There was no lightning flashing. No thunder rolling. In the clear November sky above Bâton Rouge, nary a cloud was to be seen for miles.
Perhaps Zeus didn’t want them to spoil his view.
Beneath him and beneath the peaceful sky and orange autumn moon, there was a major storm a-brewin’. It was one that would have made him smile and nod his head.
The battle was clearly—but not simply—an old-time, hard-fought, in-the-trenches contest, rarely seen in these days of the super offenses and 1,000-yard games. It was a mano-a-mano slobber-knocker.
It was the Roman Army and the Battle of Attila; Goliath versus Goliath.
The fans in the stadium, the football gods watching intently from their station above the fray and millions of fans across the country watching from the edges of their seats all saw exactly the same thing.
What they saw was epic—a battle long to be remembered through the tales of men, their memories and legacies being enhanced with each passing autumn. It will be written about by scribes and historians with words that are well-penned and yet somehow inadequate to describe the 60-minute relentless giving of body and heart and blood, sweat, and tears by boys turned to men sacrificing all they had on a hundred-yard by 40-yard piece of earth know as Death Valley.
What an apt name. What an apt place.
In the end, after all was given and nothing was left, after dozens of warriors and legions of fans gave every bit of their hearts and souls to the war that played out around them and amongst them, after all was said and all was done, a victor emerged. And to the victor goes the spoils. The Alabama Crimson Tide will get the praise they’ve earned, and they will relentlessly march on toward their ultimate goal for this year and every year to follow.
But there was no real loser. No one watching that game thinks LSU is a lesser team than they were before. No. LSU might be capable of beating just about any other team in the country. They are capable of beating the team they just lost to if the game is played again next week. Everyone watching the game saw Zach Mettenberger come into his own; he became the quarterback that will lead LSU to many victories. The light came on and never went off. I don’t expect that it ever will.
AJ McCarron will go down in history as one of the greatest quarterbacks in the long and storied history of Alabama football. He stood up when there would be no more opportunities to do so, and he delivered like the champion he is. This game will be part of his legacy, but certainly not all of it.
TJ Yeldon has an opportunity to wow football fans and NFL scouts for two more years before leaving as a wealthy man.
But for Alabama, there will be others to take his place. There always are.
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