NCAA Football

With Mathieu Gone SEC West Race Tightens, Still too Close to Call

November 3rd may be months away, but it doesn’t take binoculars to know that a perfect storm is brewing in the SEC West.  After playing the staring roles The Game of the Century parts 1 and 2, the Alabama Crimson Tide and LSU Tigers are on course to turn the annual matchup into a trilogy when the southern sky turns dark in the land they call “Death Valley.”

The early assumptions in regards to the blockbuster of the fall had the Tigers topping the Tide, avenging the less than par performance in last year’s title game.  The pundits popped up on TV screens and screamed on radios that November night would belong to the purple and gold.

They said the Tigers had a real gunslinger under center for the first time in years, added to a stable of running backs and one of the most underrated offensive lines in the country.  “The Tigers return so much talent on defense” they boasted, adding that LSU would be out for blood after the embarrassment they felt during January’s trip to the Superdome.

Yes, the early reviews looked good for the Tigers. Their tickets to south Florida were in hand ready to be punched, as if the dealer seemed to have dealt the perfect hand.

Then Friday came. Les Miles announced that one of the key cast members in the Tigers run in 2011, the infamous Honey Badger, Tyrann Mathieu would no longer be a part of this year’s LSU Football production.  The Tiger who was to play the staring role in a tenacious defense, may now have turned his unit tame.

Now it is a Crimson Tide rising from the depths of disrespect.

After hoisting the crystal ball high above their heads two times in three seasons, they said Alabama had lost too much on defense and where ‘Bama had questions LSU had answers.

Although the early reviews favored the Tigers, the story has soured for LSU asAlabamahas become the new favorite in conference.  The Las Vegas line has put Alabama up to 2/1 odds, while LSU slipped to a 5/2 projection as news of as the shockwaves of Mathieu’s dismissal reached the west.

But as Saban warned last Sunday, now is not the time to buy into the hype, nor is it the time to make the projections.  “Why do we play the games? To answer the questions” he said.

While some are speculating that Alabama may steal the show,  pay close enough attention and their lineups, schemes, strengths and weaknesses look to be carbon copies of each other.  The Crimson Tide leader may have been onto something.

The gap may have closed, but it is still too close to call. Although each team has road blocks early on, come November 3rd, The Game of The Century Part 3 may be the biggest blockbuster of the trilogy.