Bowl Championship Stinkfest

Okay, I confess. I wrote my last post before College Game Day was over and all the upsets were complete. With Oklahoma, Oregon, Clemson, and other one loss schools still out there, it seemed unfair to give Alabama a second shot at an unbeaten LSU. But that was before the top one-loss schools completed their stinkfest on Saturday.

That being said, one thing is now clear. College football is divided into two groups: LSU-Alabama and everybody else. If LSU beats Arkansas on Friday and Alabama beats Auburn on Saturday, that division will be confirmed again. Here’s the bottom line. LSU and Alabama are the two best teams in the country, and I don’t think there is another team in the country that can touch them. Now that the other top one-loss contenders have all laid an egg, a rematch with LSU and Alabama looks inevitable if both teams win out.

It still irritates me that LSU has to win the SEC championship and beat Alabama twice in order to be national champion while Alabama only has to go 1-1 with LSU and not even play in the SEC championship in order to win it all. It shows that the easiest path to the national title would have been for LSU to lose in Tuscaloosa and then win out. I am astonished that people fail to see how screwy that system is.

One good thing about an LSU vs. Alabama rematch is that an LSU victory will produce a definitive result. If LSU can pull-off the perfect season, then LSU will have beaten the number 2 team twice (Alabama) and the number 3 team twice (Oregon and Arkansas). Unlike LSU’s 2003 and 2007 championships, the 2011 Tigers will have proved themselves to be one of the most dominating teams that college football has ever seen, and I can’t wait for that.


  • JohnnyM

    think about this one:
    If LSU and Alabama both win next week, and then LSU loses to Georgia in the SEC championship, many BCS commentators still think Alabama and LSU will be one and two and would vie for the national championship without either team winning their conference.

  • Nate


    You should have stuck to your guns. Alabama does not deserve a shot at the National Championship. They already had it. They were playing at home and they lost.

    Also, you shouldn’t be able to be a one loss team, not even play in your own conference championship and play for the National Championship. They will, in effect, finish 3rd in the SEC, should LSU and Georgia end up playing for the SEC title. If there are other one loss teams that win their Conference Championship game, Stanford, OSU, VA Tech, Boise St., and even Houston (if they remain undefeated) deserve a shot at LSU in the Title Game before Bama deserves a rematch.

    The other thing is this: Who has Bama beat this year? Arkansas, that’s it (ok, include Penn St, but the Big 10 is a weak conference). Now, while there might be an argument that Stanford, OSU, and others haven’t beaten anyone else either, I’ll go back to my “Bama didn’t even win their conference or play in the conference championship game illustration.”

    If you can’t win the big game at home, and you aren’t playing in your conference championship, then you need to stay home for the National Championship.

    We can only hope that Auburn does us all a huge favor and rolls the Tide…

    • Denny Burk

      I am sticking to my guns. I don’t think it’s fair that Alabama gets two shots at LSU. Having said that, I still think they are the second best team. I would love for Ok. State to win out and make a case to take on the number 2 spot. I think they would deserve it more than Alabama because Alabama already had their chance.

  • Nate

    Also, had USC not gotten jobbed on the timeout fiasco, we would all be talking about wanting to see USC against LSU. Right now, I think that might be the most intriguing game to see.

  • Tim

    At the moment, I’d go so far as to throw Arkansas into the mix: the college football stratosphere is currently LSU-Bama-Arkansas. Of course, LSU could crush Arkansas on Saturday, and I’d have to revise my statement. But even assuming an LSU win (which is likely, but by no means certain), Arkansas might still be the third best team, on the strength of their dynamic offense (even if their defense is so-so).

    As a Bama fan, I agree with your assessment, though: If LSU wins out, they deserve to go down as perhaps the most dominant team in college football history.

  • Kent

    I still think Alabama is better than LSU. Yes, LSU won on the scoreboard when they played, but they didn’t win on the field. They needed Alabama to miss a few field goals and throw an INT in the endzone to pull it off. I’m all for the best team winning, which will likely be Alabama if there is a rematch.

    • Nate

      Oh, so that’s how we judge a game. Gee, I bet Oregon is saying the same thing. If we just had another minute on the clock we would have beat USC because we wouldn’t have had to try for the field goal we missed. Those field goals really shouldn’t be part of the final score, should they? And those darn interceptions and fumbles. Each team really should get a least 2 mulligans… Really!!!

