The Norman Transcript

National Sports

November 5, 2012

Tide is No. 1, but aura takes hit

(Continued)

NORMAN —

After the break in Los Angeles, the Ducks and Trojans just kept on rolling, but USC never did get closer than three. No surprise there.

The unexpected came in Death Valley, where LSU found its offense and picked apart an Alabama defense that has looked close to invincible this season.

The Tigers put together two touchdown drives to take the lead before AJ McCarron and the Tide rallied with their only sustained drive of the second half.

“We didn’t play our best game,” coach Nick Saban said. “But I told our guys I have never been prouder of a team.”

So what did we learn?

The Crimson Tide might not be as far away from the rest of the field as many have suspected. Its defense, thought to be impenetrable, allowed Zach Mettenberger and the LSU offense to play their best game of the season.

Mettenberger had completed 46 percent of his passes and thrown two touchdowns in four previous SEC games. He went 24 for 35 for 296 yards and two touchdowns Saturday.

Logic would dictate that if Mettenberger and LSU could find success against the Tide, maybe Oregon (or Kansas State or Notre Dame) would be able to as well. Maybe?

Alabama-Oregon seems to be the matchup most fans without a team in the hunt want to see. For what it’s worth, the Ducks gained ground on the Tide in the eyes of the oddsmakers on Saturday.

A hypothetical Alabama-Oregon BCS title game now has the Tide favored by four, according to RJ Bell of Pregame.com. It had been six.

———

GOING UP

UCLA moved up eight spots to No. 17 in the latest rankings after a 66-10 victory against Arizona.

The Bruins (7-2) have already exceeded expectations in coach Jim Mora’s first season, and the best could be yet to come for a program that usually plays little brother to USC in the crosstown football rivalry.

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