Rematch not lighting a fire
So you wanted a rematch between the two “best’’ teams in college football?
Well, the Bowl Championship Series gave it to you. When the final numbers were crunched and released last night, No. 1 Louisiana State, fresh off its demolition of Georgia in the Southeastern Conference title game Saturday night, was matched up with No. 2 Alabama, which had done its regular-season business, finishing second in the SEC West behind LSU.
Left out of the BCS title game in New Orleans Jan. 9 was Big 12 champion Oklahoma State. The once-beaten Cowboys had taken apart rival Oklahoma Saturday night and hoped that proved to voters that they were title-game worthy.
But the loss to 6-6 Iowa State last month was worse than Alabama’s loss in Tuscaloosa to LSU, so the Tide will roll into New Orleans for the rematch that a lot of people didn’t want.
It might not make much of a difference, since LSU is making points as one of the best teams in the history of college football, with solid victories over Big East champion West Virginia and Pac-12 champion Oregon, as well as Alabama and SEC East champion Georgia. The Tigers’ credentials are indeed solid.
It’s the first title-game rematch in the history of the BCS.
The top BCS official said he thought the rematch will make a fine title game.
“Absolutely, if they’re 1 and 2, and they are in all the polls,’’ executive director Bill Hancock said.
With the 1-2 business taken care of, the rest of the BCS bowls fell into place.
The Rose Bowl was locked in Saturday night, with Oregon vs. Wisconsin, which won a wild-and-crazy regular-season rematch with Michigan State.
The Fiesta Bowl came up with what should be a wide-open Jan. 2 encounter between Oklahoma State (Big 12 champion) and Stanford, which may have the Heisman Trophy winner in quarterback Andrew Luck. With Luck going against Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden, the total score might go into three figures.
The Sugar Bowl lost its SEC anchor in LSU and the sure-bet replacement in Alabama. So the committee did the expected and went for fannies in seats by taking 10-2 Michigan.
The choice for the other team was among Kansas State, Baylor, Boise State, and Virginia Tech. All but Tech won their last games of the season - the Hokies were pounded by Clemson in the ACC title game in Charlotte.
The Sugar Bowl, for whatever reason (people in the seats?) opted for Virginia Tech, giving the ACC a second team in the BCS for the first time.
The Orange Bowl could have a sellout with Clemson vs. Big East champion West Virginia, in what could be another wide-open affair.
Left out were teams from non-automatic qualifying conferences such as Mountain West champion (and soon to be Big 12 member) Texas Christian. To get to the BCS, TCU had to make it into the Top 16 in the BCS standings. The Horned Frogs finished 18th.
Boise State, whose only loss was a last-second defeat at home to TCU, also was left out of the equation.
BCS officials are considering paring down the system to just one championship game between the two best teams. If that happens, the other bowls would go back to the old way of doing business, meaning making deals with schools who travel well and would guarantee large television audiences, such as Virginia Tech and Michigan.
The spin from BCS and bowl officials yesterday and last night, however, was predictable. The best two teams are playing for the title, and the other bowls are happy with their matchups.
So be it.
Oklahoma State would have been at least a new face over what has become an SEC block party in the BCS title game. The Alabama-LSU matchup guarantees the SEC a record sixth consecutive national champion.
And teams such as Boise State, TCU, and even Baylor and Kansas State, that were worthy of consideration, didn’t make the cut.
Alabama and LSU are probably the two best teams, but it may not be the best game, and the other BCS games mean nothing in the grand scheme of things.
The rematch no doubt will rekindle the talk of doing away with, or at least changing, the BCS system. And right now that sounds like a good idea.
Mark Blaudschun can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.