      • Kent

        Those things should certainly be part of the game. I’m simply saying that Alabama moved the ball better and won the battle in the trenches most of the night. It doesn’t give me the feeling that LSU was the better team. If Alabama makes even one of those field goals, which they do on any given night, they win the game. And just in case you’re wondering, I’m no Alabama fan. Far, far from it, actually. So I’m not an insider trying to find a way to say my team is better.

  • Daryl Little

    So what’s the screwy part?

    Unless you’re still holding onto the really screwy “National Champion by-vote” mess the the BCS was, the current situation with LSU and Alabama.

    Is it equally unfair if the NLCS champion was swept by the NLCS loser in the regular season? In that scenario no one complains that anyone had to beat anyone else twice.

    Or, more comparably, if the Super-bowl champion (from the NFC) had lost on week 3 to their AFC rival, does anyone complain? No. (except the fans of said loser).

    I’ve been watching your posts on this and just don’t see the unfairness.

    This is the point of the title game in all sports, is it not? Of the two best, who can win on that day?

    You don’t really want to return to the champion-by-vote days. Do you?

    • JohnnyM

      Those other sports you mentioned have playoffs, unlike college football and figure skating.

      In what sport does a team who goes undefeated not have a shot at the national title. Only one: college football.

      The BCS makes for great conversation and controversy, but it does a really bad job of deciding who the best team is.

  • jigawatt

    I’m surprised you didn’t mention the confusion (the word “chaos” is tossed around too much lately) that would result from an Arkansas win this Friday. Who plays Georgia?

    I’ve seen that game twice in my life, once in Little Rock and once in Baton Rouge. AR won both times, at the end.

  • Greg Smith

    The way you have painted this I can see no scenario which you would view as fair. Even if LSU and Alabama met in the title game of a playoff, you would be upset if Alabama won because each team only beat the other once. You would require a two out of three situation to be satisfied.

    Further, I could see some logic to your argument if LSU had blown them away. But 9-6 indicates a tough-fought defensive battle between two essentially equal opponents. The same game might be played again with the opposite result. LSU has not established any dominance over Alabama. They did eck out a hard-fought win and are to be commended for that. But they did not demonstrate to all that they are the dominate team of the two. What if the two play and Alabama wins by three touchdowns? Will you admit ‘Bama is the better team?

  • Greg

    “I am astonished that people fail to see how screwy that system is.”

    agreed. a team like bama can beat 2 teams with a winning record, not win their division or conference, lose to the conference champion (at home), and still get a shot at a national title. absurd.

  • Brian Krieger

    I am astonished that people fail to see how screwy that system is.

    It seems like there are two reasons: money and pride. I don’t know of many who actually want it (unless the alternative is a poll-based you-pick-it champion) except those who garner the most from the system itself.

    Personally, I think the BCS makes an easy mockery of college football. But hey, I have no stake in it and it makes me care less and less about it every year (but I’m pretty sure I’m in a minority here……plus my alma mater is far from contention). Taking it’s companion, now, March Madness is a different story (I always get sucked into that). But that’s just me.

  • Steve Hayes

    Kent – Alabama missed 4 field goals against LSU, and all were from 44 yards or more. Instead of punting and pinning LSU deep in it’s own end of the field, the much lauded genius, Nick Saban, decided to attempt very low probability field goals, which were badly missed (one was blocked).

    Alabama lost this game on the field and the scoreboard. LSU made plays when it mattered, and they made those plays… (Are you ready for this?) They made those plays ON THE FIELD!!!! When the scoreboard says “LSU 9 Alabama 6”, that means that LSU beat Alabama ON THE FIELD!!! I hate to tell you this, but there is no other place to decide a game.

    So, please spare us this nonsense about LSU failing to beat Alabama. The LSU coaches made better decisions, and the LSU players made better plays. And, most importantly, the LSU team scored more points… ON THE FIELD!!!!!

    • Barry

      Hear! Hear! Steve-O. Darn right it happened all on the field. Saban put his kickers in impossible situations – and, can I say how much more I appreciate Brad Wing? That guy is off the radar good.

