LSU probably deserves a share of this year's National Championship.
The Tigers beat everyone they were asked to during the regular season, including the Pac-12 (and Rose Bowl) champ and the Big East (and Orange Bowl) champ, in addition to six then-ranked SEC opponents during the year -- #25 Mississippi State, #17 Florida, #20 Auburn, #2 Alabama, #3 Arkansas and #14 Georgia in the SEC Championship Game. Alabama beat half as many ranked SEC opponents, while the Tide's lone non-conference marquee victory was at #23 Penn State.
Everyone loves to focus in on the loss column. "Alabama's loss came to LSU in overtime" you might say. "If Oklahoma State wanted a shot at the National title, all they had to do was beat Iowa State" says SEC fans and defenders of the BCS. But frankly, that's only one half of the equation.
One could easily make the case -- as one brave AP voter did -- that Alabama only drew even with LSU on Monday night, and that LSU, not Alabama, deserves the 2011 national title. The two programs are 1-1 against one another, but LSU won at Alabama on November 5 while Alabama waxed LSU in the rematch on a neutral field.
I suppose Oklahoma State Cowboys fans also have a legit claim at this year's title. The Cowboys were undefeated in regulation and nearly managed to traverse the Big 12 gauntlet unscathed, the nation's toughest conference, statistically.
That said, you can also make the case that LSU was fortunate to come away with the victory in Tuscaloosa (four missed field goals and an INT at the LSU 1) and the Tigers no-show in the BCS title game ultimately did LSU in.
Gripes about the current college football postseason format aside, after considering all of the above, sadly I couldn't put together a compelling argument to vote anyone other than Alabama #1 in our final Blogpoll ballot.
And here is our final ballot in all its glory.
As a reminder, Jeff and I average out our ballots so there may be some polling oddities like No. 13 Kansas State (11-3) over No. 15 Oklahoma (10-3), a team that crushed K-State in Manhattan ... and ... Michigan over Michigan State ... and ... Virginia Tech (!) over Clemson. Oh boy.
Then again, if there's one thing I learned from this past college football season, it's that every game matters, until it doesn't.