Ok, I know this subject is hotly contested, if not outright opposed. The BCS Title game is tonight. Somehow two months later we get to see LSU play Alabama again. Perhaps Alabama and LSU are the two best teams in the country, perhaps they are not. One thing is certain, there is only team left without a loss, so that team is an easy pick for the title game. The other team though, they didn’t even win their half of their conference, the SEC West, therefore they didn’t qualify to play for their own conference championship. So, they lose to LSU at home, didn’t win the SEC West, didn’t even play in the SEC Championship game, and 5 weeks after the regular season ends, they get to play for the championship? Isn’t that like the Red Sox losing in the Wild Card race, missing the playoffs and not playing for their League (conference) Championship, and then after the League Championship Series’, the Red Sox are voted into the World Series because they had as good a record as the Cardinals, and of course they played in the American League East, regarded as maybe the best division in baseball, so they get to play for the title?
Now, I have to disclose that I am a huge LSU fan. I have been since I was twelve years old. In 2007 I was happy when LSU was given the chance to play for the National Title with two losses, even though Kansas (11-1) and Hawaii (12-0) had better records going into the Bowl games. Even though I was happy, I don’t think it was the right answer. Without a playoff system in place, all we can ask is that each team in America play their schedule, the tougher the better, win their games, win their conference, and the best teams/records advance to the Bowl games. Even with that we wouldn’t have a clear picture each year of who should be playing in the title game, but we would know who shouldn’t be in it.
This year, I believe Houston, Boise State, Stanford, Oklahoma State, and Alabama all entered the Bowl season with just one loss each. Of these teams, only Oklahoma State won their conference championship. Boise State had one loss but they don’t play a conference championship game, and their one loss was to TCU in conference play. So, the only one of those teams to lose to LSU is also the team that gets to play them again for the National Championship? I know all conferences are not equal. No sport has equal conferences or divisions, but they all seem to be able to arrive at a clear-cut champion, except for NCAA Football.
I will be cheering for LSU tonight, first because they are my team. They were my team when Nick Saban coached them from 2000-2004. They were my team when Saban left LSU high and dry at the end of the 2004 season. They were my team when LSU lost to Iowa in the Capital One Bowl at the end of the 2004 season and Saban came across like he couldn’t care less as he was headed for the not-so-green pastures of the NFL. I don’t know Saban, and I don’t know Les Miles, maybe they are both great people. I do know that I don’t like when any coach thinks of himself as, acts in a way that would be perceived to be, outwardly presents an image that is, bigger than the game. First there has to be a game before there are coaches. Then there are players before there are coaches. Without the game and the players the coaches would just be two people having a conversation, and how big is that? It isn’t big.
I kind of like the way Linda Robertson summed up tonight’s game in her piece, “Monday’s Alabama-LSU sequel even less exciting” from the other day. As I said, LSU is my team and I will be pulling for them tonight. I will also be cheering for a clear-cut National Champion in NCAA Football this season. If Alabama happens to win then we will have LSU and Houston at 13-1; and Oklahoma State and Alabama at 12-1. LSU and Oklahoma State will still be the only teams here with a conference title, and Houston at least played in their conference championship. What a mess. So, as they say, Geaux Tigers!