Quarterback AJ McCarron and linebacker Courtney Upshaw walk away from Alabama's latest national title victory with MVP honors, and deservedly so. Now, to reward and shun the rest of the field:
• MVP, replacement part edition: Kevin Norwood, Alabama. The sophomore wide receiver recorded stats in just four games this season, and it's telling that those games were Kent State, Penn State, Mississippi State and Georgia Southern. Thrust into a greater role tonight after the injury to No. 1 receiver Marquis Maze, Norwood led the team with 78 yards' worth of catches, including a long of 26 yards, tied for Alabama's longest reception of the night.
• Play of the game, drama masks edition: Good who's-boss fun: Maze hurtling downfield with a Brad Wing punt for a 49-yard return, upending entirely our favorite stat of LSU having allowed only six net punt return yards all season. Very bad consequence: Maze messing up his hamstring on the effort and spending the rest of the game on the sidelines.
• Play of the game, Bronx cheer edition: Jordan Jefferson, not too long after being audibly booed in a de facto home game for the national title, broke off an 18-yard run that took the Tigers from midfield to the Alabama 32-yard line, the first time LSU crossed midfield on offense all night. This valiant act, of course, was followed up by a run play that lost three yards, a five-yard penalty, two incomplete passes and a sack on Jefferson that cost LSU 10 more yards and the ball.
• Plague of the game, hat-on-a-hat edition: Grimly thrilled as all onlookers were to see Trent Richardson's fourth-quarter touchdown, even in what was effectively garbage time, I'm not crazy about Jeremy Shelley's failed extra point attempt after. I can only assume it was some sort of elaborate performance art, but after Alabama's missed kicks on Nov. 5 and tonight's previous attempts from Shelley, it was almost trite.
• Illest-used secret weapon: Remember yesterday, when we were talking about this year's Tigers being too good to need to be weird? Would it have killed them to just remember those wacky roots for one series tonight? Wing, for our money, is the best player currently wearing Bayou Bengals gear, and target="_blank">we all know he can score. Whither the whimsy, for real.
• Best numerology: Dang, ESPN, that's just spooky.
• Best fashion statement: Nick Saban rocking a popped collar for his postgame presser? Nick Saban rocking a popped collar for his postgame presser. So jaunty!
• Quote(s) of the game: "You know, we went to see the movie Red Tails last night, which I would recommend to anybody, but those guys' motto was the last plane, the last bullet, the last man, the last minute, we fight." -- Nick Saban
"HOW D'YOU LIKE THAT, MR. HATLER?" -- Nick FlyntPlushiest reward: Trent Richardson hugs an elephant