Okay, my blog is a bit off topic today. Still, I would be less than genuine if I did not say that this game is really dominating my thoughts today. Anyone who knows me understands my love and passion for Alabama football. So thanks for allowing me a bit of fun.
The game of topic is the BCS Championship, commonly known as the national championship for college football. The finalists are Alabama and LSU. This game is unique for at least a couple of reasons. First, the game is a rematch, something that has never taken place in the BCS Championship. In November LSU defeated Alabama 9-6 in overtime. It was a classic game by, in my humble opinion, two classy teams. Through a series of stunning upsets and somewhat controversial poll voting, Alabama was able to move back into the number two slot at year’s end.
A second unique feature of this game is that both finalists represent the same conference, the Southeastern Conference. Never before has the BCS Championship included two teams from the same conference. Even more, both Alabama and LSU are in the same division, the SEC West, of the same conference.
A Worthy Opponent: LSU
I am very competitive. That means that I love my Bama team and often have disdain for other teams. But LSU is a school, like the Nebraska Cornhuskers, that I have always liked and appreciated. They have a great tradition and run a first class program.
If LSU wins, they will be the first school to have three BCS championships (they won in 2003 and 2007), a clear indicator of the strength of their football program. As a side note, college football reorganized to form the BCS in the 1998 season so that the national champion would be determined by a championship game. Tennessee–also from the SEC–won the first BCS championship, defeating Florida State 23-16.
LSU has always been a first class football team. They transitioned into the powerhouse they are today under the coaching leadership of Nick Saban, who is, of course, the current head coach at Alabama. Saban coached LSU from 2000 to 2004 before leaving for a brief stint in the NFL as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins.
But LSU lost no momentum when Saban left. Under the leadership of the shrewd and sometimes quirky Les Miles, LSU continues to be a football powerhouse as Miles has led LSU to two BCS championship games in his seven years at the helm in Baton Rouge.
Yes, I deeply hope Bama wins the rematch. But I do have great admiration for LSU. Such sentiments are not typically mine. In most cases, my negative passion against the opponent almost matches my positive passion for the Crimson Tide.
A Brief Overview of the Series
Alabama and LSU first played each other in 1895. They have been playing each other annually since 1964. Bama leads the series 45-25-5 (I almost forgot that college teams could tie in the past. I like the overtime rules of today.). Bama has the largest margin of victory, a 47-3 rout in 1922. The Crimson Tide also has the longest winning streak in the series’ history–11 games from 1971 to 1981.
But those statistics represent the past. Currently LSU has a two-game winning streak against Bama. And lest we forget, LSU is number one and Bama is number two–at least for now. We’ll know the final rankings late tonight.
My Deep Bama Bias
By all familial standards, I should be an Auburn fan. I grew up 40 miles from Auburn. My mother was a business school graduate of Auburn, when it was unheard of for a female to be in business school. Auburn talked to my dad about playing for them as a 165 pound offensive lineman! But dad decided to answer the call for his country and instead fought in World War II. Indeed, almost all the Rainers went to Auburn if they went to college.
So what happened to me?
I guess my allegiance to Bama was just foreordained from the foundations of the earth. I loved the winning attitude of Bear Bryant. He came to Bama when I was three years old and was still coaching there when I attended and graduated from the University of Alabama.
Bryant once said if he retired that he would "probably croak in a week" and said, "I imagine I’d go straight to the graveyard." Four weeks after coaching his final game, Bear Bryant died of a heart attack on January 26, 1983. I had just begun my first seminary class on the day he died.
Alabama is seeking to win its 14th national championship, and its second in three years. The school is tied with Notre Dame in poll-era and BCS national championships. Bama has been to more bowls (58) than any other team and has won more conference championships (26) than any other team.
Alabama, like LSU, went through some tough times before the arrival of Nick Saban, who restored both programs to new heights. Indeed, after Bear Bryant died in 1983, Bama won only one national championship (1992-93 season under coach Gene Stallings) until Saban arrived.
Who Will Win Tonight?
Of course, I’m picking Bama. But let’s have some fun. You pick the winner and the score, and I’ll give a $50 LifeWay gift card to the closest pick. For a tiebreaker, state how many rushing yards Trent Richardson will have. I know. He’s a Bama player, but my bias has been clearly stated. Feel free to make any comments as well.
It should be a great game.