Should There Be an LSU-Bama Rematch?

The BCS standings came out tonight, and it had a little bit of a surprise in it: LSU (#1), OSU (#2), Bama (#3), and Stanford (#4). A one-loss Bama team stays on top of Stanford even though Stanford hasn’t lost a game. That means that Bama is still in the hunt. OSU and Stanford play two very losable games this coming Saturday. If those two teams were to lose, Bama would be right back at #2 next week, and that would pave the way for an LSU-Bama rematch for the national championship (if both teams win out).

As I said in my previous post, I really do believe that LSU and Bama are the two best teams in the country and that Bama deserves to be ranked #2 if they win out. Having said that, however, I do not believe that Alabama deserves a rematch with LSU for the national championship. I watched the BCS Countdown on ESPN tonight and heard all the arguments for and against a rematch. But there was one argument that never came to the fore. It’s the fairness argument.

Suppose that LSU and Alabama win out, and suppose that we have a rematch for the national championship game. That means that LSU would have to beat Alabama twice in order to win the championship, but Alabama would only have to beat LSU once in order to win it. If LSU were to win, they would be the undisputed national champion. But if Alabama were to win, then we would end up with two one-loss teams who both lost one game to each other. How could you declare either team national champion after that? Most people would look at that result and call it a draw, but not the BCS. They would give the whole thing to the team who happened to win second instead of first.

At the end of the day, it is not fair to create a situation in which LSU has to beat Alabama twice while only requiring Alabama to beat LSU once. It is not fair to require LSU to go 2-0 against Alabama in a single season while only requiring Alabama to go 1-1. That is not a fair way to end the season. Alabama had their chance on their home turf to win, and they blew it. It would be unfair to give them another shot at LSU without also giving LSU a second shot. It would reward an Alabama team who lost on their home field just because they pulled out a win on a neutral field.

If you are upset with my argument, then your problem is with the BCS. If you want to fix the BCS, then you should support a playoff. That is the only way to fix this inherently goofy way that we go about picking a champion every year. Sometimes the BCS gives us a clear winner, but sometimes it does not. A playoff would fix that.


  • Dwain Minor

    I am not a fan of either team. I am actually a Razorback fan who will be rooting for another upset victory in a few weeks.

    I simply do not see this argument to be persuasive. The reason I don’t see it as persuasive is: what was the BCS created for? Wasn’t it created to put the top two teams in the national championship?

    Fair or not, don’t you have to look at the purpose of the BCS to answer this question?

    • Denny Burk

      The purpose of the BCS is to give us an undisputed national champion. An LSU-Bama rematch would not achieve that.

      1. If LSU wins, then it confirms what we already knew–LSU can beat Alabama. But it leaves us in the dark about how LSU would fare against the top team from another conference.

      2. If Bama wins, then you have two one-loss teams at the top, both of whom have lost to each other one time. That’s produces a draw, not a championship.

      In other words, the resulting “champion” would be murky at best. If LSU were to play another team, none of those problems would ensue.

  • Allen

    A playoff does not fix this situation because you could end up with a two loss team in the playoff winning out and then beating a team to whom they lost in the championship. Since when has fairness been a valid reason to set aside agreed upon rules? Any system will be flawed and unfair- see the infamous “snub” of March Madness. If LSU and Bama play again it is for all the marbles and still better than seeing either Ok St or Stanford.

      • Allen

        True, there is no rule that says poll voters must favor a rematch but if the point is that the best two teams play for all the marbles then that is what we should vote for. When it comes down to the championship game we want to see #1 and #2, regardless of their regular season meetings which become irrelevant once the game starts (see the St. Louis Cardinals who lucked out on a Braves choke). Records are inconsequential once the final numbers come out, and would be so in a playoff once the brackets are set. The National Championship is all about who performed best during the season and wins the final game.

  • D.J. Williams

    For one, I’m pulling for Georgia to come out of the East and win the SEC, just to hear the talking heads try to justify keeping Boise out of the title game despite a win over the SEC champ.

  • Andrew

    Maybe they should play a best of three? I kid, I kid. Had LSU lost, I think you could argue for a rematch IF Stanford and Ok St lose. But since Bama lost at home, I don’t see a good argument for it. Stanford and Ok St still have their toughest games ahead, so this could get interesting…

  • Scot

    If there was a playoff and Alabama played LSU in the final game, wouldn’t you have the same scenario? LSU would have to beat Alabama twice in one year but Alabama would only have to beat them once. Would you say they can’t play each other in a playoff because that wouldn’t be “fair”?

