As we close in on the final week of the BCS rankings, a decision must be made by the voters. Will they vote for a rematch between LSU and Alabama or will they opt for a conference champion in Alabama's place?
This decision will either bring credibility and fairness to the system, or it will set college football back 20 years.
I love the SEC as much as any journalist you will ever read or media personality you will ever listen to. But I have the obligation of warning against a rematch that will taint the college football system.
If you have followed my articles or radio programs, you know of my hatred for the BCS system. We need a playoff system and anything else is unacceptable. However, the system is not going to change anytime soon, even if this game happens.
All this game will do is injure the sport I love.
When the Crimson Tide and the Bayou Bengals squared off on Nov. 5, it was tabbed as the "game of the century." The Crimson Tide was five-point favorites going into the game in part because the game was played in Tuscaloosa.
Everything was in place for a Crimson Tide victory. A win would all but guarantee an n SEC West championship because they had already defeated Arkansas.
With 90,000 people behind them, the Tide should have had no problem defeating the Tigers, right? Wrong. LSU went on to win the game in overtime and finish the rest of their season undefeated.
Alabama had their shot, now it is time for someone else to get a turn. The Tide could have argued a mulligan if they had lost the game at LSU. However, it was at home in a perfect situation, and they were defeated.
Since that time, what have they done to show they deserve a rematch? Have their special teams gotten better? Has their quarterback improved? Did they get a star player back from injury? Have their receivers become playmakers?
The answer to all of these questions is no. They’re still bad on special teams. Their quarterback is still mediocre. They had no star players out of that game, and their receivers are still average at best.
Alabama lost this game and have given no evidence they deserve a rematch.
College basketball has a tournament. As a result, a team can lose to a team in the regular season and defeat them in the tournament. These are the rules of college basketball and everyone understands them. As a result, no one complains if they lose in the tournament.
In the FBS, however, there is no playoff tournament. We’re told that the regular season is the tournament, so there is no need for an official tournament.
This is the system we have been given for better or for worse, and in the case of the Crimson Tide, it should be the worse. They have been eliminated by LSU already this season, and this is not a double-elimination tournament.
By sending Alabama to the BCS championship game, all the rules have been broken to appease one fanbase. If Alabama deserves to be No. 2 in the nation, then rank them No. 2 after the bowl game. This is a better option than just changing the way things operate anytime we want.
No one-loss team should ever face an undefeated team that beat them in the regular season if there are other teams with equal or better resumes.
College football does not have an official playoff system in place. They most certainly do not have a playoff series in place. Alabama had their shot against LSU, and they were defeated.
What if Alabama is selected to go to the BCS championship and wins? Where will Game 3 be played? Does LSU get Game 3 at home since games one and two were played away from Death Valley?
Alabama would only need to defeat LSU once. LSU would need to defeat the Tide twice? How is that a fair and equal system?
Moreover, Alabama would get one shot to beat the Tigers once at home and one shot at a neutral field; the Tigers would never get a home game in this playoff series.
In a playoff series, the team with the best record gets the home-field advantage. What date does LSU tell the concession stands to be open? If the answer is never, than this game cannot happen.
There seems to be a general understanding that Alabama is the second best team in the nation. However, I am not convinced that this is true or false.
The whole basis of the idea that Alabama is the second best team in the nation is based off of how they have a better loss. Really? A respectable loss is better than an overall resume?
Alabama has only beat four FBS schools with a winning record. If Oklahoma State beats Oklahoma, they will have beaten seven FBS schools with a winning record.
With almost half as many wins versus teams with a winning record, what gives Alabama the better resume? Quality wins should not have less credence than quality losses. This idea is absurd.
The truth is Alabama has only beaten one team currently ranked in the Top 20. A win over Oklahoma would give the Cowboys three wins versus teams currently ranked in the Top 20.
How does a quality loss overcome that many more quality wins? Alabama might very well be the second best team in the nation. However, there is no concrete way of knowing.
All we know is Alabama and LSU played, and the Tigers won.
If Alabama and LSU face off, it sets an unwanted precedence. This would allow two teams from the same conference and division to play their rematch as a national championship game.
This opens the door for conferences to get a stronghold on the BCS championship game. For example, what if it is Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are in this predicament next season? Should a one-loss SEC team be left out so that they can have a rematch?
