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There's still some hope of avoiding an LSU-Alabama rematch

CHRIS DUFRESNE / ON COLLEGE FOOTBALL

A Tigers-Crimson Tide BCS title game may look inevitable, but it's conceivable Oklahoma State could nose out Alabama.

November 26, 2011|Chris Dufresne
  • Alabama defensive back Dee Milliner returns an interception for a touchdown against Auburn on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium in a 42-14 victory that likely seals the Crimson Tide's spot in the BCS title game.
Alabama defensive back Dee Milliner returns an interception for a touchdown… (Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images )

Auburn won the Iron Bowl against Alabama last season after trailing 24-7 at halftime.

Auburn trailed by the same score Saturday. Could the impossible happen twice?

Not without Cam Newton at quarterback for the Tigers.

Auburn, this season, should have been checked for iron-poor blood.

Thanks a lot.

Louisiana State's Tigers did their part Friday by saddling a second loss on No. 3 Arkansas and knocking the Razorbacks out of the national title argument.

Auburn's Tigers could have spared the nation a week of numbers-gnashing by putting a second loss on Alabama at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Instead, Alabama cruised to a 42-14 victory and started the ugly endgame toward an LSU-Alabama rematch for the Bowl Championship Series title.

"LSU! LSU! LSU" Alabama fans started chanting.

Why?

Because, folks, there might be no other way out of this mess.

No.1 LSU has to be giddy. The Tigers just capped a 12-0 regular season and have earned a perfect score in the BCS standings.

Louisiana State beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa, won the SEC West outright and must now play an extra road game next week in Atlanta against Georgia.

LSU: "Gee, BCS, can we trade in our fantastic year for the consolation prize?"

No. 2 Alabama lost to LSU and did not win the SEC West, yet people are saying the Crimson Tide deserves a free pass into the BCS title game?

That's some system we have here.

Some rematches were mandated by concocted divisional splits in conferences.

Wisconsin will play Michigan State next week in the first Big Ten championship game in Indianapolis. It's a rematch of an earlier thriller in East Lansing in which Michigan State prevailed on a last-second Hail Mary pass.

The winner will earn an automatic bid to the Rose Bowl.

Virginia Tech and Clemson will also meet again for the Atlantic Coast Conference title, which gives Frank Beamer's Hokies the chance to avenge their only defeat of the season.

Louisiana State, though, isn't required to play Alabama again — for the national title, no less — after defeating the Crimson Tide on Nov. 5 in Tuscaloosa.

LSU won that game, 9-6, in overtime. Alabama missed four field goals.

Those who frown on rematches are today wearing huge upside-down smiles.

The chances of an LSU-Alabama rematch are strong. The schools will no doubt hold their 1-2 positions Sunday in the next-to-last BCS standings.

If you want an SEC conspiracy, try this: LSU probably gets to the BCS title game even if it loses to Georgia in the SEC title game. If Georgia wins, it goes to the Sugar Bowl with LSU-Alabama still in the title game.

Back in 2006, SEC fans railed against a rematch after No.1 Ohio State defeated No. 2 Michigan in a late-November thriller.

SEC zealots, led by Urban Meyer, campaigned against Michigan. "Florida belongs," the Gators' coach said then. "The other team had a shot."

Naturally, it's a completely different sentiment when the rematch could feature two SEC teams.

Is there anything to stop this?

In 2006, BCS voters sided with Meyer and pushed Florida past Michigan by .9445 to .9344. Florida vindicated the decision by beating Ohio State for the BCS crown.

There remains a chance voters will rise up again and prevent LSU-Alabama II.

The SEC was 1-2-3 in last week's BCS, but Arkansas' loss Friday should move one-loss Oklahoma State into the No. 3 position.

Oklahoma State is already No. 2 in the BCS computers and has a big statement opportunity next week against top-10 Oklahoma in Stillwater.

If Oklahoma State wins, might voters do for Oklahoma State what they did for Florida five years ago?

Oklahoma State would be the champion of what some would argue is college football's best conference this season.

Jeff Sagarin, who operates one of six computers used in the BCS formula, has the Big 12 at No. 1 in his rankings, ahead of the SEC.

Oklahoma State's only defeat was in triple overtime, at Iowa State, on the day the team learned of the plane crash that killed its women's basketball coach and top assistant. If any team in BCS history deserves a mulligan, it's the Cowboys.

Iowa State was a bad loss, but no worse than Florida losing at home in 2008 to Mississippi. That didn't stop voters from ushering Florida back to the title game.

If Oklahoma State loses next week, though, LSU-Alabama might be the only option left.

However, before we get there all other options must be exhausted.

What about Virginia Tech, if it wins the ACC by avenging its only loss to Clemson?

Stanford, Oregon, Houston, Boise State … is anybody out there listening?

Why can't we get refreshing, first-look conference title games like UCLA vs. Oregon?

OK, terrible example.

chris.dufresne@latimes.com

twitter.com/dufresnelatimes

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