    • Denny Burk

      Good question and one I have anticipated. I’m surprised you’re the first one to bring it up. It’s a possible argument against a playoff, but it’s not an argument against the the “fairness” case that I have been making.

      As far as the playoff is concerned, you could pit LSU versus Bama in the first round. That would allow them to meet again, but it wouldn’t allow Bama to win the whole enchilada with only one win against LSU. Bama would still have to win another game. That would mitigate the unfairness of the current scenario.

      • Nate

        Remember, even in a playoff there has to be seeding and it has to be based on something (BCS, AP, Coaches Poll). You can’t engineer a LSU vs. Bama rematch in the 1st round simply to get rid of the issue of LSU having to beat Bama twice, but Bama only having to beat LSU once to win the championship.

        There is a playoff, it is every week in college football. That’s what made this game the event it was. If there was a playoff this game is like a Duke/North Carolina basketball game in Jan. Exciting, perhaps, but not to every fan in America. Because only March matters. This game was watched by every fan in America because it was a playoff game. Yes, some years we don’t always see the matchup we would most like, but more often we do. Bama had a home game versus the #1 team in the land and they blew it. See you next year!

        That is, unless OSU, Stanford, and Boise St. all lose before the end of the year.

        • Matt

          Every single week is not a playoff. In fact, the BCS makes more games unimportant that it does important.

          Oklahoma’s season was finished on Oct 22. The rest of their games don’t really matter. Penn State’s season ended on Sept 10 – the rest of their games don’t matter. Arkansas on Sept 24. Virginia Tech on Oct 1. Clemson on Oct 29. And virtually ever other team in college football. All their games are for pride only. No chances for comebacks to win their division and make a playoff.

          That’s the tragedy of the BCS. It kills the drama of sports.

      • Doug

        If there were a playoff, then it changes the whole scenario. All of a sudden the entire regular season is only a competition to reach the playoffs, after which it becomes meaningless. This is the way it works in NCAA Basketball, as well as the NFL/NBA/MLB etc. Look at this year’s World Series. If you take the entire MLB season as a whole, there is no way that you can call the St. Louis Cardinals “World Champions” There are several teams with much better records. Nevertheless, when it came playoff time, they won. If we had an NCAA Football playoff system, the situation would be the same. If Alabama and LSU ended up in the final game, it wouldn’t matter who won in the regular season. All that would matter is that game.

  • JohnnyM

    There has never, to my mind, been an accusation of unfairness when playoffs are concerned. Playoffs would solve the problem. But the fact that Alabama is #3 after that boring game (and a home loss to boot) on Saturday shows why the BCS is a joke. There is no reason to have Alabama ahead of Boise St, Stanford, or even Houston. All these teams are undefeated and have a better record than Alabama. The fact that you can go undefeated and not have a shot at the national title is why college football is a joke. A playoff would be a financial boon for the NCAA and the schools involved and it would actually make college football a legitimate sport and not one left to subjective judging like Figure Skating.

  • Denny Burk

    People talk as if Bama’s missed field goals were happenstance flukes that under normal circumstances wouldn’t have cost Alabama the game. Nothing could be further from the truth. It wasn’t just bad luck that Bama missed all those field goals. The LSU defense came up big several times to push Bama back and out of field goal range. The missed kicks were from 49, 50, and 52 yards. That’s a tall order for any college kicker. He was in that position because a tough LSU defense put him there.

  • Trace

    This is such a real possibility. I bet it happens. It wouldn’t surprise anyone if OK St loses to OU in Bedlam. Also, Stanford will more than likely lose a game. I bet we see these two match up. You are right on your conclusion. It is not right and this system we have is brutal.

  • herodotus

    Denny, the Alabama QB was throwing floaters that couldn’t have hit the broad side of a barn. What if they had a guy that could throw? Would that have made a difference?

    • Denny Burk

      Did you see LSU play Oregon or West Virginia? LSU had their way with those two “high flying” offenses. LSU has looked great passers in the eye already and shut them down. No, I don’t think it would have made a difference.

  • Larry Geiger

    Totally disagree. Let them play!! Maybe one of them will actually score next time 🙂

    Didn’t this already happen with Florida/Florida State? Or some other teams?

