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And Another Thing

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File / Associated Press

Finally, a real football game

File / Associated Press
File / Associated Press

Perhaps the Blob is just too much a Johnny Flattop, black high-tops, defensive-line-with-colorful-nicknames kind of joint. Or maybe I just like actual football as opposed to the video-game variety.

In any case, I might be the only person in America who's looking forward to the LSU-Alabama rematch for the national title tonight, if only because nothing figures to come cheap.

Lord knows we've gotten our fill of that this bowl season, all those 48-42, 52-49, 67-56 defensive struggles. That might be entertaining if your football sensibilities were formed by Madden 2012, but if you grew up watching the Fearsome Foursome, the Purple People Eaters and the Bears' 46, it's, well, actually kind of boring in a way.

Sure, there's a lot going on out there, and the fact so many of these scorefests came down to the wire at least made things entertaining. But after awhile, one 70-yard run in which the running back isn't even touched tends to look like every other. If I wanted to watch backyard football, I'd just walk over to the park on a given Sunday afternoon.

I don't. I want to see touchdowns that are earned, not just picked up off the ground like loose change. I want to see a kid have to make a great play to get in the end zone, because a great play is the only way he's going to get there. Cheap gumball-machine scores leave me cold; running down the field and catching a 60-yard touchdown pass against skeleton-drill defense takes no special skill that I can see.

Which is why, unlike a lot of people, I don't think the first LSU-Alabama game was sleep-inducing at all, even though it was a battle of field goals. There was some great football played that night, and, unlike so much of what we've seen this season, it really was football. Blocking, tackling, covering receivers, fighting through blocks to get to the ballcarrier, all the hard business of the game we used to see before it got so easy.

Now, whether LSU and Alabama deserve to be playing in the national title game is another question, as is the question of whether the "national title game" itself is as bogus as a knockoff Van Gogh. I happen to think it is, but that's another argument for another day.

In the meantime, I'll enjoy LSU-Alabama for what it is, a great matchup perhaps signifying nothing. I'll even venture a prediction.

LSU, 17-13.

Ben Smith's blog.

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