Randy's rambling thoughts

No to a rematch, who I think LSU's MVPS are this season and nod to a job well done by the Mad Hatter

Some rambling thoughts as we all try to steer through a week with A LOT less intensity than the one that ended in Tuscaloosa …

  • Been asked a few times this week if by leaving Alabama ranked No. 2 in my AP Top 25 ballot that means I think the Crimson Tide would deserve a rematch.

    No, I don't. But I certainly think it could happen.

    I think Bama is still the second-best team in the country, a shade behind LSU because there wasn't a reliable kicker in a red jersey last Saturday. I also think the Tigers and Tide are a cut above anybody else in the country this season in terms of being a complete team.

    The two defenses are head-and-shoulders better. The offenses aren't as good as some others around the country by a far stretch. Special teams gives LSU and Alabama an edge as well, in large part because both coaching staffs use their top-shelf players in the kicking games.

    To say Alabama isn't still the second-best team behind LSU would diminish what the Tigers accomplished Saturday.

    Now, as for the rematch, I'd say no. Because I think the BCS Championship Game should match the two teams that have earned their way into that game. To me that will be:

    1. Whichever unbeaten teams remain that have played a bona fide BCS-level schedule – sorry Boise State and Houston.

    2. If there are a bunch of one-loss teams when the dust settles, I need to see when those losses were, who they were to and how they occurred.

    If Oklahoma State beats Oklahoma, the Cowboys could be waiting for the Tigers in the BCS Championship Game

    Alabama might well fit the criteria, but the Tide, just like Oregon, had a shot at switching places with LSU – if the Tigers make it through unscathed – and couldn't get the job done.

    Instead of Alabama or Oregon, part II, I'd rather see if a once-beaten Oklahoma State or Stanford can accomplish the task or perhaps even a one-loss Oklahoma Or how's this for a dark horse: The one-loss winner of the ACC Championship Game between Clemson and Virginia Tech. Both teams would come in with a nice head of steam, with two wins in the last month over ranked foes – the Hokies against Georgia Tech and Clemson or Clemson against South Carolina and Virginia Tech.

  • I have a Heisman Trophy vote and haven't made any firm decisions yet, but I am keeping my eye on a bunch of players (in no particular order): Alabama RB Trent Richardson, Stanford QB Andrew Luck, Oklahoma State QB Brandon Weeden, Cowboys WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma QB Landry Jones, Houston QB Case Keenum and Virginia Tech RB David Wilson.

  • No defensive players on my Heisman radar because I don't think any one player has dominated enough on that side of the ball.

    Mo Claiborne: Might be LSU's defensive and overall MVP so far this season

    There was some early groundswell for LSU's Tyrann Mathieu as a potential candidate, but I would counter that I don't think he's even the Tigers' defensive MVP.

    In fact, Mathieu – as good as he's been at times – might be the third or fourth most valuable player in LSU's secondary. To me, Mo Claiborne is the Tigers' best player (either side of the ball) and Brandon Taylor has contributed a ton in terms or leadership, being in the right place, adjusting his role and making sure other guys are as well, etc. And Eric Reid has eclipsed Mathieu as a playmaker recently.

  • Strange as it may sound, one guy giving Claiborne a run for his money for Team MVP in my book is punter Brad Wing. Could also argue he's as valuable a special teams player as there is in the country.

    Rueben Randle: Huge cog in LSU's offense this season

    Without Wing and 43.4-yard average, 12 punts of 50 yards or more and 19 downed inside the 20-yard-line, LSU might not have lost a game, but the Tigers would've been in a lot closer game at least three times.

  • As for LSU's offensive MVP, right now it's a tossup between Jarrett Lee and Rueben Randle.

    Lee, despite the meltdown in Tuscaloosa, has been a steadying presence – especially under the circumstances under which he took over. And Randle gives the Tigers a home-run threat every time he runs a route, who against any defense that's not Alabama's, will be equally as valuable as a decoy as when he's not busy snatching the ball out of the air.

    Les Miles deserves serious consideration for national coach of the year

  • As a member of the Football Writers Association of America, I'll also have a vote on one of the various Coach of the Year honors. Hard for me to think I wouldn't vote LSU's Les Miles in the top spot for the land-mine season he's guided the Tigers through this season.

    I've always thought Miles was a much better coach than his goofy personality portrays – and he can definitely be goofy – and has never gotten enough credit locally for his football knowledge and organizational skills on the national level.

    The BS about him winning with Nick Saban's players in 2007 never floated with me. Most of those players, especially the in-state guys, that Miles inherited were freshmen or redshirt freshmen who got very little direct coaching from Saban and his staff. That was Miles' team, just like the 2003 Tigers were Saban's team and the 2009 Alabama team was his.

    I digress, though. The 2011 season is perhaps the best job Miles and his staff have done, whether it winds up with another crystal ball or not.

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