Scott Michaux

Sports columnist for The Augusta Chronicle. | ScottMichaux.com

Alabama doesn't deserve title shot

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A message for all the “rematch” criers out there – please stop.

LSU's Eric Reid (bottom) knocks the ball away from Alabama's Trent Richardson on Saturday.  DAVE MARTIN/ASSOCIATED PRESS
DAVE MARTIN/ASSOCIATED PRESS
LSU's Eric Reid (bottom) knocks the ball away from Alabama's Trent Richardson on Saturday.

It started weeks (months?) before Southeastern Conference Goliaths Louisiana State and Alabama even met on the field Saturday night in Tuscaloosa, Ala., to settle the matter of No. 1 vs. No. 2. Before we even knew the final score of this latest “Game of the Century,” there has been an ongoing debate about whether the two teams should meet again on Jan. 9 in New Orleans to decide the mythical national championship.

Let me just skip ahead to what needs to be the answer to every conversation on this topic – no.

No … no … no … no … absolutely not!

I don’t care if there is zero doubt in anyone’s mind that LSU and Alabama are head and shoulders the two best teams in college football. Frankly, I believe they are. That the SEC has won five consecutive BCS titles makes it a pretty viable argument on behalf of two programs that contributed a couple of them already.

But that doesn’t matter after Saturday night. LSU can be champion. Alabama more than likely has to wait until next year.

We all understand how big this game was. LSU and Alabama kicked off after 8 p.m. Saturday night. More than 600 credentialed media were in attendance. National championship games and State of the Union addresses have garnered less attention.

But here’s the thing about the BCS system that has been established. You get one shot in a game like this. If you fail, sorry. Someone else deserves the chance to do what you could not.

The exact same argument applies now as it did in 2006 when many were howling for Ohio State and Michigan to meet again after a riveting 42-39 regular-season rivalry showdown. Despite the Wolverines losing that one, pollsters still had them No. 2 behind the Buckeyes entering the final week before BCS invitations went out.

That’s when Florida coach Urban Meyer went on the campaign trail for his one-loss Gators.

“Florida belongs,” Meyer said of his SEC champs. “That other team had a shot.”

Meyer’s pitch was absolutely right then and it’s absolutely right now. Until an inclusive playoff system is put in place, nobody deserves a do-over. The only half-decent argument that the ridiculous BCS apologists make is that “every game counts” in the quest to be the best. If you start granting rematches, that last line of logic is forfeited immediately.

Incidentally, that supposedly invincible Ohio State team lost to Florida to kick off the string of SEC dominance in the BCS title game. Michigan ended up losing to Southern Cal in the Rose Bowl. Still think they should have been rematched for the national title?

The rematch wannabes argue that certain things can happen down the stretch to make LSU-Alabama II the proper scenario. That would first of all require that all the other undefeated teams suffer a loss somewhere in the next month. Oklahoma State and Stanford have a couple of tough matchups that could threaten their unblemished status. Remaining perfect is by all means no guarantee for either.

But current No. 5 Boise State has some pretty strong odds of staying undefeated against a less-than-daunting schedule. Many claim a one-loss Alabama is better than a spotless Boise, and they might be right.

But how are you going to grant them a second chance over a Broncos team that beat the potential SEC East champ (Georgia) handily on opening day? That would be blatantly admitting that the beauty pageant is rigged before it even starts.

The Crimson Tide, assuming the Tigers hold serve, won’t even win their own division. It won’t even compete for the SEC title.

You think that doesn’t matter? Nebraska got to play for all the marbles in 2001 despite not playing in the Big 12 title game. Even before the Cornhuskers got waxed by Miami in the Rose Bowl, their presence created an outcry that caused one of the many overhauls of the terminally flawed BCS ranking system.

Just ask Georgia if not playing for the conference title matters. In the 2007 season, Georgia entered the final week of the season ranked No. 4 in the BCS polls. When the No. 1 and 2 teams lost, the Bulldogs seemed like a logical choice to climb into the No. 2 spot and earn a shot against Ohio State for the title.

But Georgia and Tennessee both had two losses and the Vols represented the SEC East in the title game based on its head-to-head win. The pollsters balked at the idea of having a BCS finalist – even from the vaunted SEC – play for the national championship when it didn’t even play for its conference championship. So they jiggered the voting to make sure No. 7 LSU, No. 6 Virginia Tech and No. 9 Oklahoma (each with two losses as well) jumped the Bulldogs in the final poll, with the Tigers getting the BCS game berth and the eventual national title.

Why should the Crimson Tide deserve better? For that matter, they shouldn’t even get consideration for the BCS title game even if LSU somehow managed against all odds to lose in the SEC championship game. The way the system is set now, you simply can’t be allowed to win a national title if you don’t win a conference title.

