You have BCS questions, Picks have the answers
Published: Sunday, January 8, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 8, 2012 at 12:19 a.m.
Another college football season has flown by like a peregrine falcon on Red Bull. It is heading toward a physical, intense ending Monday night in New Orleans, which is how most nights in New Orleans end up.
But as we approach the end of the season, there is a new pebble in the shoe of the BCS. Associated Press voters have indicated that a close Alabama win may not be enough for them to elevate the Tide over LSU.
As a result, we could have not one, but two national champions.
This revelation brought Dr. Football back for one final appearance to close out this season. You have 10 questions, I have 10 answers.
1. So if Alabama wins by one and the AP votes for LSU, can the SEC then say it has won seven straight national titles?
Well, sure. The league would have seven trophies in the last six years. I wonder how LSU would celebrate a national championship after it lost the biggest game of the season. Do you gather your fans at Tiger Stadium? Do you have a parade? And Alabama, which claims a bunch of phantom national titles, could hardly complain.
2. OK, let's talk about the game. What is the statistic that will be the deciding thing about LSU-Alabama Part Deaux?
It's not even a real stat, but the thing that will decide this game is how many Alabama drives end without points. And by drives, I mean possessions that enter LSU territory. You can move the ball on the Tiger defense, but do you come away with points. Look at the first game when Alabama missed four field goals and had a turnover near the goal line.
3. These are giddy times for the SEC and the commissioner doesn't even have to stress out Monday night. Is this the end of the streak?
Probably not. There are four SEC teams among the top seven, according to Vegas odds for winning it all next year. Certainly, key players will leave, but the Big Three in the West will reload, and Georgia and South Carolina have a chance in the East. It's not a given, but I'll take the SEC and you can have the field.
4. What would the best story be Monday night?
If it comes down to a field goal, either way it would be a great story. Of course, if the Honey Badger makes the play that decides the game, that wouldn't be bad either.
5. These are two elite coaches in college football, but which one gets the edge?
Nick Saban sometimes out-thinks himself in big games and gets away from what made his team successful. With Les Miles, he's just goofy enough to call some outrageous play and it works. And Miles has won 13 games against coaches who have won national titles. So I give Miles a slight edge in this battle of titans.
6. We've seen some amazing offense in the bowl games this season, so do you think that trend will bleed over to this game?
Let me think. No. Those offensive games were as much a by-product of poor defenses as they were outstanding offenses. I don't think this will be a 9-6 game, but these two defenses are too good to give up a lot of points.
7. Which team will handle the hype the best?
It's a major intangible in this game. Alabama was in the title game just two years ago so many of their players know what championship week is all about. For LSU, this will almost be like a home game which could be a distraction during the build-up to the game. So I give Alabama an edge in this category.
8. But won't the home field advantage help LSU?
A little. They should have an edge in the crowd, but it won't be an overwhelming one. We've seen it before where a lot of the tickets go to corporations and neutral fans. But if the Tigers can get on top early, the Dome will get loud.
9. What are the chances the officials play a big part in the outcome?
It will be a Big 12 crew, and that crew hasn't seen anything like the defenses it will see Monday night. But in big games like this, officials tend to bury their flags deep in their pants. “They'll call less,” former Auburn coach and current Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville told the Birmingham News. “I've coached in five national championship games and we've always had good officiating because there wasn't much called.”
10. If it's another 9-6 game, will that hurt the chances of us ever seeing a rematch again?
Not likely. The voters are going to try to match up the best teams at the end of the year. One year has nothing to do with the next. But it does seem like this season is another baby step toward a plus-one game. It wouldn't hurt to have a split champion either.
OK, now you're ready to enjoy the big game. I picked Alabama early in December, then switched to LSU when asked by a national publication for my pick. But watching interviews from New Orleans, I see a quiet confidence in the Tide. Final pick, Alabama 24-17.
Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.