ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 4: Kelvin Sheppard #11 of the LSU Tigers tackles Johnny White #34 of the North Carolina Tar Heels at the Georgia Dome September 4 2010 in Atlanta Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
I really am at a loss for words right now -- which, as those who read the blog know, is a pretty rare condition for me.
But it's difficult to find a way to do justice to the purported football game that took place Saturday night in the Georgia Dome. If it wasn't satire or a dadaist interpretation of football, i have no idea what it was.
Keep in mind that LSU led 30-10 after the first half before allowing North Carolina to score 14 unanswered points, one on a 97-yard TD pass and another -- on the next drive, following a three-and-out by LSU -- on a 67-yard drive that featured more slants than I think I've ever seen successfully completed in a single series.
Then ... well, what happened next would not be believable had I not seen it myself. North Carolina recovered a controversial on-sides kick and fumbled on fourth down with 1:29 left. All LSU needed to do was run out the clock, simple clock management -- yeah, you can see where this one is going, can't you? On third down, LSU's Stevan Ridley rushed for the first down -- and promptly fumbled. North Carolina got all the way to the LSU 6 before two would-be touchdown passes hit the turf.
And already we have seen the "Les Miles is a bad football coach" meme re-emerge, with more credible evidence than ever to support it. (Certainly more than the ridiculous "Give UNC credit for not quitting Saturday night" meme that ignored the Tar Heels' responsibility for every problem they faced before and during the game.) If a win in Atlanta was supposed to give Miles some job security, it was only because no one saw a win that looked like this. We should have, this being Miles and LSU. But no one really thought it would be quite that obviously incompetent.
Not that some of his colleagues didn't see their teams play even worse Saturday. Ole Miss lost to Jacksonville State from the FCS. And Florida's win against Miami (OH) was one of the worst 22-point victories I've ever seen.
It was a long day for the SEC. But if some of these teams don't fix their obvious issues, it will just be the beginning of a very long season.