The best team in the SEC. Period.
Alabama will almost certainly win the national title game. Get yourself used to this fact right now, LSU fans- and fans of football and justice everywhere. They'll play the "nobody respects us card", they'll feed on all of the people who said they didn't deserve another shot, the axiom about how difficult it is to beat the same team twice will come into play and not even ten missed field goals will prevent the Tide from winning the title game. And they won't be the best team in the nation.
No matter what happens in the title game, Alabama is not the best team in the nation. I'm not who would be the pest team in the nation at that point, Okie State, LSU, Wisconsin, whomever, but I'll still know that it's not Alabama, Stanford or Boise State- none of those teams is even the best in their own conference. They were beaten by another contender who did not drop enough games to prove themselves inferior to themselves, and as such, they deserve no consideration for any sort of "best team in the nation" discussion. Some argue that the BCS title game is right, and that all of the arguments against the rematch are invalid (without arguing, but simply dismissing those complaints outright, as if it's beneath them to even discuss them). Alabama didn't win it's conference. Alabama did have it's shot and lost. It is unfair to LSU to have to beat Alabama twice (while 'bama only has to win once). The only "whine" that Pat Forde is correct in dismissing is that it will be another defensive struggle. While this is likely true (and LSU 9, Bama 6 was painful to watch) there is nothing wrong with the strategy of strangling your opponents offense into submission while relying on your special teams and running game to secure field position and wear the opposing defense out. Teams do it because it works, and national champs do almost invariably have great defenses. The other arguments are highly valid, and ignoring them is ridiculous and self serving. It may be true that there is no team other than LSU that would beat Alabama- in fact I'm willing to grant this as fact for the sake of argument. There are thirteen teams that can say, definitively, that they could not beat LSU when given the opportunity- and Alabama is one of those teams. In Tuscaloosa, in front of one of the five largest stadiums in the nation all filled with crimson clad maniacs, Alabama could not beat LSU. LSU didn't lose in any of their thirteen games and earned the right to be called the best team in the SEC- no other team can make that claim- and even if Alabama wins the rematch (as I suspect they will) that will remain clear, and 2011 will be just another year without a national champion (much like 2004). The BCS, ladies and gentlemen- where "second best" is good enough.
Complaints based on TCU being passed over aren't as substantive- Yeah we should've made it. Yeah, we'd all rather be playing Michigan in New Orleans than Louisiana Tech in San Diego. Yeah, the fact that we've won the Mountain West four times now and haven't ever been to the game that is supposed to take the #1 team in the MWC is crappy. Yeah, I think we'd have a real shot to beat Michigan/Vtech/Clemson/West Virginia, but it really isn't that big of a surprise or an injustice- we lost two games and are still highly ranked enough where going to the BCS was a real possibility. That says a lot about the respect that coaches and the media have for our program, and it sets us up nicely to hopefully pound La. Tech into paste and move on into the Big 12 next year with legitimate aspirations of winning it (and possibly making the title game). My next post will be much more TCU related. Go Frogs!