The LSU Tigers downed the Arkansas Razorbacks 41-17 on Friday, ending any discussion over who will be playing for the West in the SEC championship game.
The Alabama Crimson Tide sit in second place in both the SEC and BCS, with their only loss coming in overtime to the No. 1 LSU Tigers.
All of this is known.
What's still left unknown is whether or not the No. 2 Crimson Tide can take care of their last opponent—the No. 24 Auburn Tigers on Saturday in Auburn. If they do, Alabama will stay at No. 2 but with a legitimate shot at a national championship rematch with their counterpart, LSU.
There have been many articles with titles such as "Why Alabama Doesn't Deserve a Rematch" or "Why an LSU-Alabama Rematch is Bad for College Football," all of which argue against the aforementioned scenario.
I'm here to set the record straight with the reasons why Alabama and LSU deserve to play each other in New Orleans for the BCS national championship.
FSU and UF have been bitter rivals for decades.
In 1996, arguably the most interesting chapter of this rivalry occurred with national championship implications.
No. 1-ranked Florida was downed by the No. 3-ranked FSU Seminoles 24-21 in the second to last week of the season.
Florida would finish out as SEC champs, jumping back up to No. 3 in the rankings.
Guess who their bowl opponent turned out to be? The No. 1-ranked FSU Seminoles in the Sugar Bowl.
Coming off a big win against their rivals, would the FSU Seminoles be an easy lock to win the championship?
The Gators rolled in stomping FSU 52-20 in what turned out to be the national championship game, walking away with the 1996 title.
Before anyone jumps down my throat by saying, "This was pre-BCS! It isn't the same!", hear me out. It's the same.
Florida lost in the regular season, played against the team that beat them, then beat them for the national championship crown.
This debunks several arguments.
First, that a rematch shouldn't be given to a team that lost in the regular season to that team.
It can be given (there is no rule against it), and it has been given.
Second, that a rematch would be the same 9-6 OT "snoozefest" (if you find that kind of football boring) between LSU and Alabama.
The first margin of victory for FSU in 1996 was three points. The score margin of the rematch turned out to be 32 points, AND the victor wasn't the same. You do the math.
I don't want to just throw out that phrase without backing it up, so I'm going to break this down.
LSU is the No. 1 team in the country, blowing out every opponent by double-digits, save one.
The Crimson Tide are in the same boat, beating all of their opponents by at least double-digits, except for one.
You see where I'm going with this. Alabama is the only team so far to not only force the score margin against LSU to single digits but also to run the game into a nail-biting overtime.
But it isn't just the three-point difference between these two teams that I want to discuss. It is the uncanny similarities between each team's victories over similar opponents.
LSU and Alabama have both played Arkansas, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Mississippi State and Florida.
Here's the breakdown for each win.
|Florida (Home)||41-11||+30||Florida (Away)||38-10||+28|
|Arkansas (Home)||41-17||+24||Arkansas (Home)||38-14||+24|
|Mississippi State (Away)||19-6||+13||Mississippi State (Away)||24-7||+17|
|Ole Miss (Away)||52-3||+49||Ole Miss (Away)||52-7||+45|
|Tennessee (Away)||38-7||+31||Tennessee (Home)||37-6||+31|
With that, the difference in total score margin between these two schedules comes down to just two, yes two points in LSU's favor.
When you consider there are hundreds of points, plays and variables that occurred in just these 10 football games, it's pretty remarkable that the margin is this close.
Actually it isn't remarkable, it's downright freaky.
If any team were to challenge LSU, it would be Alabama.
There were many, many arguments against this rematch two weeks ago.
Now, there isn't a team left that has proved itself like Alabama and LSU have.
Oklahoma State lost an embarrassing OT game to a unranked Iowa State.
Oklahoma lost their second game to a lowly (minus RGIII) Baylor team after already losing to an abysmal Texas Tech team.
Boise State lost to an unranked TCU.
Oregon lost to a very good USC team after they were blown out by LSU in the first game of the season.
Stanford lost at home to the same Oregon team.
Arkansas just shot their chance.
Virginia Tech is the only other one-loss team in the nation that hasn't had something go terribly, terribly wrong in the past two weeks. But three-point wins against a 6-5 UNC team and a 6-6 Miami team is not going to compete with either LSU or Alabama.
Simply, and as eloquently as possible, there isn't anyone left that has proven to be able to compete at a national championship level besides LSU and Alabama.
As badly as it will pain many college football fans, two SEC teams will play in the BCS national championship game, and it will be completely and utterly justified.