If LSU wins the SEC championship tomorrow, I believe they should decline a bid to the BCS National Championship and take their rightful place in the Sugar Bowl.
Simply put, it is an injustice for Alabama to be granted a bid to play for the BCS National Championship against the team that vanquished them, the LSU Tigers. Alabama fans would say that it is an injustice, given their close overtime loss to LSU at home, if they were not granted a second chance at LSU. Are you kidding, a second chance, Bamma lost the “Game of the Century” in their own house, does that mean nothing?
On the eve of the 2011 SEC Championship game, the ESPN pundits and those swayed by their opinions want nothing more than for LSU to lose in Saturday’s battle with Georgia. How simple it would be if the Tigers were to lose their conference championship, the Tigers and Tide would still face off in the BCS National Championship. No guilt, both teams would have one loss while still finishing ranked #1 and #2. It gets messy if the Tigers win, because no matter how you slice it Alabama is being rewarded for losing the “Game of the Century”, and losing in head to head competition is not something for which one is rewarded. It seems to me that ESPN, the defacto SEC network, is looking for a way to line their pockets with greenbacks by bringing 3 SEC teams to New Orleans in January 2012.
While most would agree that if you were to remove the teams names and replace them with an A and B, then use the above scenario as a fairness test, those with scruples would agree that one team, the 13-0 team, is being shafted. So how does one deal with the situation? If LSU wins out, remaining in first place, and Alabama remains in second place, should #1 and #2 not meet in the BCS National Championship?
The purpose of the BCS is to pit #1 and #2 in a National Championship game. The BCS’s problem in 2011 is isolating a clear #2 team. If LSU is 13-0 they are clearly #1. Alabama at 11-1 is ranked #2, but number 2 is really much less clear. What is the value of being undefeated or being conference champion and facing that extra game? The value of ranking Alabama #2 shows up on Alabama, the SEC, and ESPN’s bottom line. Some will argue that some of the computers have Alabama at #2 so there is no question, but most of the computers put Oklahoma State ahead of Alabama. What about an undefeated Houston team and a conference champion Virginia Tech (12-1), how would they figure into the mix?
My beef here, a beef I share with many college football fans, is what would a rematch serve? If Alabama and LSU meet again, and LSU were to lose the rematch, how do you crown a team with an inferior record that split a two game series as national champion? As recently as 2003 LSU and USC split the national title, a sore spot in BCS history, a rematch would set the BCS for unwanted scrutiny, in short, a messy situation.
By this point, many will say it’s destiny, LSU and Alabama are headed for a rematch so live with it. I say the Sugar Bowl is the destination of the SEC Champion. In 2011, the Sugar Bowl will be the only bowl with the potential of pitting two undefeated teams against one another or at least an undefeated with a conference champion.
Imagine a victorious Les Miles post SEC Championship press conference, “Well Vern, as SEC Champions I believe that this team should defend the Sugar Bowl with a want for victory. We welcome the challenge that a quality undefeated Houston team brings. I wish nothing but the best for coach Saban and that Alabama team when they battle for victory in the BCS National Championship” (second place). This is truly a case of controlling one’s destiny, not being controlled by it, and I believe that Coach Miles is one of the few coaches with the courage to do this. For those of you reading this and saying to yourselves, well yes the Tigers could do that but they won’t, I say how sure are you of anything the Hat is going to do? It would be just like coach Miles to rip the control out of the hands of the BCS and instill hope in the hearts of college football fans nation wide. No matter how you slice it, if LSU were to defeat Houston in the Sugar Bowl and finish their season 14-0, defeating 9 different top 25 teams in the process, the Tigers would finish the season as National Champions.