LSU vs. Alabama: How the Tide Got the Rematch They Wanted
There's been outrage, elation, whining, cheering and disgust.
Whether you are for or against a BCS title game featuring a rematch with LSU and Alabama, you shouldn't hate the teams involved.
Yes, I'm sure many of you are tired of seeing the SEC take home the crystal football—and getting to hear that all-too-familiar S-E-C chant in stereo come January 9th probably turns your stomach—but all the Crimson Tide did was ride the system.
A system set up to stage the two best teams in the country for the national title.
A system that SEC commissioner Mike Slive wanted to tweak and provide a national semifinal of sorts, but got shot down by the Big 10, Big 12 and Big East conferences.
Despite all that, at one point Oklahoma State, Stanford, Oregon and even Oklahoma all controlled their destiny to face LSU.
So how did Alabama get back into the title game?
LSU 9 Alabama 6
First off, Alabama had to lose to get out of the national championship picture.
I'm not saying that was part of the master plan, but it happened.
Perhaps you weren't a fan of the November 5th knock-down drag-out bludgeon fest, but that doesn't matter.
The key factor was that the game was so even and so close that despite LSU's narrow victory, Alabama did not drop far enough in the ranking to warrant a national title obituary for the Tide.
Stanford and Boise State Fall
The first two dominoes to fall were Stanford and Boise State.
While both teams remained ranked behind Alabama after the Tide's loss to LSU, the feeling was that if both could go undefeated it would truly harm even a one-loss SEC team since the top-ranked team would be LSU.
It didn't matter.
Stanford was blitzed at home by Oregon 53-30 while Boise State was devastated once again by a missed field goal in its 36-35 loss to TCU.
Meanwhile, Alabama bounced back and defeated Mississippi State 24-7.
Oklahoma State solidified its second-place ranking with a total domination of Texas Tech 66-6 and Oklahoma rode the bye week into the top five.
The calendar the weekend of November 18th appeared to present a rather boring college football weekend.
There weren't many marquee games and most national title contenders seemed to have games they could sleep walk through.
Someone forgot to tell Iowa State that.
The Cyclones, four-touchdown underdogs, shocked Oklahoma State in double overtime 37-31, virtually destroying the Cowboys' shot at the title.
As if that win wasn't a big enough gift for Alabama, Oklahoma was taken down by Baylor 45-38.
To top things off, Oregon turned around and laid and egg at home, losing to USC 38-35.
Alabama defeated Georgia Southern 45-21, despite giving up 302 yards rushing against a vicious flexbone option attack.
The Crimson Tide appeared to be only a win in the Iron Bowl away from returning to the national championship game.
An Iron Bowl Beatdown
All of a sudden one couldn't tell the BCS rankings apart from the SEC standings. With the losses of Oregon, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, Arkansas found itself all the way up at No. 3.
Unfortunately the Razorbacks had to travel to Baton Rouge on Black Friday and watch as the Tigers dismantled them 41-17.
The next day Alabama went to Auburn and destroyed the other SEC Tigers 42-14 to complete their regular season at 11-1.
The Tide appeared to have a spot in the BCS title game all locked up without having to break a sweat in the SEC title game.
Oklahoma State was idle as they awaited a December 3rd game with rival Oklahoma, possibly their last chance to make a statement of some sort for the national title.
Oklahoma State: Close but No Cigar
Heading into championship weekend, Alabama seemed to be in the clubhouse.
Sitting pretty a No. 2, the Tide, barring a Georgia blowout of LSU and similar win for Oklahoma State over Oklahoma, was in the title game.
Well, Georgia was involved in a blowout, but it was at the hands of LSU 42-10.
The Cowboys, though, dominated their rival Oklahoma 44-10 and stated their case to leap Alabama for the No. 2 spot.
A very long Sunday came and went, but ultimately Alabama was able to hang on to the No. 2 spot, setting up a rematch with LSU in New Orleans.
To say that the November 5th game between the Tide and Tigers meant nothing is a ridiculous statement.
Alabama was knocked out of the national title race that night and needed a number of things to go right in order to step back in.
All of those things happened and the only blame that Oklahoma State, Oregon or Stanford can place is on themselves for failing to take care of business.
The BCS system is seriously flawed, but that's not the fault of the teams involved.