Rematch of the Century & BCS Controversy: How LSU and Alabama Could Meet Again
A 9-6 game in Tuscaloosa was far from the contest many were expecting. LSU and Alabama both have defenses with plenty of future NFL-players, which made a shootout far from a possibility. However, the fact that no touchdowns were scored comes as a big surprise.
It lived up to the hype as far as how competitive it was from the opening kickoff, but few would have expected a collegiate version of a Baltimore Ravens-Pittsburgh Steelers. This was the ugly duckling of the Game of the Century, where turnovers were celebrated like touchdowns in Bryant-Denney Stadium.
LSU is now 9-0 and remains the number one team in the nation, followed by unbeaten Oklahoma State and Stanford. Alabama only slipped to number four and remains ahead of Boise State in the BCS Rankings. A rematch of the Lucha in Tuscaloosa is already being talked about among fans as the 2012 BCS National Championship Game.
There's a great chance of LSU and Alabama both finishing the season in New Orleans. One team will likely end up in the Sugar Bowl on January 3rd and the other in the national title game on January 3rd.
However, any chance of a rematch or Alabama making it to Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game may hinge on the outcome of several important matchups over the last four weekends of the college football season.
No matter what happens, two likely outcomes are taking shape.
The SEC is well on its way towards a sixth straight national title and BCS Controversy is once again on the way.
The Bedlam Series
Before Oklahoma's 41-38 loss at home against Texas Tech, the 2011 edition of the Bedlam Series on December 3rd was being billed, as the other semifinal for the BCS National Championship Game. While this matchup wont occur between unbeaten teams, the winner has a great chance of facing LSU in New Orleans.
Oklahoma State is 9-0 for the first time since 1945 (back when the school was in the middle of a Final Four title repeat and known as Oklahoma A&M), will be assured of a title shot if they beat their in-state rival.
If Oklahoma wins they will certainly move ahead of Boise State in the rankings, but the Sooners chances of going to the BCS title game will be determined by the outcome of big game in the Pac-12.
Also, Oklahoma was a 28-point favorite against un-ranked Texas Tech and lost by three points. Alabama lost by three points to the top team in the land. This is something that could be used against them if a one-loss team is going to be included in the championship game.
If Oklahoma State loses and Stanford beats Oregon on November 12th, Andrew Luck and the Cardinal will be in the drivers seat for an appearance in the BCS National Championship Game. The winner of this will take the Pac-12 North and is presumably the conference champion.
A Stanford loss opens the door for a lot possibilities. It puts Oregon in a great position to go to a BCS game, but not necessarily the title game.
Enough people have already expressed their displeasure for an LSU-Alabama rematch in the national championship, despite the game be deciding by a field goal (or field goals for that matter). There would be even less of a chance for an LSU-Oregon rematch in New Orleans, after the Bayou Bengals 40-27 win in Dallas on the opening weekend of the season.
A bigger controversy could emerge if Stanford and Oklahoma State lose and a certain unbeaten is once again denied a shot at the title.
Boise State has gone 46-2 since the start of the 2008 season and is on its way to sixth consecutive double-digit win season. Kellen Moore and the Broncos went 14-0 in 2009 and finished fourth in the nation. They were on the hunt for the title late in to last season, but failed to even make a BCS game after a loss to Nevada in their regular season finale.
If the Broncos remain unbeaten and LSU is the only unbeaten school fron a BCS conference, Chris Peterson and his squad may finally get their national title opportunity.
However a 12-0 record, in addition to losses from Oklahoma State and Stanford still may not be enough to get the broncos over that hurdle.
There would be arguments over whether an unbeaten Boise State is more worthy of a BCS National Championship Game appearance over the likes of a one-loss Alabama, Oklahoma or Oklahoma State.
The Crimson Tide, Sooners and Cowboys play in the two best conferences in college football and would have a solid argument to be included over an unbeaten school from a non-BCS conference.
