Coming into the 2011 college football season, the national championship game was not scheduled to be played until January 9, 2012. However, the December 3 showdown between the Georgia Bulldogs and the LSU Tigers in the SEC championship game could decide the AP championship.
The LSU Tigers are on one of the more memorable runs in college football history. They have played and defeated three teams ranked in the Top Three in the nation. If they win the BCS championship game, that would make an astonishing fourth team.
Despite this difficult schedule, the Tigers are the only remaining undefeated BCS conference football team, and for the most part their games have been blowouts. LSU has an average margin of victory of 28 points.
Because of this fact, if currently ranked No. 2 Alabama, who LSU has already defeated this season, is chosen to face LSU in a rematch, the AP is likely to select LSU as its champion regardless of the outcome of the bowl game.
The reasoning for this is simple: There is no playoff series in college football. As a result, the series would be tied one-to-one this season between the two teams.
It would be absurd for Alabama to complain. Not only was it defeated by the Tigers at home, but it also has claimed multiple AP national championships at the end of the season, only to lose in its bowl game.
Many believe that LSU will overlook this game because it is a lock for the BCS championship game regardless of the outcome. However, with a win, LSU can lock up the SEC championship and a share of the national championship.
In essence, the SEC championship game has become a national championship game for LSU.
Should LSU be named the AP National Champions with a win over the Bulldogs?
This does not bode well for the Bulldogs. Yes, Georgia can beat LSU, but any unbiased observer can tell that LSU is playing at least one touchdown better than any other team in the nation right now. With Jordan Jefferson back as the starter and the defense boasting more swagger than ever, LSU is in a league of its own.
If the Tigers are able to defeat the Bulldogs, they deserve a share of the national championship if Alabama is selected. While most teams were playing Georgia Southern and Coastal Carolina for their out-of-conference schedule, the Tigers were playing Oregon and West Virginia.
The Tigers have had a remarkable season where they have defeated three teams currently in the Top 10—only one of those games was at home.
With a win, LSU can be assured of at least splitting the national championship. However, it is hard to imagine anyone beating this football team.
With a win against Georgia, LSU is no longer playing for a national championship. It will be playing to become one of the greatest football teams of all time.