January 7, 2008

Les Miles Outcoaches Jim Tressel for the Title

To be clear, Jim Tressel had nothing to prove in this game as a coach. He has won national championships at Youngstown St., and won one for the Buckeyes as a huge underdog against Miami. He has 4 Big Ten titles and outcoached Lloyd Carr so badly that Carr resigned, even though Carr dominated Tressel's predecessor John Cooper.

But Les Miles outcoached him tonight. LSU, in a very similar manner to Florida last year, exploited formations and their speed to torch a very talented OSU defense, especially in the first half. While LSU has been creative all year, I don't remember seeing the Pistol very much. How about splitting a lineman and three receivers in a bunch wide to create the first TD? The OSU defense was guessing all night as the misdirection kept them off balance. Les Miles kept his guys calm after going down 10-0, kept his guys poised to prevent the personal fouls that plagued OSU (LSU had 4 total penalties, one an intentional delay of game and another a personal foul at the tail end of a long fumble return), and limited turnovers. How about preparing his backups so that Coleman could have a big game when Steltz went down? Even though Urban Meyer showed him the way last year, being able to follow and execute that complicated a game plan puts Les in the top tier of coaches. By the way, Nebraska's going to have a defense next year.

To be fair to Tressel, this game was primarily won in the trenches. LSU was able to stuff Wells most of the game (except for two big bursts), and on offense, LSU could run almost at will. Coaching becomes less critical when your line can move their line off the ball.

This game, and the rest of the BCS lineup, showed that strength of schedule needs to remain a critical component of the formula and maybe even become more important. The two best conferences, the SEC and Pac-10, dominated their three games. West Virginia came out of the tough Big East, played a legit schedule out of conference, and beat the pants off Oklahoma. Only Kansas and their non-existent schedule bucked the trend, but it's less meaningful since the ACC has lost 8 straight Orange Bowls. VT didn't beat anyone of note outside the ACC. I'm embarrassed to say it's time to declare the ACC is officially the worst conference with a guaranteed BCS berth.

7 Responses:

J-Red said...

Can we agree this is the real reason Les wasn't totally thrilled with the idea of coaching Michigan?

big tuna said...

No. He was thrilled with the idea. Michigan wasn't thrilled with having him come so they didn't ask.

I thought this was pretty clear.

"ben" said...

Regarding the Les mess: Like everything else, it's complicated and the truth is somewhere in between. Still, no one knows what happened.

Regarding the Big Ten vs. SEC: The SEC is better, but I reject the notion that it is on some far different level than the Big Ten, as many SEC people will continue to say now.

The only real SEC domination of the Big Ten has been OSU falling very flat in the last two title games. It's significant, but I don't see how it undoes all of the other Big Ten-SEC matchups that have included many Big Ten wins and competitive games.

Andrew said...

First off, a lot of the "outcoaching" credit goes to offensive coordinator Gary Crowton. He's the mastermind behind the stuff that kept OSU guessing.

And the health of Glenn Dorsey made a world of difference. Take him out of the game and Chris Wells runs for over 200.

I'd pick the Big 12 over the Pac 10 as the second strongest conference any day of the week.

Both conferences lost only two bowl games. And beating Indiana, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Arizona State and Arkansas is more impressive than wins over South Florida, Illinois, Maryland, and Air Force.

I'm not quite sure why West Virginia's non conference schedule would deserve any sort of acclaim -- Western Michigan, Marshall, Maryland, and East Carolina. Pick your marquee win there... a 6-7 ACC team or an 8-5 Conference USA team...

Can't lie though -- the Mountaineers play some good football.

I do agree that the ACC is definitely the worst conference with a BCS bid. Might as well put the WAC, Mountain West, or Conference USA champ in there... They couldn't do any worse, that's for sure.

Russell said...

The Big 12 certainly can make a good argument for second best this year. Having watched the ACC all year, I'm not as impressed with wins over UVA and VT as their records might indicate.

Regarding West Virginia's schedule, I consider Miss St. the best out-of-conference win (any team with a decent record in the SEC West is pretty good), and their schedule is impressive if only because they played two teams from major conferences (Maryland and Miss St). ECU's bowl victory and strong showing against VT made WVa's blowout win over them impressive as well. Compare that to Kansas's schedule.

J-Red said...

I agree that the Big 12 is better than the Pac-10, though this was an odd year with Kansas and Missouri making runs at the more traditional Red River powerhouses.

OSUJMA said...

Jim Tressel was outcoached. (OSU supporter)
1. OSU's Number 1 problem is their defense is overated. In particular, the middle linebacker Laurenitis is OVERATED. (I call him the Junior Seau of college football) I've seen him get pancaked (Illinois) and run over so many times, I thought I was watching a cartoon. He is a good tackler and should be moved to outside linebacker, but he just can't handle big offensive lineman.
2. OSU has the best running back in the country, Wells, who ran over LSU for 140 yards is rarely used after the first quarter. Instead, OSU who hasn't had a quarterback that could pass since Zwick, trys to have Boeckman pass OSU to victory. It didn't work with Troy Smith last year and it didn't work with Boeckman this year. If you have a 6'4" 250lb quarterback, who really isn't a quarterback, why would you not run him behind the behind a very good offensive line. Especially on 3rd and 1.
3. OSU outcoached again. If you have an overrated defense , you want to keep them off the field. Fortunately for OSU, we have the best running game in college football (Beano and Chris Wells) Beanie runs North-South over them and Chris runs East-West around them and gets them tired.
(Chris Wells didn't even PLAYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!)
4. Jim Tressel is trying to get one of the two top quarterback prospects in the country that can pass, so he's aware that he needs a passer. (I just can't figure out why he didn't have a 6'4" 250lb non-passer run at least on 3rd and 1s. I also hope he moves Laurenitis to his natural position of Outside linebacker.
San Diego OSU supporter. [email protected]

Summer is here and there's never been a better time to try your hand at online sports betting. Place your bets on your favorite horse with horse racing or even try your luck with your favorite football team. Enjoying sport is just a click away!