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If Oklahoma State loses, Alabama deserves another shot at LSU


Two weeks ago, with the Game of the Century tied at 6-6 and the clock ticking down in regulation, I found myself standing next to Urban Meyer on the Alabama sideline. Meyer, who won national championships at Florida, was shaking his head as he pointed toward the field.

"Can you believe this? Meyer said. "These are the best two defenses I've ever seen."

A few minutes later, LSU had won 9-6 in overtime. Shortly thereafter, many in the national media quickly came out against a rematch.

Well, after last weekend's carnage out West, the conventional wisdom has changed and been rewritten again. And yes, there is still some blowback against Alabama.

If LSU and Oklahoma State both win out, there won't be any suspense. But what if that doesn't happen? Even if Oklahoma State loses to Oklahoma, many will argue that Oregon should play LSU in a rematch over another Alabama-LSU clash or an LSU-Oklahoma matchup.

After Oregon's rout of Stanford last Saturday, Ducks freshman receiver De'Anthony Thomas said Oregon deserves another shot at LSU because the Ducks scored the most points (27) against the Tigers this season in a season-opening 40-27 loss.

Interesting. In the SEC, when you lose by 13, (Oregon scored its last touchdown with 14 seconds remaining),and give up 40, it's referred to as "taken to the woodshed."

Thomas isn't the only one who thinks Oregon deserves another shot at LSU. Gary Danielson, who did the television analysis for LSU-Alabama, the most watched regular-season game in 20 years, dismissed the Tide's prospects for a possible rematch with LSU by saying, "They had their shot."

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Kirk Herbstreit, who is ABC/ESPN's top analyst, feels differently about the possible contenders. "I would give Alabama a slight edge over Oregon,'' he said.

The Ali-Frazier battle of college football this year was fought to a 15-round draw after 60 minutes of regulation. The rules of the game dictated that somebody had to win. The decision went to LSU. By a toe.

So tell me why some now think Oregon, which has had two shots against the SEC (remember the Auburn loss in January), deserves another opportunity, assuming the BCS meltdown scenario plays out.

Chip Kelly is a solid coach but he's come up short against two SEC heavyweights. Kelly had six weeks to prepare for Auburn and his offense was out of sync for most of the BCS championship game. He had eight months to prepare for LSU to start this season. All I saw in Dallas was Oregon self-destructing.

I'm not saying watching Alabama this year is like seeing Baryshnikov dance in his prime. Fortunately, most of the nation was watching Oregon-Stanford last Saturday instead of Alabama's sleep-inducing 24-7 win at Mississippi State. However, those who watched the Tide and managed to stay awake all the way through would have seen one of the greatest defenses in modern college football history.

The Tide finally gave up a late fourth-quarter touchdown against Mississippi State and that was only because of a 68-yard kickoff return. The Tide missed two field goals again and fans simply can't watch the Tide's kickers any longer without putting hands over both eyes.

Alabama has a scrimmage this weekend against Georgia Southern and then what should be an easy game the following week at Auburn. Alabama will likely be about a 19-point favorite (according to USA Today sports analyst Danny Sheridan) against the defending BCS champs in a game that could be ugly, considering Auburn has lost its last three key SEC games against Arkansas, LSU and Georgia by a total of 128-31.

With Oregon, you get sizzle (and creepy uniforms), but no substance (or semblance of defense). With an Alabama-LSU rematch, you might need some Five Hour Energy to be fed intravenously at halftime if you don't like a throwback game. But you would get a compelling rematch, suffocating defenses and a chess match between two of the most intriguing coaches in the game.

A lot of things can still happen to make this conversation moot. But if the dominoes start to fall, it seems clear the best championship game will be a rematch between LSU and Alabama.