Great BCS games can be replicated, but a championship is nothing without legitimacy
Then again, most of us already knew that. We didn't need to see Andrew Luck and Brandon Weeden put on QB clinics just to prove that the BCS is the most ridiculous "playoff " system in all of sports. We didn't need to see Justin Blackmon overcome an inner thigh infection and still dominate just to realize that there's quality football outside the SEC. We didn't need to see an overtime thriller just to understand that a system that ignores undefeated teams is simply wrong.
Right now, there's no doubt in my mind that LSU has been the best team in the country. They're the only undefeated team left, and they've beaten a lot of quality opponents on the way there.
The issue is with Alabama.
Are they the 2nd best team in the country? Honestly, I think they are. And that's the main argument that you'll hear from Alabama and/or SEC honks who want to convince you that this National Championship matchup is the right one. But I also believe that I've seen a whole lot of teams who were more talented than the eventual champions. I've also seen a lot of outstanding championship games/series who didn't feature the top two teams in the sport.
Also, placing all bias to the side, there's really no logical way to say that Alabama is definitively better than Oklahoma State. Or Stanford, for that matter. They might be better. Most people believe they are. But how do we know? If you're honest, you'll admit that you don't.
Comparing resumés between Oklahoma State and Alabama, there are a few glaring differences. Alabama obviously has the "better" loss. There's no debating that. Even though it was at home, a 3-point overtime loss to the best team in the country is nothing to be ashamed about. Oklahoma State lost to a clearly inferior opponent in Iowa State, so that hurts them a bit. But still, it was in double overtime, and it was on the road. Give Alabama the benefit of the doubt and credit them with the "better" loss, but it's a lot closer than people like to think.
As far as their quality wins go, Oklahoma State is the clear leader. They beat teams who were ranked 8th, 10th, 14th and 22nd at the time they played. Looking back and seeing where everyone ended up, credit them with wins over teams ranked 8th, 12th, 14th and 24th.
Alabama's ranked victims at the time of their games: 12th, 14th, 23rd and 24th. If you look at the final rankings before the bowl games started, Alabama can take credit for wins over #6, #22 and #25. Advantage Oklahoma State.
If you want to base your decision on one single game, I suppose it makes sense to give the nod to Alabama. But doesn't it make sense to base it on all 12 games that each team had played, instead of just one?
Another argument you'll hear: Oklahoma State and Stanford don't play defense.
Honestly, I can't argue with that. If you watched last night's game, you would have no choice but to agree. Or, if you watched a plethora of other games featuring these two teams.
To that, I say this: LSU and Alabama don't play offense. Sure, they were able to run up the score a few times against mediocre and/or overrated opponents. But take a look at the quarterbacks we'll see in the title game and tell me how many combined NFL games we'll see them appear in. I'll put the over/under at 0.5, and I'll take the under.
If you watched the first meeting between these two teams, you know that there were QB mistakes left and right, and neither offense looked like they were capable of passing their way out of a paper bag. Credit the defense if you want, and I'll concede that both teams feature outstanding defenses, but those offenses simply aren't that good.
No matter what you say about the defenses at Stanford or Oklahoma State, you can say the same about Alabama and LSU's respective offenses.
Last but not least, we have the rematch factor.
One of the biggest problems with the BCS is that at the end of the day, we really don't know who's better, since there are so many teams out there and so few common opponents. This isn't the NFL, where you play almost half the teams in the league each year. There are 120 teams in the FBS, and each team plays less than 10% of the teams in the division.
Do we KNOW that Alabama is better than Oklahoma State or Stanford. No. We don't KNOW. We think, but we don't know for sure.
What DO we know?
LSU 9, Alabama 6.
So why are we seeing it again? Best case scenario, LSU wins again and they're (still) the undisputed best team in the country. But then, what was the point of the championship game? We will have learned nothing that we didn't already see back on November 5 at the "Game of the Century."
On the other hand, if Alabama wins, then what have we learned? We learned that the sovereignty of the regular season, a long-running staple of the pro-BCS argument, is meaningless. If "every game is a playoff," then why wasn't Alabama eliminated back in November? Why do they deserve a second chance to play LSU when teams like Oklahoma State and Stanford didn't even get ONE chance?
It's easy to see. The BCS once again screwed the pooch. And in the process, they screwed over a ton of fans. It's time to get rid of this nonsense, form a 4-team playoff system, and have a legitimate champion. Keep the bowls, use the current BCS bowls as the playoff bowls, and they'll still make money hand over fist. And at least it will be a more fair system. It may never be perfect, but at least they'd be making an effort.
In other news...
Did anyone have a better day than Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon? He was already a 2-time Biletnikoff Award winner, so we knew he was good. But then he destroyed the Stanford defense for 8 catches, 186 yards and 3 TD. Post game, he won the Fiesta Bowl MVP and declared himself eligible for the NFL Draft, where he'll undoubtedly be taken in the top half of the 1st round and make some solid cash. To top it all off, somewhere in the middle of all that, he snatched up this cheerleader for a celebratory kiss. Even Charlie Sheen is jealous of the way this kid is winning.