BCS Controversy: Scenarios for 2007 Bulldogs and 2011 Crimson Tide Are Different
Only three weeks after LSU defeated Alabama 9-6 in Tuscaloosa in a matchup that was billed as the "Game of the Century," a "Rematch Of The Century" in the BCS National Championship Game seems all but guaranteed.
The Bayou Bengals and Crimson Tide are the unanimous No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the latest AP Poll and are both respectively atop of the BCS standings.
Any chance of rematch seemed out of the question after the hard-fought defensive battle, but upsets suffered by top ranked teams all over the country put Nick Saban and Kirby Smart's squad in position for a grudge match with Les Miles and his team.
Plenty of fans have expressed their displeasure about a potential LSU-Alabama rematch in the national title game with arguments ranging from how boring the first game was to how undeserving a team is of a making it to the BCS National Championship Game without winning their conference, let alone appearing in the conference championship game.
This latter argument applies to many Georgia fans who think that Alabama shouldn't appear in the national title game because of what happened to the Bulldogs in 2007.
However, the circumstances surrounding Georgia in 2007 are quite different from the scenario this season that will likely result in Alabama going to the BCS National Championship Game.
The 2007 Bulldogs were not consistently ranked as one of the top teams in the nation. That Mark Richt-led group was ranked No. 13 in the preseason and at one point fell to No. 24 in the AP Poll.
They went 11-2 and finished the year ranked second behind LSU, after dominating Colt Brennan and Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl 41-10.
Their two losses came in regular season SEC East play against unranked teams. This eventually kept them out of the conference championship game. The Bulldogs lost at home to South Carolina 16-12 and on the road at Tennessee 35-14.
Alabama was ranked second in this year's preseason and was a clear national title contender throughout the season, even after their 9-6 overtime home loss to No. 1 LSU. The Crimson Tide only fell to third place in the BCS standings and fourth in the AP Poll after their close loss to the top ranked team in the nation.
Not to mention their defense leads the nation in every major statistical category and their offense is led by Heisman front-runner Trent Richardson.
2007 was a year of parity unlike any other in recent memory. Upsets on what seemed like a weekend basis constantly changed the poll rankings and BCS standings throughout the year. Enough upsets involving top five teams occurred that by the end of the regular season, a two-loss team was in position for a national title game appearance.
After starting out with a 4-2 record, Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno helped the Bulldogs finish the year with a six game winning streak and rise to No. 4 in polls on Nov. 25, 2007.
1. Missouri 11-1
2. West Virignia 10-1
3. Ohio State 11-1
4. Georgia 10-2
5. LSU 10-2
Despite their strong finish, Georgia didn't make it to Atlanta as the SEC East representative. Instead it was Tennessee, who held the tiebreaker against Georgia because of the Volunteers regular season win.
A Missouri loss to Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship Game and a shocking loss by West Virginia against Pittsburgh had many Bulldog faithful expecting a trip to New Orleans for a title shot.
Instead, losses by the top two teams moved an idle Ohio State to the top spot and wins in their conference championship games moved LSU and Oklahoma to the second and third spots respectively. Georgia's ranking remaining the same a week later on Dec. 2.
1. Ohio State 11-1
2. LSU 11-2
3. Oklahoma 11-2
4. Georgia 10-2
5. Virginia Tech 11-2
Many Georgia fans felt robbed by a championship opportunity and still do, but it was very unlikely a two-loss Bulldogs team was going to move up the rankings without playing in a conference championship game that season. Ohio State may not have played in a conference championship game either, but the Buckeyes had fewer losses than Mark Richt's team.
Is this year's Alabama team more deserving of a BCS Championship Game appearance than the 2007 Bulldogs?
LSU had two losses like Georgia but the Bayou Bengals had an extra win because of their conference championship game. Both of their blemishes (which did occurred when they were ranked first) came in tripe overtime. The first on the road against an 18th ranked Kentucky team and the other in Baton Rouge against an Arkansas team led by eventual Heisman runner-up Darren McFadden.
Had Georgia not lost to South Carolina and/or Tennessee, the SEC Championship Game that year against LSU may have been a play-in for the national title game.
A two-loss team may not make the BCS National Championship Game again, but a similar string of upsets in recent weeks have opened the door for Alabama to have a rematch against LSU.
The possibility of this occurring has many Bulldog fans upset because some still feel the 2007 team was kept out of the BCS National Championship Game for not winning their conference.
Some fans may argue that voters had a bias against a non-conference winning Georgia team playing in the BCS National Championship Game, but this appears to be far from the case in 2011 for an Alabama team that is currently the unanimous No. 2 team.
There is no rule that prevents a non-conference winner from playing in the national title game or a rule that prevents a team from falling in the rankings despite not having any games left on their schedule, as was the case with Michigan in 2006 and Georgia in 2007.
The 2011 Alabama Crimson Tide won't be SEC champions, but they will still have a chance to be crowned national champions even though that opportunity would come against a team they have already lost to.
While this may seem unfair to Georgia fans and supporters of other college football teams, the circumstances surrounding the 2007 Bulldogs and this year's Crimson Tide are quite different.
There was a slim chance that a two loss team that didn't win their conference was going to make it to the BCS National Championship Game over a two loss team (from the same conference) that was a conference champion and a one loss team that finished first in their conference.
A three-point home loss against the top team in the nation is far more impressive than two losses against unranked teams.
The 2011 Crimson Tide (11-1) are more deserving of a BCS National Championship Game appearance than the 2007 Georgia Bulldogs (10-2) were.
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