      I think the underlying issue is that most LSU fans are worried. Bama is really good. Scary good. Richardson was the best player on the field in Tuscaloosa. They could beat us. Denny is very right in pointing out that LSU has to play the SEC title game (risk of injuries!), and then go on and beat Bama again, when all Bama has to do is, yawn, beat Auburn to get into the big game. IF they beat us, we will be 1-1 and we will still have won the conference, yet lose the national title. How is that anything but screwy? That’s jacked up.

      So, Geaux Tigers. The easiest thing would be just to beat them again, in the Superdome. That will be sweet. And not screwy.


  • Tyler

    What the BCS system does is pit the two best teams against each other in the championship. Yes there are teams everyone wants to see play LSU (I would love to see them play Boise State or OK State) but the issue is this: If we don’t have sports be about putting the two best teams against each other for the championship, which the BCS rankings and polls are pretty good at, and instead we make it about silly rules (like no rematches or must be conference championships) or about who “deserves” the game, we officially make the championship game into an even more BCS and rules manipulated spectacle. Imagine the scenario that happens if LSU and Bama are the two best teams in the nation without question for the next ten years. They can NEVER play in the national championship against each other by your rules. That’s absurd. Then we would be hearing totally different complaints. If Bama (or any other team in the SEC West), for example, thought that they were going to be the second best team in the nation behind LSU every year then they should attempt to move conferences which would make for disaster.

    And what actually makes me mad is: what had to happen for this rematch to occur… #2 OK state (Iowa State), #4 oregon (USC), #5 oklahoma (Baylor), #7 clemson, boise state (TCU), Arkansas, and, Stanford (Oregon), all had/have to lose. It seems like the argument is: LSU should be in the championship against any team other than Bama and we will scrap the bottom of the barrel to make sure that happens. And the Houston Argument is dumb… you think Bama’s schedule is bad, look at theirs! Yea Bama lost one game to LSU by 3 in OT (after missing 4FG, 2 INT, and some dumb penalities) but people are only looking at Houston because these other teams lost.

    Also I just can’t help but think that if LSU loses to Arkansas by double digits they would probably be bumped to #3 and out of the championship. But I bet LSU fans would still cry for them to be in the championship cause they beat Bama… Yes the BCS is not perfect but it works and is better than the possible alternatives.

    *Also USC is on suspension so that’s why we’re not seeing that game not because of a timeout fiasco.

    **JohnnyM, I think what Greg meant by meeting in the title game of a playoff is if LSU beat Bama in the regular season then met them and beat them in the playoff. Which is essentially the same scenario here.

    ***Also what was with LSU knelling with five minutes to go last weekend? I think the argument can be made that that is more embarrassing (I did hear that it could have been because their QB audibled without Miles consent and his “punishment” was knelling).

    Steve – You saw how important every point was for that game. Had the kicker made two of those. or even one of those. Everyone would be talking about what a genius Saban is. Also you’re not making any argument all you’re doing putting “on the field” in caps. Kent is right look at the numbers and watch the game. Bama gave that game to LSU and that’s their fault. but you cannot say LSU outplayed them.

  • Jordan Newberry

    Who should LSU play if they do not play Alabama? Alabama cannot help that they play in same conference and division as LSU. Yes, they lost to LSU who is ranked number one 9-6 in overtime in a game where they missed three field goals while also having one blocked. Alabama outgained LSU and made mistakes at crucial moments which caused them to have to try field goals instead of scoring touchdowns. LSU won the game November 5th, but that is irrelevant now. Like the system or not, it is what is in place. Nobody has a better resume then Alabama. They lost to the team ranked number one now by three points in overtime, and every LSU fan knows that the game could have gone either way. LSU, in their two previous championship years (05 and 07) had worse seasons then Alabama has had up to this point. I am looking forward to playing LSU again. If I were an LSU fan I would be happy that my team got the opportunity to dominate Georgia a month before the NC game. I, on the other hand, have no Alabama game to watch Dec. 3. LSU fans know that Alabama is the best team available for a NC game against them. I do not understand why they are mad that things have worked out this way. If LSU is the National Champion, beat us again. That is the system! You will play Alabama on January 9th. I hope Les Miles and the players are not as down as the LSU fans, or Alabama will definitely be NC’s. By the way, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma have no business playing in the National Championship after losing to Iowa State and Texas Tech. It is somewhat laughable for someone to say, “Well Alabama had their chance so LSU should play a team that lost to a low end BIG 12 school.” Houston is terrible and would be beaten by thirty points if they played either of the Oklahoma teams. Also, if LSU fans want to say that Alabama would not deserve the National Championship because of a split then let them play another game. The same would be true for LSU who would have a split in the season series as well. According to this argument, their would be a lot of teams with Super Bowl rings who would not have gotten the chance if they were not allowed to play the team that had previously beaten them in the Super Bowl. However, one might say that that is the NFL and this is college football. They would be correct and the proper response would be that the system for college football is the BCS whether people like it or not, and should therefore be followed. This means that LSU and Alabama would play each other for the NC.

