LSU plays Georgia in the SEC championship game and already some are saying the game means nothing at all since the LSU-Alabama rematch in the BCS title game appears set regardless of the SEC title outcome. I think that opinion is completely wrong. Why? Because LSU can win a share of the national title with a win over Georgia. How so? Via the AP poll, the only independent poll that hasn’t guaranteed its vote to the winner of the BCS title game. If LSU finishes the season 13-0 there can be no disputing that the Tigers are the number one team in the country. They will be a unanimous number one team in the final poll and nothing that happens in the BCS title game could make a 13-1 LSU team finish behind any other team in the AP poll.
That’s because right now LSU is the best undefeated team in the country and a 13-1 LSU team would be the best one-loss team in the country too.
Don’t believe me?
LSU has already beaten Alabama on the road. If the Crimson Tide beats LSU in a neutral site BCS “title” game, how can you make a team that lost its division, conference, and merely splits the head-to-head with a team with more and better wins, the uanamious national champion?
Put simply, you can’t.
Especially not when you consider how much stronger LSU’s overall resume would be even if it lost the BCS “title” game. The Tigers have beaten three teams in the top ten of the BCS standings. How many top ten BCS wins do the other nine teams in the BCS top ten have? Two. (Alabama’s win over Arkansas and Oregon’s win over Stanford).
LSU has two more BCS top ten wins than the rest of the BCS top ten combined.
LSU has beaten every SEC team that Alabama has beaten plus Oregon, West Virginia, and if it wins the SEC title game, Georgia. Oh, and it also beat the Crimson Tide less than a month ago. Remember the game of the century, the highest rated regular season game in a decade? You can’t even argue that this game took place back in September and that the teams are fundamentally different now.
Plus, LSU won at Alabama.
Isn’t a road win more impressive than a neutral win?
That is, even if Alabama wins in the BCS “title” game wouldn’t LSU’s win at Alabama count more than Alabama’s neutral site game? That’s even if the teams had otherwise equal resumes, which they don’t.
Here are the Crimson Tide’s four best wins on the season: at Penn State, Arkansas, at Auburn, at 6-6 Florida.
Alabama beat just three teams with winning records all season.
Here are LSU’s best wins: at Alabama, Oregon (neutral), Arkansas, Georgia (neutral), at West Virginia, Auburn, Florida.
There’s no comparison between these two resumes. LSU has more wins, a division and conference title, and a head-to-head road win over Alabama.
Are you really telling me that Alabama winning a neutral site game changes all of this? If the BCS’s slogan is every game counts, then if Alabama beats LSU in one neutral site game then the entire SEC regular season — and the game of the century on November 5th — didn’t actually count at all.
Hell, here’s a really interesting question, if the coaches weren’t obligated to vote the BCS “title” game winner as the champion, would the college football coaches vote LSU number one even if it lost a close game to Alabama? I think the coaches probably would. Why? Because the coaches, even more than most fans, would view a division and conference title, as more determinative than a head-to-head split. (Again, that’s not even pointing out that a head-to-head split is more impressive if one of the wins came on the road and the other came at a neutral site.)
Indeed, let’s say Alabama wins by a field goal in overtime. Doesn’t the coaches agreeing before the game is even played to vote the winner of the game as the national champion strike many as just plain wrong? How can you agree to predetermine the champion placed on just one game? Isn’t the coaches’ agreement a slap in the face to the very principle upon which the BCS stands — that every game counts? How did we end up with a vote that isn’t really a vote at all? What you’ve got is a rubber stamp champion that defeats the entire premise for which you exist — one game matters not the preceding 13.
Here’s another interesting question, what if the coaches rebelled and voted LSU the better team? Do their ballots not count? Seriously, what happens if the coaches voted LSU the best team in the country? What’s the BCS recourse? All of a sudden the coaches poll turns into the Florida punchcard ballot of college football. Does the BCS pull a Saddam Hussein and claim all opponents simply don’t exist? Does it toss out the entire ballot and simply announce Alabama the national champ?
I was at the LSU-Alabama game. No other team in the country was coming in to Tuscaloosa on that night and winning.
That LSU win, in front of that crowd, off a bye week for both teams, was astounding and extraordinary.
Now we’re going to say that game doesn’t even matter even though it determined a division and conference champion?
I just can’t buy that.
We select our college football champion based on the perception of who we think is the best team every year. Well, if LSU wins on Saturday against Georgia to run its record to 13-0, it’s the best team in the country.
No matter what happens in the BCS “title” game, LSU should win the AP national title with a win on Saturday.