LSU decidedly dominant
January 4, 2007
By Glenn Guilbeau

NEW ORLEANS - LSU toyed with and slapped around Notre Dame Wednesday night in the Sugar Bowl like LSU was Ohio State and Notre Dame was ... Notre Dame.

The Tigers' 41-14 victory was more lopsided than USC's win over the Fighting Irish and Michigan's win over Notre Dame. LSU put an exclamation point on an unprecedented, second straight 11-win season with another blowout bowl victory.

"You're looking at an offense that had a dominant performance, a defense that was stingy all day and had a dominant performance," LSU coach Les Miles said. "The special teams contributed very significantly. It was a team victory."

The Tigers are truly one of the very best, if not the best, teams in the nation. They could play with Ohio State and Florida. The Tigers may be the most talented team in the nation.

They are big, fast, tough, explosive, opportunistic, balanced, dominant and play with class and usually without a catastrophe syndrome, relative to how they play.

Nick Saban would be so proud. After all, this was his team.

The beautiful academic center some of the study in ... Saban had it built and helped design it. The state of the art football facility that Miles and his staff work in ... Saban had it built and helped design it. The sterling reputation LSU has ... Saban built it. Nearly every starter and contributor on both sides of the ball that embarrassed Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl ... Saban signed them.

To be clear, Miles has done a very good job in his two years at LSU. He is 22-4 with a pair of bowl victories over household college football names Miami and Notre Dame by a combined 81-17. But he has not done a great job. He's about par. He's about where he should be, considering the gobs of young and experienced talent, two impressive buildings and sizzling name recognition he inherited two years ago this week. Miles even admitted he was inheriting about the best program in the nation at that time. We'll see how good he really is over the next few years, as most of Saban's players finished their career Wednesday in the Superdome, where they won it all just three years ago Thursday under Saban.

You LSU fans can hate Saban all you want now that he's gone to Alabama. But you know as well as I do, Saban wins a national championship in one of these last two years, or at least plays for it.

The Saban-found talent that just concluded the best four-year run in LSU history deserved better than a Peach Bowl last season and the third best BCS bowl this season.

Last season, Saban would not have lost to a bad Tennessee team at home and he would not have lost by 20 to a Georgia team with less talent in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game.

He also would have made sure Jimbo Fisher's offense scored more than three points against an average Auburn defense this season with a quarterback like JaMarcus Russell, all those receivers and Trindon Holliday and Keiland Williams. Holliday and Williams, by the way, did not play in that game and did not start playing until late in the season. Saban would have played those two much earlier. He also would not have had Chevis Jackson returning punts for half the season.

Saban would have let Fisher build his offense around Russell and the receivers from the beginning instead of around a running game with an unproven offensive line and backs either inexperienced or coming off injuries.

Saban probably would have lost at Florida, too. He's not perfect. He got rolled a few times at LSU, but not with the talent he gathered for 2005 and '06.

Saban's detractors say he would not have handled Hurricane Katrina as well as Miles. Saban handled 9/11 as well, and Katrina's effect on LSU was extremely overblown. The entire LSU community did great things in the aftermath of the hurricane, but LSU itself was not hurt by the hurricane. And Miles lost to Tennessee at home just after the storm because his team blew a lead, not because of the storm.

Funny, how people completely change their opinion about someone just because that person is no longer one of them ... or moves to Alabama.

Believe me, if Miles had replaced Lloyd Carr at Michigan this season and Saban had lied and denied his way out of Miami to become LSU's coach, Baton Rouge would be holding parades for Satan tonight and no one would care about the truth. Oh, and LSU would have come up with $4 million, too, just like it set the market for Saban in 2000 at $2 million.

But go ahead and have fun on the Saban-hating Web sites. Just remember this, whatever Miles and LSU have done to this point is directly related to Saban, no matter how much you suddenly hate him.