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LSU vs. Alabama in BCS title game: Setting the scene

Tigers Coach Les Miles could become the third coach to win two Bowl Championship Series crowns; Crimson Tide Coach Nick Saban, with a win, would be the first coach to win three BCS titles.

January 08, 2012|Chris Dufresne
  • Coaches Nick Saban of Alabama and Les Miles of LSU have been to and won the BCS title game.
Coaches Nick Saban of Alabama and Les Miles of LSU have been to and won the… (Photos by Associated Press )

No. 1 Louisiana State (13-0) and No. 2 Alabama (11-1) meet for the Bowl Championship Series national title Monday night in an all-Southeastern Conference rematch. LSU defeated Alabama, 9-6, in overtime Nov. 5 in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The SEC seeks its sixth straight title and eighth crown in the 14-year history of the BCS. LSU seeks to become the first team to win three BCS titles and Alabama is looking for its second BCS title after winning in the 2009 season. Alabama claims 13 national titles since getting its first in 1925 after a 20-19 win over Washington in the Rose Bowl. LSU's lone national title in the pre-BCS era was won by the 1958 squad coached by Paul Dietzel.

Standing upright

LSU seemingly has the edge if the game comes down to a kick. The Tigers boast arguably the nation's best punter in Brad Wing, a freshman from Australia. Wing was one of the heroes in the first game when his 73-yard punt in a 6-6 game flipped the field on Alabama and ultimately forced overtime. Wing also averaged 50 yards on eight kicks in LSU's SEC title-game win over Georgia.

LSU's Drew Alleman was a Lou Groza Award semifinalist and made a school-record 88.9% of his field-goal attempts (16 for 18). Alleman made all three of his tries against Alabama, including the game-winner in overtime.

Alabama kickers Jeremy Shelley and Cade Foster combined to make only two of six field-goal tries in the LSU loss.

LSU has options

Senior quarterback Jordan Jefferson, suspended for the first four games of the season for a preseason altercation, did not start the first game against Alabama but finished it in place of Jarrett Lee. Jefferson entered the game after Lee threw two interceptions, and he has started every game since. Look for LSU to try to exploit Jefferson's run-option skills against Alabama's No.1 defense. The Crimson Tide gives up only 191.2 yards per game, 74.9 on the ground, but gave up 302 yards against the run-option attack of Georgia Southern, a Football Championship Subdivision team.

Talent show

ESPN analyst Todd McShay told the Advocate of Baton Rouge, La., last week that 23 players in the game could be selected in the NFL draft in April. Seven players from the two schools could go in the first round. Five players could go in the top 20 of the draft, led by LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne. Alabama's top prospect could be cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick.

Reason No. 1 is No. 1

The top-ranked team in the Associated Press poll has a 27-17-2 record in all-time matchups against No. 2. The nation's No. 1 team has a 3-2 advantage over No. 2 in BCS title games. There's been speculation LSU could win a share of the national title if it loses a close game. Forty-four of 60 AP voters recently surveyed said they would consider voting for LSU or Oklahoma State if Alabama wins a close game. The BCS trophy is awarded by the American Football Coaches' Assn. and is contractually bound to the BCS winner. The AP has conducted an independent poll since 1936 and can select a different champion. In 2003, LSU won the BCS share with a victory over Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl while the AP awarded USC its title after the Trojans defeated Michigan in the Rose Bowl.

Nick and Les

Alabama Coach Nick Saban, with a win, would be the first coach to win three BCS titles. LSU Coach Les Miles, with a victory, would become the third coach to win two BCS crowns. Urban Meyer won titles in 2006 and 2008.

By the numbers

LSU is 4-0 in BCS games played in New Orleans. The Tigers won BCS crowns in 2003 and 2007 at the Superdome. The Tigers also have won two Sugar Bowl games, defeating Illinois after the 2001 season and Notre Dame after the 2006 season. Alabama's last Sugar Bowl appearance was a shocking 31-17 defeat by Utah after the 2008 season. Alabama rebounded to win the national title the following year.

chris.dufresne@latimes.com

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