BCS preview; and why Alabama deserves to be in this game

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

As a fan of college football, I cannot wait to see tonight’s national championship game between the top ranked LSU Tigers and the Alabama Crimson Tide. I expect this to be a great game, quite possibly the best national championship since Texas beat USC in 2006.

This will be the second time that the two teams have played this year. In the 13 previous BCS title games, it’s the first time that this game will feature a regular season rematch.

I firmly believe that LSU and Alabama are hands down the two best teams in the country.

Because the two teams have already played, some believe that Alabama is not deserving of a spot in this year’s national championship. I wholeheartedly disagree. I am going to address a couple of the arguments against Alabama and why I think they ultimately fail before getting into my thoughts on tonight’s contest.

Alabama didn’t even win their own conference – Not taking this year into account, in general, can we agree that it is possible that the two best teams in the country can both be in the same conference? If two teams are in the same conference, and if the point of the BCS is to match up the two best teams against one another, then aren’t those two teams the most deserving?

Teams have won the Super Bowl who didn’t win their own division. Teams have won the NCAA tournament who didn’t win their conference. No one has a problem with that.

If Alabama wins tonight, some will complain that they’re the national champions despite the fact that they did not win the SEC. But as has been noted by my good friend (who is also a sports writer) Ryan Bort, but what if college football had playoffs, and Alabama had won the tournament and were therefore the national champions? Would the same people have a problem with ‘Bama then? Of course not!

But why?

This is a fairly complicated argument, but try to follow this line of reasoning: in both scenarios, Alabama has won the national championship (without having won their conference).

So then it’s not really that you have to win the conference. People just like to use that argument because they want a playoff. If a team who didn’t win their conference won the playoff, then the best team would be a team who did not win their conference.

Stay with me: also, if the best team could be a team who failed to win their own conference, then surely the second best team could be a team who failed to win their conference. Alabama is the second best team and they did not happen to win their conference, but their lack of a conference title does not negate their right to play tonight.

It’s also not unprecedented in the BCS championship to see a team play who did not win their conference.

Really, the only way to ensure that would happen would be changing the rules of the game, because currently, it’s about finding the top two teams. Not the top two teams unless won of them failed to win their league in which case the third best team gets to play. Really, that would be the true travesty if it’s a system setup to find the two best teams and we actually had the best team play the third best team.

If you could agree that if Alabama won a national tournament, that they would rightfully be the national champions, then you must agree that it is not necessary to win your conference to be the best team in the country.

Alabama had their chance – Sure. Alabama lost to LSU during the regular season, but if they’re the second best team in the country, why is that relevant?

In the 2007 Super Bowl, the undefeated Patriots played the New York Giants, a team whom the Patriots had beaten during the last week of the regular season. As everyone knows, when it came time for the Super Bowl, since the two teams had already played, the game was automatically given to the Patriots.

Of course that’s not what actually happened. The Giants pulled the upset.

There have been multiple rematches in the Super Bowl and in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. In those cases, we don’t complain that the teams have already faced each other, so then why does it matter with college football?

We’ve seen these two teams play before, but that makes the game no less interesting. The first game was a defensive classic.

Also, let us not forget that Oklahoma State had their chance too. All that Oklahoma State had to do was hold onto a 17 point second half lead against a 4 loss Iowa State team who HAD NEVER BEFORE BEATEN A TOP FIVE TEAM, and they failed. If OK State had won a game which they should have already won, they would be playing tonight.

Also (and this is my opinion) but LSU would destroy Oklahoma State. It would be such an ugly football game. Tonight is going to give us an epic battle. We should want to see the game that we have because it’s the two best teams and it’s also the best matchup.

Prediction – Alabama and LSU had the two stingiest defenses in the country this year. Alabama gave up 8.8 points per game, and held their opponents to 10 pionts or fewer in 8 of their 12 games. Perhaps most impressively is the fact that Alabama allowed the opposition to score just nine touchdowns on them all season.

LSU allowed 10.5 points per game. Neither team allowed more than 27 points in a game this season.

On offense, both teams rely on their run game. Alabama will utilize Heisman finalist Trent Richardson. Richardson played well in the first Alabama/LSU game, but him and the rest of the Tide offense were never able to get the team closer than field goal range.

In terms of passing, both teams are efficient in the air, but ultimately prefer to run. Neither LSU or Alabama utilizes a great passing quarterback, but they’re good at distributing the ball and not causing turnovers. On both sides of the ball, these two teams are remarkably similar to one another.

Ever since the first week of the regular season in which LSU shut down a very good Oregon offense, I have been a believer in this LSU team. They were the best team in the country all year. They backed down from no one in the non conference and went undefeated in an amazingly strong SEC this year. LSU has beaten FOUR teams currently ranked in the top TEN. In a hostile environment, they beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa. They have a defense with amazing talent at the skill positions. Considering I have thought that they were the best team all season, I am going to stick with them tonight.

I won’t be surprised at whichever team wins. I expect this to be a memorable game. The only thing that would surprise me is if either team won by more than two touchdowns.

jrb

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