Why a Game of the Century Rematch Is Bad for College Football

Kendrick MarshallCorrespondent INovember 27, 2011

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 05:  Morris Claiborne #17 of the LSU Tigers makes an interception over Brad Smelley #17 of the Alabama Crimson Tide during the second half of the game at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 5, 2011 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Let’s just play the BCS National Championship Game today.

Forget going through the exercise of waiting to see the outcome of the SEC Championship Game, the defacto Big 12 title game between Oklahoma-Oklahoma State or even if unbeaten Houston can top Southern Mississippi in the Conference USA Championship Game.

The BCS, its voters, and 99.9 percent of the press already has No.1 LSU squaring off versus No. 2 Alabama down in New Orleans for the Allstate SEC National Championship Game the second week of January.  

According to ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit, what happens next week is irrelevant to which teams play for the coveted national title. Even if LSU were somehow to lose to Georgia—by a lot—the Tigers can feel safe in booking hotel rooms on Bourbon Street.

How can a sane argument be made for staging a national championship between the so-called “two best teams” who were not even best in their own conference?

Herbstreit’s colleague Rod Gilmore said the “good will” LSU had built up with voters ensures them a birth in the SEC National title game.

Unfortunately, these two talking heads are not the only members of the “objective” media that would have expressed these thoughts.

Dennis Dodd—CBS Sports college football writer:

LSU can now afford to lose. With an SEC and national championship berth at stake next week, the nation's No. 1 team could rest its starters, mentally take the afternoon off against Georgia and still skate into New Orleans on Jan. 9 as conquering heroes. Deep down the Tigers know this.

AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 26:  AJ McCarron #10 of the Alabama Crimson Tide looks to pass against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 26, 2011 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Well, what about Alabama possibly playing for the national title without winning the SEC West or the league championship? If you ask Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated, he doesn’t mind because the Tide are so good they would have dominated every FBS conference anyway.

Here's the problem with that argument. Alabama would have won the ACC. Alabama would have won the Big East. Alabama would have won the Big Ten. Alabama would have won the Pac-12. Alabama would have won the Big 12.

When Alabama and LSU helped found the SEC in 1932, it's safe to assume they didn't envision a day 79 years in the future when their shared interests and geographical proximity would be the chief reason why they shouldn't be considered the two best teams in the countryeven though they are the two best teams in the country.

Look, I understand that LSU and Alabama are great college football teams. Both programs have earned a tremendous amount of respect throughout the regular season. However, if LSU loses, there shouldn’t be a rematch.

In fact, Alabama has no business entrenched as No. 2 either.


Let’s go to the BCS media guide for the answer, shall we?

According to the book, the Bowl Championship Series is created to match “the two top-rated teams in the national championship game.”

BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 25:   Barkevious Mingo #49 and Sam Montgomery #99 of the LSU Tigers sack Tyler Wilson #8 of the Arkansas Razorbacks at Tiger Stadium on November 25, 2011 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  The Tigers defeated the Razorbacks 41 to 17.
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Nowhere in that sentence, or in the media guide itself, does it say the “two best teams.” It also doesn’t say the two best teams from the best conference or those who have the best strength of schedule or what match-up the media would like to witness. 

Now let me tell you what has been said in regards to the national championship picture over the years by BCS supporters:

“Every game matters.”
“Every week is a playoff.”

If those are the standards, then the Tide should have been eliminated from the (regular season) playoffs after they failed to score a touchdown, and missed four field goals in their 9-6 overtime loss at home to LSU Nov 5.

If LSU loses to Georgia, no matter the score, it should be ousted as well.

That’s why many refuse to consider No.3 Oklahoma State even though the Cowboys lost on the road in overtime to Iowa State. It is why Boise State’s dream of crashing the BCS party was postponed indefinitely after they dropped a one-point decision to No. 18 TCU at home just a week following “the Game of the Century.”

It is why one-loss Stanford and Virginia Tech have no chance in hell to jump to either of the  top two spots in the BCS standings, we’re told.

One-and-done has been the mantra all along, right?

It's also possible neither LSU nor Alabama will be a conference champion, but both will be playing for the national championship. There are groups that are just fine with that because, from the start of the 2011 season, it was already determined the SEC was the undisputed best conference in America.

Short of a secession from the NCAA, there was going to be at least one SEC playing for the still mythical national championship. 

The system was supposed to reward winning. Not reward losing in OT, losing to a certain team from a certain conference or in the case of the Tide, not even winning your own division because it is perceived as tougher than the AFC North. 

Alabama won’t play another game until Groundhog Day, but it is not remotely threatened to lose their No. 2 ranking even if Oklahoma State—the school a slot below them with a digit in the loss column—steamrolls in-state rival Oklahoma next week, if you poll national columnists and TV analysts.

It will be the first time in the history of history where human beings vow not to be influenced by the last thing they see.

Apparently some arbitrary standards apply to everyone except those in the SEC West this season.


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