2011 College Football: Why an LSU vs. Alabama Rematch Is the Only Answer
I got an email the other day from someone desperately looking for ways to persuade anyone reading that Alabama and Louisiana State have no business playing a rematch against one another for the BCS national championship.
The author of the letter is a bright man with multiple decades of experience covering college football, so it wasn't just some Big 12 fanboy expressing his outrage.
But he couldn't have been more wrong.
Several attempts were made to put down Alabama's schedule, questioning who, other than Arkansas, has the Crimson Tide defeated.
He said Penn State (9-3) was not a marquee win, and pointed out that Auburn (7-5), Vanderbilt (6-6), Florida (6-6) and Mississippi State (6-6) hardly have sterling records.
Valid points, until you dig beyond the surface dirt.
Whether you like the idea of a rematch, I have a good idea that most of the country would agree that the Tigers and Tide are college football's two best teams. And I'd argue the Razorbacks (10-2) are among the five or seven best and probably could defeat anyone outside of LSU and Alabama.
Inarguable is the fact that the SEC has produced the last five BCS national champions.
He went on to talk about Oklahoma State winning on the road at Texas and Texas A&M, saying they were on par with any of Alabama's road wins, and beating Tulsa, saying it was a better non-conference win than any the Crimson Tide has.
Credit also was offered for beating Baylor (fair enough), and when discussing OSU's double-overtime loss to Iowa State (6-5), the Cyclones were praised because they will be playing in a bowl.
Are LSU and Alabama the two best teams in the country?
I'm going to excuse calling Tulsa a better non-conference victory than Penn State as a brain fart because he couldn't have been serious there. I'd also argue that winning in Happy Valley was tougher this year than winning at UT or A&M.
The Nittany Lions may not have much on offense, but they have an SEC-level defense, something no one—and I mean absolutely no one—in the Big 12 can claim.
The truth is, I think Arkansas, the third-place team in the SEC West, would win the Big 12 and would do it playing a style of football that offense-happy teams like Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Kansas State and Baylor embrace.
And mocking the records of Alabama's opponents really shows a neglect for the obvious.
Penn State played Alabama. Florida played Alabama and LSU. Vanderbilt played Alabama and Arkansas. Mississippi State and Auburn played all three.
Oh, and all of them are bowl-eligible, just like Iowa State (who played none of the above).
The writer of the email was passionate, and he meant well with his attempts to sway.
But he also left out that the SEC has won five straight BCS championships, and he still thinks Michigan and Ohio State should have played in the 2006 title game, leaving Florida, which eventually defeated the Buckeyes 41-14, out of the picture.
I'm not here to defend the BCS. It's flawed. It is no substitution for a playoff.
However, for now it's all we have. And LSU and Alabama are the two best we have.
Any other argument has more holes than the BCS itself.
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