For the first time in the 14-year history of the BCS, this week's top three teams all hail from the same conference. Check that. This week's top three teams all hail from the same division of the same conference. So with just two weeks left in the regular season, we are nearly assured of at least one SEC team making this year's National Championship Game, and the most likely scenario is a rematch of last month's LSU vs. Alabama SEC West go-for-broke showdown.
In fact, as Dr. Saturday points out, Alabama has an even easier path to the BCS National Championship Game than LSU does, a team that just beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa less than three weeks ago.
"It's not undefeated, undisputed No. 1 LSU: It's No. 2 Alabama, which is virtually guaranteed a title shot with a win Saturday at Auburn, less than a month after losing to LSU amid a flurry of missed field goals on its own field. In fact, the best thing that could possibly happen to the Crimson Tide is an LSU win over No. 3 Arkansas on Friday, thereby eliminating the only realistic competition for Alabama's position at No. 2 if the Tide take care of business on the Plains. And what will LSU get for its trouble? Another chance to lose everything in the SEC Championship Game, while 'Bama sits at home, its tickets to New Orleans already booked."
So the team that lost the head-to-head game against an in-conference (and in-division) opponent is now better positioned to play for the National title than the team that beat Bama in Tuscaloosa. Makes sense, right? Welcome to the BCS.
And this is why I'm rooting for the LSU-Alabama rematch.
Aside from the absurdity of two SEC West teams playing for National title -- why not just save yourself the trouble and declare the SEC West champ this year's National Champion? -- putting the Tigers in double jeopardy against the Crimson Tide nullifies the one go-to pro-BCS argument. Emphasis added.
"From Labor Day to January, fans are treated to games with national-title implications. This regular season is the crown jewel of college sports, and it's one reason why 93% of FBS head coaches prefer the traditional bowl system over a playoff. Any playoff system would surely diminish this regular season. In college football, the national championship, not just seeding or home-field advantage, is at stake every week. Fans from different regions tune in to games they would otherwise ignore. This 15-week frenzy is cherished. And the BCS arrangement ensures that it will be protected."
Should Alabama win the rematch in the National Title game (not implausible given that the Tide missed four FGs and threw an interception at the LSU 1 in the first game), I'd say that putting LSU in double jeopardy qualifies as "diminishing the regular season."
Was the National Championship at stake on Saturday, November 5? Eh ... not really.
Will the BCS arrangement protect the 15-week frenzy should LSU and Alabama meet again in the National title game? Hardly.
(Aside: If you want to root for mass chaos, hope that Georgia beats LSU / Alabama / Arkansas in the SEC Title game, and LSU and Alabama still finish 1-2. That would put three SEC teams into the BCS. This can actually happen. Look it up.)
It's my hope that LSU-Alabama part II completely blows the BCS's one tired argument -- that the regular season matters -- out of the water. Of course, Boston College fans know that, in fact, the opposite is true. Those regular season victories over Virginia Tech in 2007 and 2008 didn't mean a whole heck of a lot after coming up empty in both ACC Championship Game rematches.
So when we are subjected to another field goal-off between LSU and Alabama for the National Championship game, Alabama wins the rematch (yet LSU's punter Brad Wing is named MNC MVP), hopefully the powers that be finally decide this whole system doesn't work, blow it up and institute a college football playoff. We could only be so lucky.