As an SEC fan, it would be awesome to see this happen. However, as a college football fan it allows a conference to dominate the rankings without playing outside their conference. This would be bad for college football.
This is not a case of two teams who did not play each other or a rematch of an out-of-conference game. This is two teams from the same division.
How can you be the best team in the nation and not be the best team in your division?
Alabama finished the regular season with an impressive win over the Auburn Tigers. The win secured them in the No. 2 spot for the Western Division of the SEC. Not only will they not play in the SEC championship, they will not even be awarded a divisional banner.
Rematch supporters will argue that this happens all the time in the NFL. However, there is one major difference—those sports have a playoff.
College football does not have a playoff and will not anytime in the near future. We have been told that college football does need a playoff because the regular season is the playoff.
If that is the case, then Alabama has been eliminated.
This is not where they lost to a team but have earned the right to play a team outside of their own conference for the national championship. This is a situation where they lost and would be named national champions by splitting the series.
Again, the NFL is not comparable. They have a playoff system in place. These are bowl games that are supposed to reward the best teams, not punish them.
Georgia faced the same situation in 2007. They were fourth in the BCS rankings going into championship week. They were idle because they did not win their division. LSU was behind them at No. 7. When LSU won the SEC Championship game and the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the nation lost, LSU jumped over UGA and became the new No. 2 team.
This was the correct decision by the voters because UGA did not win their division.
Put yourself in the shoes of LSU coaches and players. They went into Tuscaloosa and defeated Alabama in overtime. Their reward is an extra game to risk more fatigue and injury. It is not like their offense is going against Ole Miss. They will be facing the No. 4 defense in the nation in the Georgia Bulldogs.
Alabama, on the other hand, got defeated in their own house, and they would receive a bye week as a reward.
The voters should not be able to punish LSU for fighting through perhaps the most brutal schedule in the nation and reward Alabama for not getting the job done. This should not be a situation where the voters give Alabama the benefit of the doubt. This should be a situation where they reward the team who has proven themselves. This would be a punishment.
LSU has not only taken on their SEC schedule, but Oregon as well. They should be commended for their labors, not punished.
It is hard enough as it is to accept that college football does not have a playoff and that we never truly know who the best team is. However, we accept it because it is the system we have been dealt. We know the rules ahead of time and we abide by them.
Now we are going to change that because Alabama played LSU close at home?
The voters have turned down rematches in the past because the game had already been played. They turned away Georgia in 2007 because they did not win their division.
This current system is horrific, but an Alabama-LSU game would rob the BCS of any credibility they have left. There is nothing in the history of this system that warrants a rematch, and there is nothing on Alabama’s current resume that warrants a rematch.
Alabama is a great football team and a proud tradition. However, we should not change all of the workings of the system for them.
Alabama is a great team but their resume is severely lacking. They have two decent wins on their resume. Those two wins are against Arkansas and Penn State. Both of these teams were exposed this past week.
Penn State was defeated by Wisconsin 45-7 and had struggled to beat Temple (+4), Indiana (+6), Illinois (+3) this season. Arkansas has only beaten one decent team, and that was South Carolina without Marcus Lattimore.
Oklahoma State has beaten three Times as many current top 20 schools as Alabama and almost twice as many teams with winning records.
If Virginia Tech beats Clemson this week, they will have avenged their only loss. They are the only team, besides LSU, that can say they have beaten every team on their schedule.
Both of these teams can also declare they are conference champions.
Boise State has never been allowed to play for a national championship because of the weakness of their schedule. However, one could argue that their quality wins this season and in years past are better than Alabama’s this season.
The voters have a decision to make, will they reward a team because they played well in a defeat or reward teams that have solid resumes. We will know in just a few days.
People in favor of the rematch argue the game was a classic SEC defensive battle. While there were two great SEC defenses, most of the low scoring was because of poor execution.
I know the Alabama defense is great, Perhaps the best in the last two decades. However, the game was filled with poorly coached and executed special teams and offense.
I have seen this game once, and while it was entertaining, it would not be worth watching a second time. Supporters of the rematch will point to the SEC’s dominance in the BCS championship game as proof this game would be better.
This might be true. However, I am not interested in watching the same game twice. At least there will be some anticipation for a matchup of two different conferences.
I have seen LSU beat the Pac-12 champion. I have seen LSU beat Alabama. Bring on Oklahoma State or Virginia Tech. At least there is some mystery there.