Tom Layberger

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Rematch in New Orleans

Sunday, December 04, 2011


There was little surprise with Sunday evening’s announcement that LSU and Alabama go at it again in the BCS National Championship Game. Of course, there will always be at least some disagreement.

In the case of this season, proponents of a playoff system point to Oklahoma State routing Oklahoma on Saturday to finish 11-1, just like Alabama. But the Pokes are on the outside looking in even though they went above and beyond in their attempt to secure the No. 2 slot. As a result, some would argue, they should have been given the chance to play for the national title.  

At least it is hard to complain about the matchup as many feel LSU and Alabama are the two best teams in the land. After all, Alabama’s lone loss was by a field goal in overtime to……LSU. Certainly, it would have been more fun to have seen Oklahoma State’s offensive juggernaut against LSU’s vaunted defense. However, many felt that the Nov. 5 meeting between the Tigers and Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa was a preview of things to come on Jan. 9 in New Orleans. They were right.

We can go on and on as many pundits have for what is now 14 years of the BCS system determining which two teams play for all the marbles. Instead, we will take a peek at the five BCS Bowl matchups:

BCS National Championship
No. 1 LSU (13-0) vs No. 2 Alabama (11-1)
The hype has already begun. Get used to it because it will go on for more than one month. The matchup guarantees the SEC will win a sixth straight national championship. It also pits the nation’s top two teams in scoring defense and total defense.  Combined, Alabama (8.8) and LSU (10.5) are allowing 19 points per game, a total they could not even match in the Tigers’ 9-6 OT win on Nov. 5.
 
Fiesta Bowl
No. 3 Oklahoma State (11-1) vs No. 4 Stanford (11-1)
Coach Mike Gundy and the Cowboys still have an outstanding bowl and an outstanding opponent to prepare for. With an average of 49.3 points per game, Oklahoma State is second nationally in scoring and the Cardinal is fifth at 43.5. Brandon Weeden and Andrew Luck is about as good as it gets with QB matchups.

Rose Bowl
No. 5 Oregon (11-2) vs No. 10 Wisconsin (11-2)
The Badgers were this close to being undefeated having suffered Hail Mary and last-minute defeats on consecutive Saturdays in October. That said, this will be a fantastic matchup between some of college football’s best players. With Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson and Montee Ball mowing down opponents all season and Oregon’s Darron Thomas and LaMichael James turning in one highlight-reel performance after another, there will be no lack of excitement in Pasadena.

Sugar Bowl
No. 11 Virginia Tech (11-2) vs No. 13 Michigan (10-2)
The Hokies’ reward for an embarrassing loss to Clemson, a rematch at that, in the ACC championship? An at-large bid to a BCS bowl. It seems as though Frank Beamer’s team could play Clemson five more times and still not get it right. Getting it right is what Brady Hoke has done in his first season in Ann Arbor and he should be a shoo-in for national coach of the year. The best thing that has happened to Denard Robinson, aside from the presence of Hoke, has been the emergence of RB Fitzgerald Toussaint.

Orange Bowl
No. 15 Clemson (10-3) vs No. 23 West Virginia (9-3)
It was not looking too good for either team to get into a BCS bowl. Clemson lost three of four going into the ACC title game against Virginia Tech and lost those three games by 59 points. The Mountaineers, meanwhile, did not control their own fate heading into the final weekend and needed help in more ways than one to win the Big East. Dale Holgorsen’s club got that help and will be headed to south Florida – after beating South Florida on the final play Thursday.




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