  • Jordan Newberry


    USC really???????? I mean come on! They were beaten 43-22 by Arizona State who has lost five games. Would that really be a better game then a team that lost to the number one team in the nation by three points? Give me a break.

  • Steve Hayes

    Tyler – I made a great argument (if I do say so myself) that LSU won the game because their coaches made smarter decisions (i.e. It was Saban who called a gimmick trick play that backfired, when Marquise Maize threw a pick at the goal line), and the LSU players made better plays (i.e. When Eric Ried intercepted Maise’s I’ll fated pass). That’s the way games are won and lost. How you can deny that is beyond me. LSU did outplayed Alabama, because LSU’s players made the plays that won the game and Alabama’s did not. The great thong about my argument is that you can’t refute it because of this thing called the scoreboard. It’s always right.

    • Tyler

      Steve –
      That’s totally absurd to say the scoreboard is always “right”. There are plenty of games that end in mistakes by one team not great plays by another. There are games where refs make bad calls. For example, the Reid interception: There was not irrefutable evidence either way so as to whether it was a catch or interception, if the head ref had called it a catch then LSU would have challenged, lost the challenge, and Alabama would have won the game. Or had the refs chosen to rightly eject Mathieu for his hit on Kirkpatrick that would have changed the outcome of the game as well. Listen to the college football analysts, more than a few of them say without reservation that Alabama outplayed LSU, you can’t make it as simple as saying, the scoreboard says 9-6 therefore LSU outplayed Alabama. Did you watch the two Wisconsin games that they lost this year? They had two hailmarys thrown and “caught” on them at the last second of the game but they outplayed both of the other teams (Mich St. and Ohio St.). Also yes Saban’s wildcat play backfired but that doesn’t mean it was a bad call. Had Les Miles made that play and it worked (or had the ref called it the other way and it stood up to a challenge) then it would just be another feather in the cap for the mad hatter. Also you’re negating mentioning things like Alabama holding LSU to a field goal when they had two sets of downs in the red zone because of a Bama penalty; who else in the country can do that? Yes the scoreboard tells you who won the game but it doesn’t tell you how the game went, it doesn’t tell you about injuries, bad calls, trick plays, hailmarys, missed fgs, defensive stops, etcetera: to just appeal to the scoreboard only says you caught Sportscenter before work.

      • Denny Burk


        Go back and look at the stats. LSU had more rushing yards than Alabama, and Alabama had more passing yards. Both teams threw two interceptions. I would say that the teams looked pretty evenly matched. Nevertheless, LSU beat Alabama on the field.

        As for the missed field goals, Bama’s kicker missed those kicks because the LSU defense drove the Bama offense backwards. As a result, Bama kicked from 49, 50, and 52. Those are low percentage kicks in college football, and Saban was foolish to go for them.

        As for the interception, you are wrong. Remember, the ruling on the field was “confirmed.” Subsequent video and photo evidence proved that it was an interception beyond a shadow of a doubt–especially this photo. Notice that Reid’s hand is inside the ball before he hits the ground. That, my friend, is an interception.
        Reid catch

        • Tyler

          Denny –

          I think we’re basically saying, somewhat, the same thing in your first paragraph. I’ll secede in the fact that there is a fine case to say the game was close, of course it was, no one must say that Alabama outplayed LSU. I just think it is wrong to say because the scoreboard said 9-6 that means LSU outplayed them.