Period. End of argument.

I get why people are talking about it. LSU and Alabama are obviously the class of college football in 2011. They are stocked with future NFL players and both play suffocating defense. You could pit them against each other 12 times in various locations and they might split 50/50.

“You’d like to see this game over and over again, so maybe you will see it again in the BCS,” Alabama star running back Trent Richardson said this week.

As much as people might like to see that, it shouldn’t happen.

The way the cards are dealt now, you get one shot. LSU won. Alabama lost. The Crimson Tide doesn’t deserve a second chance over somebody else who hasn’t been given a first opportunity at the Tigers.

Comments (23) Add comment
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Riverman1
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Riverman1 11/06/11 - 08:07 am
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Well, yeah, but the problem

Well, yeah, but the problem is the game went into overtime. That fact shades it differently. It's almost as if you wrote most of the article BEFORE the game. Come on, fess up. You know you did.

wildman
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wildman 11/06/11 - 08:05 am
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I'm worried, I have actually

I'm worried, I have actually agreed with Scott lately. Well said.

walrus4ever
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walrus4ever 11/06/11 - 08:42 am
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Yeah, yeah you know what they

Yeah, yeah you know what they say about opinions. And thats all this is. Sounds personal and prewritten to me. Both teams muddled the game. It came down to the best kicker. Sorry you cant find an area team that gets even close to the level of these teams. Sour grapes.

walrus4ever
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walrus4ever 11/06/11 - 08:47 am
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BTW. I grew up in that part

BTW. I grew up in that part of the country. A lot of folks with that last name there. Hmmm.....

justthefacts
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justthefacts 11/06/11 - 09:16 am
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How is this article "sour

How is this article "sour grapes"? Scott says AL doesn't deserve a second chance. Neither team's offense showed up and they both played it too close to the vest. Before the game, I thought a rematch might be arguable. Not after.

Scott Michaux
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Scott Michaux 11/06/11 - 11:18 am
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Riverman, the game ended

Riverman, the game ended after deadline Saturday night. Of course I wrote it before the game was over. Doesn't matter. The point is still the same regardless of whether it went to overtime or not. Winner gets the spoils. Loser's title shot spoiled. If that doesn't matter, why do they play the game in the first place?
When they put together a real playoff that includes all of the deserving contenders, then Alabama can earn a second chance as the best at-large team. But I don't think they'll establish that before January. Sorry Tide.

justthefacts
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justthefacts 11/06/11 - 11:23 am
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"When they put together a

"When they put together a real playoff that includes all of the deserving contenders, then Alabama can earn a second chance as the best at-large team." Which then makes last night's game much less compelling.

Scott Michaux
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Scott Michaux 11/06/11 - 11:24 am
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Walrus, I'm from Virginia and

Walrus, I'm from Virginia and my family first arrived in the Old Dominion in 1713. I do however enjoy occasional visits to New Orleans and love K-Paul's.

Scott Michaux
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Scott Michaux 11/06/11 - 11:29 am
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JTF, I disagree. That is the

JTF, I disagree. That is the silliest argument the BCS apologists make, that it would ruin the regular season. Not a chance. I personally prefer a playoff that would only include conference champions, but I understand that won't fly with the folks in charge. Unfortunately, nothing flies with them but this ignorant system.

Scott Michaux
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Scott Michaux 11/06/11 - 11:31 am
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Oh dear, Mike Lupica agrees

Oh dear, Mike Lupica agrees with me. I'm so conflicted.

justthefacts
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justthefacts 11/06/11 - 11:39 am
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Scott, yep, we disagree on

Scott, yep, we disagree on that point. I didn't say it would ruin the regular season. You would still have to have a good season. But last night's game was do or die for Bama and LSU. In a playoff system, that wouldn't be true. To say it would not have lessened the impact of last night's game is, well, silly.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 11/06/11 - 12:16 pm
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Scott, the point is you wrote

Scott, the point is you wrote the story without knowing the game was going to be a monumental, overtime battle. You know how I knew? Because you didn't mention the great epic battle. You wrote basically all the pregame stuff. That epic close game changed everything we all thought about a rematch. If they have a rematch, I honestly have no idea who would win.

AL could have easily won and if scores are the standard we judge teams by they are a sliver less than LSU, but still definitely better than any other team. If the BCS computer portion is truly objectively programmed, they will be second.

Now what will be interesting is when UGA plays LSU. As I predicted last week UGA will be in the SEC championship game and they have a good shot at winning.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 11/06/11 - 12:14 pm
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Question to focus matters.

Question to focus matters. Was the BCS with the computer input designed to pick the best team regardless of emotions?

