Stevens: An LSU-Alabama rematch? That wouldn't be a bad thing.
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on November 11, 2011 1:48 PM
I recently read a quote from an unknown source that said, "common sense is seeing things as they are, and doing things as they should be done."
After watching LSU and Alabama live up to the hype of their No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown last Saturday night, I don't need computers, BCS polls or so-called "experts" to tell me who the best two teams in the country are this season.
I saw it with my own eyes.
The Tigers and Crimson Tide delivered a beautiful display of punishing defense where each fought relentlessly for every yard. It was a battle of field position with excruciating tension that the next big play could decide the game. Above all else, it was a refreshing break from the touchdown-a-minute brand of football that has spoiled us as fans.
LSU and Alabama had each averaged 39 points a game before colliding in Tuscaloosa. They managed to combine for just 15 points, what the casual observer would call boring football. The fan who paid attention saw suffocating defense.
With the BCS national championship game in New Orleans fewer than two months away, I don't need to see any more games or wait for conference championships to be decided. Common sense is screaming for an LSU/Alabama rematch with the national championship at stake. After all, championships are about the two best teams playing for the biggest prize. They aren't about the best feel-good story or what's "fair."
The Crimson Tide fell to No. 3 in the latest BCS standings behind Oklahoma State. Should the Cowboys and LSU both finish undefeated, they would meet Jan. 9 for the national title. If Oklahoma State slips up, unbeaten Stanford is likely to slide into the No. 2 spot.
Should LSU finish this season as the only undefeated team, critics will argue Alabama doesn't deserve a rematch. If that champions-only argument applied to all sports, the Green Bay Packers or St. Louis Cardinals, neither of which won their respective division, would have won world championships in the past year. College basketball, the NBA, boxing, tennis and mixed martial arts feature rematches with championships at stake quite often.
During LSU's last national championship season of 2007, the Tigers lost twice during the final two months of the season and still reached the national title game. They also silenced critics that season by thumping Ohio State in the championship game. The SEC has won the last five BCS championship games and is 7-0 all-time.
According to teamrankings.com, LSU and Alabama currently rank first and second, respectively, in the nation in strength of schedule. By the time the SEC championship game is played, the Tigers and Crimson Tide will have likely faced a combined 13 ranked opponents.
That's six more than Oklahoma State and Stanford will play collectively. Boise State, which is currently fifth in the BCS, has the 77th-ranked schedule in the country. With all due respect to the Broncos and the body of work they've compiled over the past several years, their lack of wins over quality opponents is difficult to ignore.
LSU and Alabama received a television rating of 11.9 and attracted 18 million viewers, making it the highest-rated college football game in the past 22 years. Notre Dame's meeting with Miami in 1989 is the only game in the past 50 years to earn a higher rating than the Tigers and Crimson Tide last Saturday night.
When speaking to reporters on Monday, Alabama tailback Trent Richardson asked, "Who wouldn't want to see a rematch?"
I can think of 18 million people who would.
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