It’s July in SEC country, and visions of sugarplums…er, magical seasons…dance in the heads of every SEC football fan.
But nowhere is that magic more mythical than in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
It’s said that necessity is the mother of invention, and nowhere in America was it more apparent that a quarterback was needed to wear purple and gold than in the Superdome last January.
But the invention…the idea that Zach Mettenberger, who hasn’t taken a meaningful college snap, of any kind, is going to save the world and lead LSU to a title is baffling. Even in Les Miles country, where baffling happens every day.
I remember when Tim Tebow graduated. I honestly heard a radio interview with a member of the Florida media saying that John Brantley, at the time Tebow’s backup, “might honestly be better than Tim Tebow”, and was the second best quarterback in the country the year before. We see how that turned out.
Long story short, it is utterly amazing the premium we humans place on “the unknown.” Nowhere is this more apparent that in sports, when we so desperately want something to be true. I don’t mean to get all philosophical, especially on a Saturday, but where have all the reasonable people gone?
I have no doubt that Mettenberger will be good; programs like LSU get good quarterbacks. But if he were better than what they had, wouldn’t he have made an appearance in New Orleans a few months ago? It is proposterous to think a team would hold anything…ANYTHING…back when the crystal football is on the line.
When Alabama played Texas for the first of their National Championships in the last three years, it was well-documented that if something happened to Alabama’s starting QB Greg McElroy, Alabama head coach Nick Saban’s next option was to burn the redshirt off of AJ McCarron and put him in the game. In game 13 of a 13-game season.
And yet, last January, with the walls of LSU’s season finale burning down around them, Mettenberger stood on the sidelines, without so much as a sweatbead gathering on his forehead throughout the game.
He has never faced a 3rd and 16 on the road. He has never had to take a snap after throwing a pick the last time he touched the ball. He has never been drilled by an SEC linebacker. And he has never faced the complexity of a Nick Saban defense…the kind of complexity that still has Jarrett Lee in a fog.
Jordan Jefferson could have been a spokesperson for Depends after the BCS game.
So save me the notion that Mettenberger is the answer. Don’t bother telling me that he’s the difference in Nov. 3’s latest game of the century.
With few exceptions, Nick Saban has made a living devouring top quarterbacks in his time at Alabama. And we’re not even sure yet that Mettenberger is a top quarterback.
But that doesn’t mean that if LSU’s QB completes eight passes in a row some restaurant in Baton Rouge won’t add the “Metten-Burger” to its menue. We tend to worship potential saviors for our football teams in the south by doing stupid things like that.
I’m just not convinced that the dish won’t sour by the time Bama comes to eat in November.