BCS National Championship 2011: LSU, Alabama Make History
College fans tuned into ESPN Sunday night for an historic announcement: Two teams from the same conference are set to play for the Bowl Championship Series National Championship Game.
LSU clinched its spot with a 42-10 win in the SEC Championship game in Atlanta over a determined Georgia Bulldogs club that had won 10 straight.
Alabama sat at home as LSU pulled out that win, and then watched later as Oklahoma State dismantled rival Oklahoma 44-10 in Bedlam.
The Final BCS Standings were revealed on an ESPN special program, with LSU, the consensus No. 1, being revealed first. Then they counted down from No. 10.
When Oklahoma State's name was called as the No. 3 team, the College Football Nation knew that the SEC would control the BCS National Championship Game.
The possibility of a rematch seemed slim one month ago, but a series of unfortunate events led to the first-ever rematch for the BCS title and the first-ever BCS title game featuring two teams from the same conference.
Critics of the BCS System have cited the alleged bias to Automatic Qualifying teams as a reason for a playoff, but tonight they have changed their tune.
Which team should be playing LSU for the National Championship?
Now instead of lining up behind the Boise States and the TCUs, they are lining up behind an Oklahoma State team that finished 12-1 and right outside the title game. Really though, the Cowboys only have themselves to blame for losing to a 6-6 Iowa State team on the road.
Alabama's only blemish was to the No. 1 team in the land, a loss that was significantly better than Oklahoma State's.
As ESPN has done incessantly for the past few weeks, let's compare the resumes of the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Oklahoma State Cowboys:
Alabama Crimson Tide
Record: 11-1 (7-1)
Best Win: No. 6 Arkansas (10-2)
Worst Loss: No. 1 LSU (13-0)
W vs. BCS Top 25: 3 (No. 6, No. 22, No. 25)
W vs. .500+: 6
FBS Opp. Record: 74-59 (.556)
Oklahoma State Cowboys
Record: 11-1 (8-1)
Best Win: No. 8 Kansas State (10-2)
Worst Loss: Iowa State (6-6)
W vs. BCS Top 25: 4 (No. 8, No. 12, No. 14, No. 25)
W vs. .500+: 8
FBS Opp. Record: 81-63 (.562)
Alabama has the advantage in the best-win and worst-loss (only loss) categories, but Oklahoma State has an advantage in the Wins vs. BCS Top 25 and Wins vs. .500+ teams. The FBS opponent category is a draw.
So, which categories are more important? Well, that differs by voter as well as computer ranking.
I firmly believe that Alabama is the second-best team in the country, and I most likely would have placed them at No. 2 on my ballot. However, Oklahoma State may be more deserving of the berth since their strength of schedule is marginally better, though that loss looks really bad.
This means that the SEC will get a loss in the BCS National Championship Game, adding a blemish to the perfect record through seven previous games.
But maybe the historical achievement outweighs the guaranteed blemish.
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