DawgCPA
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DawgCPA 11/06/11 - 05:52 pm
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Scott, might want to check

Scott, might want to check your research. Georgia beat Florida in 2007 (trust me, it happens so little, we Dawg fans remember when it does) but lost to Tennessee in 2007. UT played in the SECCG, not Florida. Of course we still were royally hosed by the Kirk Herbstreit/ESPN-led campaign to keep us out of the NC game, but he's still bitter for the whipping we handed him in the 1993 Citrus Bowl.

Scott Michaux
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Scott Michaux 11/06/11 - 07:59 pm
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DawgCPA, you are correct. My

DawgCPA, you are correct. My bad. All those losses to Florida all start to run together. I should have remembered since Georgia ended on such a high note. Mea culpa. Please forgive me. I will make the correction in the text.
Riverman, I don't care if LSU or Alabama won on a Hail Mary play at the end of regulation or if it had gone 10 overtimes. I absolutely expected it to be a game that came down to the narrowest of margins. They are that closely matched. That's why I even mentioned the Ohio State-Michigan game which was epic (and about 10 times more interesting that last night's pitcher's duel). The point is the point and will remain the point forever. YOU HAVE TO WIN THE GAME IN ORDER TO WIN THE TITLE. NO REMATCHES. I almost wrote the column a week ago, and it would have been just as valid then. I had planned to update the column more during the game but it was such a deadline nightmare that it wasn't fair to the folks who work in the office under such deadline conditions to hold everything up for a little more color. My premise would be the same if I wrote it this morning. Alabama lost. I hope they enjoy the Sugar Bowl.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 11/06/11 - 08:25 pm
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Scott, you grew up in

Scott, you grew up in Virginia and possibly don't appreciate SEC football as much as many of us do. You have to show a little loyalty and stick up for us. (Disclaimer, my favorite team is Clemson as I've said often.)

I understand your limitations with deadlines and that's okay. But I was spot on suggesting you wrote your story before the game was over. Other reporters wrote the epic game remarks, not this little old internet commenter.

The main point is without a playoff system, the BCS computer is our best hope. It's only one part of the BCS ratings, I realize. Talk all you want, but you show me the computer portion of the BCS rankings and I'll bet it shows Alabama number two. Want to bet? No... now hush...and the next time you write a story about something you feel so strongly about wait until the game is over.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 11/06/11 - 08:38 pm
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Speaking of southern

Speaking of southern football, I mean I remember when The Citadel beat Arkansas and I don't mean Ark State as one national commentator thought.

justthefacts
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justthefacts 11/07/11 - 08:29 am
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Not so fast Scott. If Okie

Not so fast Scott. If Okie State loses to OK and Stanford loses to Oregon or Notre Dame, there could be a rematch. Heck, what if UGA beats LSU in the SEC Champ game (assuming they don't lose the rest of the way). What about Boise? If UGA does win out, how can people discount the Broncos? Lots of football left.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 11/07/11 - 09:33 am
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OK will probably be favored

OK will probably be favored to beat OK St. Oregon will beat Stanford, too, is my bet. That's why I was predicting Clemson would get into the big game before their loss.

justthefacts
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justthefacts 11/07/11 - 09:52 am
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But River, Clemson would

But River, Clemson would still be behind Bama. Bama would have had to lose again.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 11/07/11 - 07:36 pm
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JTF, Clemson was in front of

JTF, Clemson was in front of Stanford before their loss and I'm assuming AL would have dropped past them.

However, this all brings up the bigger point since AL is currently ranked number 3 behind Ok St. If OK beats them, AL is number TWO. One negative for that happening is the Ok wide receiver, Ryan Broyles, is out for the year with a knee injury.

prerich
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prerich 11/29/11 - 10:07 am
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Bama doesn't deserve a

Bama doesn't deserve a rematch for all of the reasons that the writer posted. Besides - Bama's vaunted defense let GA. Southern put up 21 points on them, and they beat Penn St. 27-11, and that (and Arkansas) is their signature win. Alabama has only beaten 2 Major conference teams with greater than 8 wins (Penn State and Arkansas), and has only beaten 3 major teams with winning records (add Auburn to the above two). Face it - with the exception of LSU, Ark, Ala, Ga, and S. Car the SEC is down this year. LSU has proven its mettle, Alabama not so much - I'd rather see VT or Oklahoma St. get a shot - they had a much better SOS...Michigan played a tougher SOS than Bama this year - the SEC hype has gotten out of hand. NO REMATCH!!!!!

justthefacts
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justthefacts 11/29/11 - 10:29 am
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Michigan? Really? East Mich,

Michigan? Really? East Mich, West Mich, SD State, Purdue, Ill, Minn. NWestern. They played two ranked teams. They lost to the 23rd ranked team and to unranked Iowa. Seriously, who would you bet on?

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