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Thirty four bowl games will already be in the books, and there are only going to be two teams that are left to play for all of the marbles and the BCS National Championship. We make our last college football picks of the season when the LSU Tigers take on the Alabama Crimson Tide, complete with all of our BCS National Championship Game analysis, odds, and predictions for the biggest game of the year.
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BCS National Championship Game Matchup: Alabama Crimson Tide vs. LSU Tigers
BCS National Championship Game Date/Time: Monday, January 9th, 8:30 ET
BCS National Championship Game Location: Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, LA
BCS National Championship Game Odds: Alabama -1
BCS National Championship Game Total: 40
BCS National Championship Game TV Coverage: ESPN, ESPN3.com
The first time that these two teams met this year, it was called the “Game of the Century.” We all knew that the possibility would be there for a rematch, and hindsight 20/20, it really didn’t matter which team were to win this game, as in all likelihood, they both would have been standing in this spot and on this stage on January 9th. Save for potentially an argument from the Oklahoma State Cowboys, there was no doubt that these were the best two teams in the country this year, and though we aren’t truly a fan of the rematch (since the original game really turned out to mean nothing), we know that the BCS has accomplished its goal of putting the two best teams in the land on the field together for one comprehensive showdown for the title.
Then again, the argument could be made that the Bayou Bengals should be National Champions regardless of how this game turns out. They have already beaten this Alabama team once this year, at Bryant Denny Stadium no less, and they have wins as well against the Oregon Ducks (neutral site) and West Virginia Mountaineers (road) out of conference. The Crimson Tide only played one non-conference game of note, a road game at the Penn State Nittany Lions that is relatively comparable to the WVU game for the Tigers. Alabama didn’t have to play against the Georgia Bulldogs like LSU did in the SEC Championship Game either. Unless this one is a total runaway in fact, we would be surprised if the Tigers didn’t claim half of the National Championship.
Many are asking the question as to whether Alabama has a chance in this game. Instead, we are posing the question as to whether LSU really has a chance or not. Remember, the first time around, the Bayou Bengals were probably not the better team. They only managed 239 yards of total offense, and they punted the ball twice as many times as they had scoring drives. They committed more penalties and had fewer big offensive players. The best player on the field was RB Trent Richardson, who had 80 yards as a receiver and 89 more as a rusher, accounting for 169 of the 295 yards that the Tide had for the day. Remember that Alabama, in spite of having the exact same two turnovers that the Tigers had, only punted the ball twice. There were three missed field goals, including some makeable ones that could have, lest probably should have made the difference in the game.
The argument could be made for the fans of the Bayou Bengals that the man that committed both of the turnovers that day, QB Jarrett Lee almost certainly won’t end up being involved in this one, as the offense is basically exclusively running under QB Jordan Jefferson’s direction now. Jefferson has improved as the year has gone on, and he did look okay, accounting for 110 yards on 21 touches between the air and the ground in the first game against Alabama.
Defensively, it goes without saying that these two teams are as good as it gets in the country. There is a reason that there were only 12 points in regulation, all on field goals in the first clash. The Tigers rank No. 2 in the land, allowing 252.2 yards per game and No. 2 in scoring at 10.5 points per game, while the Crimson Tide rank No. 1 in total defense (191.2 YPG), rush defense (74.9 YPG), pass defense (116.3 YPG), and scoring (8.8 PPG). We do give LSU a bit of a break here, knowing that it played the tougher schedule offensively and did play two big time high flying teams (WVU and Oregon) that Alabama didn’t. If the schedules were reversed, the stats probably would be reversed as well. It is clear that these two units are both remarkable.
In the end, the difference maker is Richardson. The offenses look the same. The defenses look the same. But whereas LSU uses a plethora of backs to run the ball, we just love what Richardson brings to the table. He had the same type of stats that RB Mark Ingram did when he won the Heisman Trophy, and Richardson did it without playing in the SEC title game. This time around, the hoss for the Tide will find the end zone on a magnificent play, and that one play is going to prove to be the difference that gives Alabama at least a share of, if not the entire National Championship.
Free BCS National Championship Game Pick: Alabama -1
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