2 Alabama, the most successful program of our time. A victory by the Crimson Tide would be the school’s fourth in seven seasons, all under head coach Nick Saban.

Alabama is the college football team everyone loves to hate. People hate and love Alabama basically because of their colorful, crimson character of a coach, Nick Saban. Because of Saban, “‘Bama has been (and will be?) the standard in college football for a long time,” Swinney said Saturday.  So, the question is this: can Dabo do it? Will Dabo  do it? Or more pointedly, how might Dabo do it?

I ask myself these questions each and every day. Can I do it? Will I do it? Or more pointedly, how might I do it – whatever “it” is?  And the answer is simply this: if you want to achieve you must first believe. And Dabo is driven and determined and set and settled on beating his alma mater tonight. Good for him.  And his win tonight, if he can notch it, will speak volumes and teach another life lesson and set another sports precedent  for the rest of us to follow.

On the flip side, Dabo’s desire and drive and desperation just might spell and equal an UPSET for Alabama. Make no mistake about it; even though the Tigers are No. 1, if they win, it WILL be an upset, because Nick Saban will be UPSET!

So here’s to the Clemson Tigers and cheers and hats off to Dabo Swinney. Because if he pulls this one off, he will have kept me up and kept us all awake and keep the college football world roused up and hunkered down to do it. Because it’s going to take some doing to do this. But isn’t that what we all face every day?