By: Eric SanInocencio
SEC Digital Network
Birmingham, Ala. -- As part of our continuing coverage of the All-SEC BCS Championship Game in New Orleans, we have sat down with journalists from all sides of the contest to get as much perspective as we could for the big matchup.
In today's "Q and A" installment, the Digital Network sat down with David Ubben. Ubben is the lead writer for ESPN's Big 12 blog
. Ubben joined ESPN.com in March 2010 after covering Big 12 football for two seasons at the Columbia Missourian and The Oklahoman. Ubben, a native of Springdale, Ark., lives in Dallas.
SEC Digital Network: Do you think the BCS matched up the nation’s two best teams in this title game?
A difficult question to start, eh? It depends on your perspective. LSU's the best team with the best resume. There's no debating that.
But Alabama? Are the Crimson Tide better than Oklahoma State? Yeah, I think so. But Oklahoma State played a quantitatively tougher schedule with better wins, and played outstanding every single week except the loss to Iowa State, which is absolutely as embarrassing as most want to make it out to be.
There were extenuating circumstances, yes, but it's clear OSU wasn't very focused in that game, even if the reason is 100 percent understandable. They got up 24-7 and looked like they wanted to go home. Doubt how much those people meant to those inside the football program if you must. You don't need to look any further than the Fiesta Bowl trophy podium to see that you're wrong.
So, ultimately, I don't have any huge complaints on the BCS matchup. I think OSU deserved to get in over Alabama based on the strength of its 11 regular season wins, rather than focusing solely on the losses. But I also think Alabama's a better team. Both squads have their cases. Somebody had to get left out. It's not a great injustice if either team gets left out.
The biggest consequence is the loss of an entertaining title game. Instead, we know exactly what we're going to get.
SEC Digital Network: We are in SEC country, so you can imagine the reception for this game. What is the feeling like outside of the SEC footprint in your opinion? Are people that aren’t SEC fans excited to see this matchup?
No, I really don't think folks outside SEC country are too excited for it. We've seen this game, and it wasn't very exciting. The best thing about bowl games is the contrasting styles and unpredictability of it all. There's almost no reason to believe this game will be any different.
I don't think there's any doubt that the SEC is the biggest brand in college football, so from that perspective, it will have a lot of national intrigue, but I've loved seeing two great teams with contrasting styles go head to head and seeing how it shook out, especially the radically different Big 12 teams and SEC squads..
SEC Digital Network: If you were LSU’s defensive coordinator, how would you attempt to slow down Trent Richardson?
A.J. McCarron is better than a lot of people think, so it's not real safe to just load up the box for most teams, but LSU is so talented in the secondary, they feel pretty comfortable leaving guys out on an island. Rightfully so.
You don't need to do anything too fancy. Put a whole lot of bodies in the box and use your athleticism to get in the backfield and make some stops and make sure Alabama gets in as many third-and-longs as possible. That's easier said than done, but if anyone can do it, it's LSU. These two teams have athletes on defense unlike anything else in college football this year.
SEC Digital Network: In the national scope of college football, who do you think is viewed as the better overall coach, Nick Saban or Les Miles?
The perception that Nick Saban is a genius and Les Miles is sort of a mad scientist is a little unfair. Did Miles get lucky last year? Oh yeah. But the idea that his team won in spite of him is a definitely wrong. Could he handle late-game clock situations more deftly? Yes.
But these are two of the best coaches in the game. Saban's definitely viewed as the better coach big picture, but Miles has gained a lot of respect this year for how he's kept this team rolling despite all the big distractions in the preseason and during the season, from the Jordan Jefferson suspension to the Tyrann Mathieu suspension, and having a bulls-eye on their back all season.
SEC Digital Network: What can future SEC members Texas A&M and Missouri, who you covered for your ESPN Big 12 Blog, learn about SEC play as they watch this contest next week?
They'll probably get a good idea of what kinds of athletes they'll need up front to have big, bad SEC defenses. Simply put, they don't make many of those kinds of guys in Texas. You've got to dig into Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida to find the motherload of those guys. If you had to pick one, that's the biggest reason why the SEC's had so much success. Win the line of scrimmage: win games. The SEC's won a lot. Next year, A&M and Missouri will get a front row seat to just how they've done it.