          And you’re totally right that the kicks were from far distances because LSU pushed Alabama’s offense back but that doesn’t make the attempts bad. Should Saban have punted one or two of them, maybe. However I think it’s wrong to say that Saban was foolish for going for them. Once again imagine if the kicker had made two, or even one of them, not only would the game have had a different outcome but Saban would be praised for it. I think it’s completely possible that Saban knew the game would come down to a FG and it was necessary to take those smaller percentage FG attempts since three points means so much more in that game than in others. Of course I’m biased but I don’t think it’s so clear cut as to say Saban was foolish for going for them.

          As to the interception: I highly doubt if the ref had called it a fair catch at the 1, on the field, in his initial call (which I think is totally possible), I highly doubt it would have been overturned. I’m not arguing whether or not it was an interception simply because my argument is that it is not clear enough to have been overturned either way. You can not base the call on one photo. Plus the photo you showed only has Reid having one hand partly on the ball and Williams still has possession. I know you think it’s crystal clear but I don’t think it is. Reid got his hand inside one of his, that doesn’t give Reid possession and it doesn’t denote that Williams necessarily lost possession. Reid has his left hand on the ball for a fair amount of the catch but his right hand is always off the ball and he does not bobble it out enough to be even be question until the very very end. For the record I think it was an interception about 75% of the time I watch it; a great interception at that. But some of the time it looks to me like it could at the minimum be argued as a catch.

          Basically I just don’t think one photo tells the whole story and I think it is a tougher call than is being considered and could have gone either way. But I can’t complain about it now I just hope nothing like this happens on Jan 9th :).

  • Tyler

    Either way I just hope it’s a great game on January 9th whether or not people think Alabama should be in it. I’m probably done commenting just cause I think I’ve said what I wanted to; I actually never comment on blogs I just decided to this time cause I love your blog and what it does for Jesus (If this was a sports blog there’s no way I would have ever commented haha). I’ll happily admit that you and Steve could totally be right, I was just trying to argue for my point and hopefully it wasn’t totally fruitless. Don’t remember if i said this but I was actually at the Bama LSU game and when it was ruled an interception it was craziness in Bryant-Denny! Such a great game and I hope the second one is no different.

    Happy Thanksgiving guys!

  • Steve Hayes

    Tyler – I appreciate what you’re trying to do as a clear Alabama homer, but you’re just plain wrong on this one. The scoreboard really doesn’t lie. If it did, Alabama would be 11-0 and LSU would be 10-1. Every game has excuses and variables – Strategies, player errors, referee’s decisions, etc – but that’s part of the game, and the team that best handles those situations and adjusts to those challenges wins.

    You can make excuses for the Tide all you want… You can “if” and “but” until you’re blue in the face… But the fact remains that the LSU players and coaches adjusted to the challenges of the game better than Alabama, and the scoreboard accurately reflected that. to argue otherwise just seems like sour grapes.

    Look, we’re talking about a game that was separated by Alabama outgaining LSU by 40 yards. LSU fans could do the same thing you’re doing and say “LSU had the ball inside the Alabama 10 yard line twice, and if they had tried to run a play outside the tackles instead of running up the middle, they might have scored a TD, which surely would’ve won the game. Alabama didn’t stop us… We stopped ourselves.” But that would be silly, because that’s not what happened… It’s just what we fans wish would’ve happened. In this case, the scoreboard’s all that matters.

    It’s been fun, man. I’m out. Happy Thanksgiving!!

  • Kent

    Steve, as I said earlier, I myself am no Alabama fan. Not even close. If fact, I’d rather Alabama lose than perhaps anybody else. I still say that, while you have made some logical points, sometimes crazy things happen on a sports field that don’t accurately reflect the ability of the teams. Bad calls, “lucky” bounces, etc. Yes, I know that teams are responsible for what happens on the field. But I’m still not convinced LSU is the better team here. The field goals were long indeed, and perhaps Saban should have made different decisions, and perhaps the QB should have thrown the ball in a different place, but these are all things that could have easily bounced a different way on any given night. As a non-Alabama fan, I believe it is entirely possible, if not probable, that Alabama is the better team and would win if they play again.

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