College football always has that one big game that every fan around the nation can't miss, and in 2012, it might have two with Oregon vs. USC and LSU vs. Alabama.
But unfortunately, both games are scheduled for Nov. 3, and with LSU and Alabama already slated as the prime-time game for CBS, one would assume ABC would select USC and Oregon as its prime-time event.
That will force fans to make a tough choice between which game they want to watch. So which one is worth watching over the other?
Let's start with the Pac-12. USC is the "chosen one," so to speak. The Trojans are the team that the nation is counting on to end the SEC's reign over the sport. But before they challenge the SEC, they're going to have to make it past Oregon, which has been extremely disrespected this offseason.
For the past few years, Oregon has been beloved for its jerseys and playing style, but it's like ever since USC became eligible to win a national championship, everyone abandoned the Ducks and jumped on the Trojans' bandwagon.
That makes for quite an intriguing storyline, and examining both clubs' high-powered offenses, that game's sure to be an exciting shootout. But it's all about the defensive struggle, baby. It's all about the Pittsburgh Steelers vs. the Baltimore Ravens, and in college football's case, it's all about LSU vs. Alabama.
This might be the first and only time you hear this, but too much scoring can ruin a football game. For instance, the Alamo Bowl last season between Baylor and Washington was exciting, but it was such a poor defensive effort that it became hard to enjoy. 67-56, really?
Perhaps this is just an old-school mindset, but football is the best sport in the world for its gritty toughness, electrifying hits and the grinding story it tells over the course of the game. It's about struggle and overcoming adversity, not lighting up a scoreboard.
That's why the first game between LSU and Alabama was thrilling, not boring. Sure, fans complained about the lack of offense in the game, but were you not on the edge of your seat the entire time?
Looking forward to the showdown between LSU and Alabama this season, it should be another defensive struggle, but both teams will score touchdowns in this regular season confrontation.
A.J. McCarron is being groomed into an excellent quarterback, while Zach Mettenberger has the tools to stretch the field vertically, something that the Tigers hardly ever tried with Jordan Jefferson.
Granted, you'll most likely not see the same big explosive plays that'll happen in the Oregon/USC game. Matt Barkley, Robert Woods, Marquise Lee, De'Anthony Thomas and Kenjon Barner are all exciting players to watch, but neither team's defenses is that spectacular.
Yes, it might be Chip Kelly's best defense that he's had since he's coached Oregon, but neither Oregon nor USC can contain the other team's offense. So that game becomes about which defense can do just enough to allow the offense enough separation to win the game.
In Baton Rouge on that very same night, it'll be completely opposite. Both Nick Saban and Les Miles will be trying to figure out a way to execute enough offense to get by an authoritative defense.
It's a chess match between two defensive-minded coaches. The is a game between two teams with so much glaring pride that it takes every yard the opposing team makes personal. That's America's game; that's real football.
Fantasy football, the spread and elite quarterbacks in the NFL seem to have made people forget what's truly great about the sport, and even if it's for just one night of the season, LSU and Alabama represents everything that separates this game from all others. It's war-like frontline mentality, if you will.
As Nov. 3 approaches all four teams should still be undefeated, and if the television schedule just so happens to counter-program one another, it'll be tough to choose between which game to watch.
But if you're looking for dominance in all three phases of the game and a truly remarkable football game similar to the Ravens and Steelers' classics throughout the years, your eyes will be on LSU and Alabama.
Long live the defensive struggle.
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