Boise State may not be the only unbeaten team from a non-BCS conference this season. Sixth senior Case Keenum has put himself in the Heisman conversation and Houston in BCS contention with his record setting performances. A LSU/Alabama rematch is more likely to happen than Houston making the national title game, but the Cougars will still be in great position for a January bowl game if they remain unbeaten and win Conference USA.
However, a BCS game probably won't happen if there are multiple one-loss teams in the SEC, Pac-12 and Big 12. Unfortunately for Keenum and the Cougars, Houston is not a Big East member at the moment.
Penn State quietly went 7-1 during the first two months of the season, with their only loss (27-11) coming against Alabama in their second game. The Nittany Lions are 5-0 in conference play, but this has lot to with their relatively easy schedule, similar to Kansas State before they faced Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
Joe Paterno and his team may have an outside chance at the BCS Championship Game if some of the remaining unbeaten teams lose and they can get through their remaining slate on their schedule without a loss (home against Nebraska, at Ohio State and at Wisconsin).
If the Nittany Lions manage to get through that tough three game strength, they will likely Michigan or Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship Game. A Rose Bowl appearance alone is a tall order with that schedule.
An 11-1 Nittany Lion team could have an argument for a national championship appearance, but this is the same team that barely beat Indiana on the road (16-10) and Illinois at home (10-7).
Big 12 South in 2008
In 2008, Oklahoma, Texas, and Texas Tech each finished the regular season with a 7-1 conference record and none held a tiebreaker over the year. Texas beat Oklahoma, Texas Tech beat Texas and then Oklahoma beat Texas Tech.
The Big 12 South winner was determined which school had that highest BCS ranking. Oklahoma was ranked number two, giving them the division title and a conference championship appearance.
The same scenario could happen this year in the SEC West which would assure BCS chaos and controversy yet again.
Battle for the Golden Boot
The LSU/Alabama was being hyped as a de facto national championship game, but even with a 9-6 win, Les Miles and the Tigers are still not assured of a trip to Atlanta or New Orleans for that matter.
They finish their regular season at home against the Arkansas Razorbacks, who have beaten them three times in the last four years.
An LSU victory would clinch the SEC West and a subsequent win over Georgia or South Carolina in the SEC Championship will give them a BCS title opportunity.
However, a loss against the Razorbacks would completely alter the BCS National Championship Game discussion. It could open up the door for Alabama to go to Atlanta or even Arkansas, if the Crimson Tide suffer a loss in the Iron Bowl.
If LSU loses to Arkansas and doesn't make the SEC Championship Game, it will add fuel to the fire for the possibility of a rematch against Alabama in the BCS National Championship Game.
And if there are three SEC West schools with an 11-1 record at the end of the regular season, someone will get the shaft because not all of them can go to a BCS Bowl.
However, many Arkansas fans would be probably be happy with a Cotton Bowl appearance if this scenario happens.
Apollo Creed: Ain't gonna be no rematch.
Rocky Balboa: Don't want one.
Many Alabama fans feel a rematch is out of the question and even if its a possibility, most LSU fans would prefer to see someone else in the BCS National Championship Game.
Creed and Balboa did eventually have their rematch, but a Crimson Tide and Bayou Bengals do-over is out of the question at the moment with other teams still unbeaten.
Oklahoma made the national title game in 2003 after a loss against Kansas State in the Big 12 Championship Game, however, no team has ever made it to the BCS National Championship Game without at least appearing in their conference championship game.
Many argued for an Ohio State and Michigan rematch in 2006 for the national title game after the Buckeyes won 42-39, that never became reality.
However, their have rematches before between No. 1 and No. 2.
In 1996, #2 Florida State beat No. 1 Florida 24-21 in the regular season finale for both teams. The Seminoles and Gators met in a rematch six weeks later, which third ranked Florida won 52-20.
Although that rematch occurred before the formation of the BCS, their is a first time for everything in college football.
BCS Controversy and losses from other un-beatens could pave the way for the Rematch of the Century. Who knows, someone might score a touchdown in that game.