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LSU vs. Alabama: Brave Prediction on Bayou Bengals SEC West Providence

BATON ROUGE, LA - OCTOBER 22:  A player warms up in front of a detail of the logo on the field of the LSU Tigers prior to the the game against the Auburn Tigers at Tiger Stadium on October 22, 2011 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Lake CruiseAnalyst INovember 2, 2011

Could the LSU Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide end up facing one another in the 2012 BCS National Championship Game? By rule, the top two teams in the final BCS Standings shall play in it.

Will the loser of this weekend’s Tigers-Tide battle drop out of the BCS championship portrait? I can envision a scenario where if Alabama loses, they remain at No. 2 in the BCS.

If No. 1 LSU loses, then I can foresee them dropping to No. 2 while Alabama becomes No. 1. In other words, in the big BCS picture, does it even matter which team wins this battle for SEC West superiority?

Repeatedly, over the last few years, the SEC has been hailed as college football’s superior conference. This year adds an exclamation point with four teams—LSU, Alabama, Arkansas and South Carolina—ranked in the BCS top 10 this week.

It makes me wonder if the SEC is really that good or if the there is a bias. Without a doubt, the conference is excellent. SEC schools have won the last five national championships.

That fact gives all the more credence to suspicions about reasons for a possible bias being executed, whether or not it’s subliminal or unconsciously being perpetrated. It’s not out of the question that the BCS and other polls are SEC-biased.

There are, however, good reasons for the superlatives and honors being heaped on the conference. At (8-0, 5-0 SEC), both LSU and Alabama are undefeated and have defeated heavyweight teams this season.

TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 22:  The Alabama Crimson Tide enter the field to face the Tennessee Volunteers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 22, 2011 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Crimson Tide rolled over Penn State, and I listed the Nittany Lions as the No. 1 team in my Big Ten power rankings this week. LSU Bayou-Bengalled the Oregon Ducks in the first game of this season for both teams.

Moreover, the closest team to LSU and Alabama in the SEC West is BCS No. 7 Arkansas (7-1, 3-1). The Razorbacks can’t watch this game because they’re playing at the same time against No. 9 South Carolina. The Gamecocks are on top in the SEC East.

Further, if Alabama and LSU were to face one another in the national championship game, then it would be a BCS first. Not even the Game of the Century between Nebraska and Oklahoma can boast the end product this weekend’s Tide-Tigers game could have.

All that said, though, the SEC West standings ramifications are also huge. Arkansas could upset the plot by winning out; they play LSU on Nov. 25 in Baton Rouge. Alabama, meanwhile, still has to face Mississippi State and Auburn with Georgia Southern sandwiched in between.

If the Razorbacks win out, then that opens up a new scenario where they could end up No. 1 and LSU or Alabama No. 2. In their own rematch after this weekend’s festivities, Arkansas could also face South Carolina at New Orleans in December’s SEC Championship Game.

Confused? The BCS could be.

Let’s get back to first things first; this Saturday Tuscaloosa will be rolling with Crimson Tide fans looking to tame the visiting Bayou Bengals.

Trent Richardson has been on a roll with 100 yards rushing games. He’s performed like the nation’s top-notch tailback—something LSU has been lacking this season.

BATON ROUGE, LA - OCTOBER 25:  Members of the LSU Tigers Golden Band from Tiger Land perform during their football game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Tiger Stadium on October 25, 2008 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Dave Martin/Getty Images)
Dave Martin/Getty Images

The Tigers make up for it with depth and defense. Hit by scandal, player suspensions and distractions, they were able to turn negatives into positives due to their bench strength. If they can force Alabama to pass the ball, then I like LSU’s chances in this one.

On the other hand, if Alabama can do the same to LSU, then I like the Tide’s prospects. I believe it will come down to battles of wills and a last second finish.

To be sure, this game could provide a visual rendering of the national title game. Foreshadowing college football’s version of NCAA basketball’s finals, without a tournament, LSU-Alabama could very well be the BCS National Championship Game.

Finally, I’ll give you my forecast for the winner of this weekend’s matchup.



In some people’s opinions, including mine, it doesn’t matter who wins this game. Their BCS rankings could flip-flop, but they’ll still be Nos. 1 and 2.

In any case, this will be a battle of blockbuster ramifications. The BCS No. 1 is on the line along with SEC Championship Game inside tracks.

The combatants have crossed tracks with certain teams this season. Their common opponents are Florida (38-10, Alabama; 33-23, LSU) and Tennessee (34-0, Alabama; 38-7, LSU).

Impressively, LSU beat five teams who were in the top 25 when they played: Oregon, Mississippi State, West Virginia, Florida and Auburn. Alabama beat three: Penn State at Beaver Stadium, Arkansas in Tuscaloosa and Florida at The Swamp.

The wins over Mississippi State and West Virginia came away from home for LSU’s Bayou Bengals. On Saturday, eyes of the Tigers will try to strike fear into a top 25 team for the third time on the road this season.

Alabama, however, will not be intimidated by the big, bad and visiting Bengals. The Crimson’s defense will prevail and help to deliver the Tide a 24-23 win.

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