  • Dana

    This brings back a lot of memories for Husker fans–having to play Oklahoma again after beating them. Dr. Tom Osborne could give you a lot of info on how hard that is, from personal experience! I say, let Boise State play ’em (assuming Okie State loses to Oklahoma, which is not a given now with Broyles out for the year).

  • Daniel

    A few years back we had a similar situation with Ohio St. and Michigan. It was a close game (1 vs. 2). Ohio St. won. A lot of people wanted a rematch. But instead Florida ended up in the game and they blew OSU out. It wasn’t ’till they played another team that we realized that both teams were over-rated all year.

    So, LSU needs to play someone else. Let the Big 12 or Pac 12 winner play them.

  • donsands

    That Tide vs Tigers game for one of the best I’ve seen. I am a Bama fan, and was pulling the the Tide to Roll, but I have to admit, I like Lsu as well.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing a rematch. But I’m thinking LSU vs Stanford, and Mr. Luck will be the Championship game, and it should be a terrific one.

  • Matt

    Boise could’ve beaten both LSU and Alabama with the way they played. I still think they should get a shot at the title, despite their schedule. If Boise were to win it all, it would start legitimate talks about dismantling the BCS and starting a playoff. The Big Conference Presidents will do everything in their power to make sure a team like Boise doesn’t win it again – and that means putting Boise through four rounds of the top 16 teams in the nation…in other words, a real playoff system.

  • Dwain Minor

    Alabama and LSU both played great football last Saturday. Both of these teams would have beaten Boise on Saturday. These teams fought hard and gave each other their best shots on Saturday and one came away with a victory.

    Alabama, even after the 6 point performance on Saturday averages 35.7 points per game. LSU averages 35.9. It is not as if these teams are offenses only, they are well rounded football teams who have the best two defenses in college football. Scoring for both of these teams is in the top 25, it is just that their defenses are better.

    Look at this list: Toledo, Tulsa, Nevada, Fresno State, Colorado State, Air Force, UNLV, TCU, San Diego St., Wyoming, New Mexico. This is who Boise has played since Georgia.

    If they want to play for the national championship play a tough schedule. It is not just about winning games, it is about earning the right to play for the national championship and a team that plays such a weak schedule has not proven themselves throughout the season. A one loss school who has played a tough schedule has earned the right to play for the championship over a school who has gone undefeated and only played one tough game all season.

    • Matt

      Enough about the tough schedule. It’s a well known fact now that Boise tries to schedule the big boys, but the big boys won’t schedule Boise because of the risk of losing a non-conference game. No big boy would schedule Boise in their right mind. Just ask Georgia what happened this year – Virginia Tech last year – Oregon in ’09 and ’08. If you play Boise, you will lose and lose your chance at the BCS Title Game. So don’t play them.

      And schedule means nothing. A ranking system based on votes is incredibly subjective. There isn’t a good way to tell how the conferences rank against each other because everyone seems to be playing weak non-conference opponents instead of strong non-conference games because of the above argument.

      And besides – look at history:
      Boise over Oklahoma in 2006
      Utah over Alabama in 2009
      TCU over Wisconsin in 2010

      The fact is that when an unbeaten small guy plays the big boys in a bowl game…the unbeaten small guy wins.

      Schedule doesn’t mean anything. Its why the NFL, NBA, NCAA Boys, MLB have playoffs – because schedule means nothing. And as long as you use that weak argument – we will have the BCS.

      And yes, Boise with the NFL quarterback, would’ve destroyed LSU or Alabama. Just like they did Georgia – who now has a real shot at possibly winning the SEC.

      How many times do we have to go through this same old story before you realize the truth?

  • Daniel

    Nebraska tried to schedule a home-away-home series with Boise State. Boise turned them down. I don’t buy the argument that Boise wants to play the big boys but the big boys don’t want to play Boise.

    It’s about money. Boise’s stadium seats 30,000. Most of the big boys have stadiums which seat over 80,000. Boise can’t expect to play home-away’s with the big boys. They need to compromise.

    • Matt

      Not exactly. The standard payout for Non-BCS teams is approaching $1M. These smaller schools depend on those payments to help fund their programs. They need/want to play BCS schools on BCS turf.

      Now Nebraska scheduled Idaho and Western Kentucky for $800k. But they weren’t willing to give Boise the same treatment to come to Lincoln. Apparently, Nebraska wasn’t all that eager to play Boise after all.

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